Feature Urban Park: Baigup Wetlands

The Baigup Wetlands lies along the Swan River in the Maylands and Bayswater area. The reserve covers 16.4 ha. in total, as it extends for one kilometre downstream. It features near pristine sedge plains along the river where endemic Juncus kraussii dominates with an over-story in some sections of remnant Freshwater Paperbarks (Melaleuca rhaphiophylla) and Flooded Gums (Eucalyptus rudis).

Extensive wetlands, including freshwater swamps, tidal marshlands, acid/saline scalds and two constructed lakes, as well as the river, attract a variety of birds all year round.

Baigup Wetlands is listed nationally as an increasingly rare example of a Temperate Coastal Saltmarsh Threatened Ecological Community. Being part of the Swan River floodplain with its rich and ancient cultural heritage, Baigup is also a recognised site of continuing significance for the Noongar people of Western Australia’s Southwest.

A high use dual purpose sealed walkway/cycle path runs longitudinally through the reserve more or less parallel with the river.

The original riverside swamps provided Noongar people with a rich and varied supply of food, including marsupials, fish, crustaceans, shellfish, birds, eggs, and a wide range of plant-based foods. Aboriginal people typically spent the summer months camping on higher ground above the river and enjoying the abundant resources of areas like this along the river. In cooler weather, they moved inland as the river typically filled and spread extensively following winter rains. Like Indigenous Australians everywhere, Whadjuk Noongar actively managed the land by systematically burning small areas of their land at different intervals of time depending on vegetation type, seasons and management objectives (i.e. to provide fresh pickings for kangaroos, to control the spread of particular plant species, etc.).

The Baigup Wetland Interest Group began in late 2012 as a virtual community network of people who care about Baigup Wetlands. Baigup is a valuable area of natural remnant vegetation lying across the border of Maylands and Bayswater on the Swan River floodplain. Their aim is to support the protection and preservation of Baigup into the future as an important natural resource for wildlife and the health of the Swan River, as well as for human recreation, well-being and education.

A major objective of the Baigup Wetland Interest Group is to encourage community interest by building awareness of Baigup’s history, natural assets, and management challenges through community activities and education. (Source: Urban Bushland Council WA Inc)