Since 1829 with the establishment of the Swan River Colony and the time of European arrival to West Australia’s shores there has been a period of major change including rapid population growth and development. Early settlement was initially guided by geology and the ability to grow crops. The soils closer to alluvial river sources were sought out by earlier settlers to support their agricultural needs. During this time there was clearing and draining of wetlands and later the addition of fertilisers at an industrial scale to supplement the nutrient-poor soils. This has led to environmental issues within the river, wetlands, and estuary of the region.
For the first 100 years of European settlement, large stretches of the coastal strip were left relatively untouched due to its lack of viability for farming. Over time the coastal stretch became sought after for lifestyle and aesthetics, which has led to the establishment of major urban sprawl from Perth’s capital city both North and South close to the coast. The area of this Geopark represents the current boundary between urban development from Perth City and its boundary in the South. The population of the area within the Bindjareb Geopark is approximately 115,000 (2022).
80% of the original vegetation along the Swan Coastal Plain has been replaced with rural, urban, and industrial developments. With continued growth, there are threats to the remaining geological, biotic and cultural assets. In the last 55 years, there has been a growing awareness and understanding of the major changes to the landscape at the hands of humans. This has increased the level of ecological connection and a passion for conserving what natural areas remain.
( Image Source: J. A. Clarke collection of glass lantern slides of Western Australia ; 7265B/35 State Library Western Australia)