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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Exploring the Banule Swamp and Billabong

These pix were taken on October 22, 2012, on a 3 km hike around the Banyule Swamp and Billabong, 15 km east of central Melbourne.

Banyule Flats and Warringal Swamplands are lowland riverine flood plains that are among the most threatened landscapes in Victoria.

Banyule Swamp is the most intact and biologically significant shallow freshwater marsh in the Lower Yarra.

Both are key wetland areas in maintaining the viability of populations of water birds and wetland ecosystems in the Lower Yarra. They contain a number of rare, vulnerable and threatened fauna, 23 species of water birds, 125 species of native birds, 11 species of native mammals and 4 bat species.

The Victorian government has been planning to build a freeway right through the middle of Banyule Flats and Warringal Swamplands. The Liberal government has not yet confirmed whether it will continue on the same path and refuse to consider public transport solutions for Banyule, a municipality which is chronically under-serviced.

This freeway, the so-called North East Link, will not ease congestion but will destroy one of the most precious environmental and historical assets in the City of Banyule: the birthplace of the iconic Heidelberg School of Painting, the first internationally recognised Australian Art Movement.

Banyule Homestead (or Banyule House) was constructed for the overlander and grazier Joseph Hawdon in several stages, with the main two-storey mansion constructed in 1846. In its commanding position overlooking the Banyule Flatlands below, it is one of the few remaining pre-Gold Rush mansions in Melbourne.

See a Slide Show of all of the photos of my visit!

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