Swan Coastal Plain


Swan Coastal Plain

The Swan Coastal Plain in Western Australia is the geographic feature that lies directly west of the Darling Scarp, and which contains the Swan River as it travels west to the Indian Ocean. It is one of Western Australia's Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) regions.cite paper |author=Environment Australia |title=Revision of the Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) and Development of Version 5.1 - Summary Report |publisher=Department of the Environment and Water Resources, Australian Government |url=http://www.deh.gov.au/parks/nrs/ibra/version5-1/summary-report/index.html |accessdate=2007-01-31] [http://www.deh.gov.au/parks/nrs/ibra/version6-1/index.html IBRA Version 6.1] data] It is also one of the distinct physiographic provinces of the larger West Australian Shield division.

Traditionally this area was under the care and control of the Yued, Whadjuk, Binjareb and Wardandi Noongar peoples, whose hunter-gathering firestick farming practices maintained the climax vegetations old growth forests observed at the time of first contact.

The coastal plain continues well beyond the boundaries of the Swan River and its tributaries, as a geological and biological zone.

Wetlands

The coastal plain has an extensive belt of wetlands that occurs within series of lakes and swamps - which have been important ecologically, supporting wildlife, and most exist within reserves that have protection for birdlife

European settlement led to many of the wetlands areas being drained for land reclamation to take advantage of the fertile soil for farming enterprises, and for expansion of parks and recreation areas. Lake Monger and Herdsman Lake are the last two major wetlands remaining within close proximity to the city. The City of Perth itself sits on an area of reclaimed wetlands. It is thought that between 49% (Riggert, 1966) and 80% (Godfrey, 1989) of the wetlands on the coastal plain have been drained, filled or cleared since 1832.

"The Great Lakes District"

The Lake Monger was originally part of a series of freshwater wetlands running north from the Swan River along the coastal plain for approximately 50 km. Lake Monger was grouped with the Georgiana Lake and Lake Sutherland (both near Mitchell Freeway, near Sutherland and Newcastle streets) and Herdsman Lake and together the area made up what was known as "The Great Lakes District".

Other lakes and swamps in the immediate northern vicinity of the early Perth township were Lake Kingsford (site of the current Perth railway station), Lake Irwin (Perth Entertainment Centre) and further north were Stone's Lake (Perth Oval), Lake Poullet (First Swamp, part of what is now Birdwood Square), Lake Thomson (Mews Swamp, between Lake, Brisbane and Beaufort streets) and Lake Henderson (parts of what is now Robertson Park and Dorrien Gardens). Further north still lay Second Swamp (Bulwer Street, east of Lake Street), Third Swamp (Hyde Park) and Three Island Lake and Smith's Lake (now Charles Veryard Reserve). Many of these lakes formed a natural interconnected drainage system which found its way into the Swan River at East Perth through Claise Brook.

In 1833, water draining from Lakes Kingsford, Irwin, Sutherland and Henderson was used to drive a water-driven mill located in Mill Street.

North of the Swan River

* Lake Joondalup
* Gnangara Lake
* Lake Goollelal
* Lake Karrinyup
* Herdsman Lake
* Lake Monger
* Lake Claremont

outh of the Swan River

Geology

The sediments of the Perth Basin are Tertiary and Quaternary in age immediately below Perth and include coquina, travertine and sandy limestones with abundant shelly material. Perth is sited on a set of sand dunes formed during the Pliocene-Pleistocene during the last Ice Age.

Offshore, the sand dune system and surficial deposits transition into a system of partly eroded limestones and sandy limestones. These form a series of drowned cuestas which today form submerged reefs.

Biological Zone

The Swan Coastal Plain is a specific botanical province as delineated by Thackway and Cresswell. As a consequence the Descriptive Catalogue of Paczkowska and Chapman utilise this framework.

References

Further reading

*Bekle, H. (1981) "The wetlands lost: Drainage of the Perth lake systems". Western Geographer.
* "Aborigines settle the Swan Coastal Plain : geological clues." 2003.
** in pp.29-34 Glover, John. "Geological journeys : from artifacts to zircon" (edited by Jenny Bevan). Perth, W.A. : Geological Society of Australia (Western Australian Division), 2003. ISBN 1-876125-31-4
*Godfrey, N. (1989) "The value of wetlands. In: Wetlands in crisis. What can Local Government do?" (Ed. Anon), pp. 4-12. Environmental Protection Agency, Western Australia.
*Miller, C. (1976) "Old Battleground. Living Today (Western Australia)", January 29, 32-33.
*Middle, G.J. (1988) "A method to evaluate conservational and social value of lentic wetlands on the Swan Coastal Plain." Honours thesis, Murdoch University, Western Australia.
*Paczkowska, Graznya and Chapman. Alex R. "The Western Australian flora: a descriptive catalogue" Wildflower Society of Western Australia, Western Australian Herbarium, CALM, and the Botanic Gardens & Parks Authority, Perth. 2000. ISBN 0-646-40100-9
*Riggert, T.L. (1966) "A study of the wetlands of the Swan Coastal Plain". Department of Fisheries and Fauna, Western Australia.
*Stannage, C.T. (1979) "The People of Perth", Perth City Council.
*Thackway, R. and I D Cresswell "An interim biogeographic regionalisation for Australia : a framework for setting priorities in the National Reserves System Cooperative Program" Canberra : Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Reserve Systems Unit, 1995. ISBN 0-642-21371-2

External links

* [http://www.ea.gov.au/parks/nrs/ibra/version4-0/framework/index.html - an online version of Thackway and Cresswell]


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