Date of Award

2003

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Community and Language Studies

Faculty

Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr Hugo Bekle

Abstract

This study examines the loss of 80-90% of wetlands in the City of Bayswater within the Perth Metropolitan Region. As a geographical study of wetlands it is largely concerned with the value of those wetlands to the local community, as well as to the flora and fauna species diversity of the City of Bayswater. The City of Bayswater is a sub-catchment of the Swan-Avon River system. It is approximately 5 kilometres from the Perth Central Business District. In its pristine state the Bayswater catchment would have been a landscape of swamps and lakes that supported prolific birdlife, frogs, native fishes, tortoises as well as wetland vegetation and microscopic animals. Prior to European settlement the Bayswater wetlands were part of a wetland system used by the Nyoongar people for food and water during the dry summer months. These Aboriginal people also valued this wetland system as a source of special religious rites and mythology, an important part of their "Dreamtime" beliefs. Early European settlers used the Bayswater wetlands as a source of water and summer pastures, a feature that was common practice to the Swan River wetlands. Unfortunately, the early settler's appreciation of the wetlands was short-lived as winter flooding caused the early town planners to drain and fill most of the Swan River wetlands. The former wetlands of the City of Bayswater are a perfect vehicle to examine past attitudes to environment, as they clearly demonstrate the inherent lack of understanding of the complicated correlation between the hydrology of the wetlands, water table and the self-sustaining ecosystems they supported. The conservation of the remaining wetlands of the City of Bayswater is vital for the survival of species diversity in the area, as well as in the Perth region as a whole. This study describes the history of the Bayswater wetlands and their modification over time to fill an important knowledge gap as well as providing an important local perspective. Currently all of the elements required for the conservation of Bayswater's remaining wetlands are in place, or under development, but an ongoing community involvement is essential to the restoration and conservation of the Bayswater catchment area.

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