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Rockdale's Bushland and Wetland Areas

Hawthorne Street Natural Area

As the area that is now the City of Rockdale developed into an urban centre, its 'biodiversity' slowly declined. Without biodiversity the variety of all life forms, local ecosystems and in turn, human societies, cannot survive. Although highly urbanised, the City has retained several small bushland and wetland areas which play an important role in terms of providing food, habitat and shelter for native animals. These areas are deemed to have ‘conservation value’ (meaning they are worth preserving for future generations) because they represent ecosystems that would otherwise be lost.

Wetlands I Bushland I Threats to Our Bushland and Wetland Areas I Council Action to Protect Bushland and Wetland Areas


Wetland (land areas that are permanently or temporarily inundated with water) provide habitat for plants and wildlife and serve as breeding/nursery grounds for birds, fish and invertebrates. They protect land from flooding, recharge groundwater tables and improve overall water quality by flushing out unwanted nutrients and sediment.

The Rockdale Wetlands and Recreation Corridor stretches in an almost continuous link from the Cooks River in the north to the Georges River in the south. Along the Corridor the Eve Street Wetland, Spring Creek Wetland, Landing Lights Wetland, Scarborough Ponds and Scott Park Wetland have a very high conservation value.


Bushland provides food, shelter and habitats for our native fauna and regeneration of our native flora. Rockdale's bushland areas with high conservation value include the Bardwell Valley Parklands, Stotts Reserve, Frys Reserve and Hawthorne Street Natural Area.

These remaining natural areas are home to particularly diverse, endangered and/or vulnerable species of flora and fauna. A total of 180 native plant species and over 90 vertebrate species of terrestrial animals (not including marine fish) have been identified in the City's bushland and wetlands.

Threats to Our Bushland and Wetland Areas


The ongoing threats to both wetland and bushland areas include:

  • Noxious weeds
  • Feral animals
  • Stormwater runoff
  • Boundary encroachments
  • Development
  • Landfilling
  • People (because they trample on the areas, dump rubbish and garden waste).

Council Action to Protect Bushland and Wetland Areas


Rockdale City Council recognises the conservation value of these areas and the flora and fauna they contain. Alongside community volunteers, Council helps to nurture and protect these areas by doing bush regeneration work.

Our Biodiversity Strategy provides an action framework for the management and protection of natural areas in the City of Rockdale.

You can help protect and enhance Rockdale's biodiversity by following the simple tips in our How to be Habitat Friendly Guide or download our Help Protect our Bushland brochure.

Rockdale Wetlands and Recreation Corridor

Current estimates indicate there are only 4.5 million hectares of wetlands in NSW, which represents about six per cent of the total area of the state. The Rockdale Wetlands Corridor is a remnant of the once extensive complex of wetlands on the western shore of Botany Bay.

The corridor runs from the Cooks River along Muddy Creek, through Eve Street Wetlands, Riverine and Barton Parks (Spring Creek Wetlands), Patmore Swamp, Scarborough Park ponds and through to Sans Souci.

The wetlands have aesthetic, heritage and environmental value. They form part of a system of tidal and freshwater swamps, and provide important habitats for a variety of animal and plant species, including common wetland birds and a number of protected migratory birds.

The City's wetlands have, of course, been substantially modified by human activity over the years. The remaining areas are continually under pressure because of invasive weeds, urban development, illegal waste dumping, pollution and litter, stormwater run-off and sewage overflows during heavy rainfalls.

To assist in preventing the worldwide loss of wetland and to conserve those that remain, Australia has entered the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (known as the Ramsar Convention). There are three listed Ramsar sites in NSW, one of which is nearby at Towra Point in Botany Bay.

Local Wetland Birds

The following species of common wetland birds are found along Rockdale Wetlands and Recreation Corridor.

Dusky Moorhen

This waterbird is usually found in swamps, wetlands and creeks containing reeds and grasses. During the breeding season, the skin on the front of the Dusky Moorhen's head turns from an orange to a red colour. They also have a white patch under the tail.
In Rockdale, this bird is found behind Ramsgate School, in Patmore Swamp (Civic Ave), at Landing Lights Wetlands, Spring Creek and Eve Street Wetlands. They can also be seen in the waterways of the City's parks. The Dusky Moorhen is seen all year round.

Swamp Hen

The purple Swamp Hen is usually found in permanent swamps and wetlands containing thick vegetation, usually reeds. They mostly live near the coast in groups of between one and 10, and feed on vegetation, small birds and the eggs of other birds. Swamp Hens, like Dusky Moorhens, are found at Ramsgate School, Eve Street, Spring Creek and Landing Lights Wetlands, and Patmore Swamp (Civic Avenue).

White Ibis

The White Ibis is also known as the Sacred Ibis and is recognisable by its long and sickle shaped bill. It is a large bird, mainly found year round in the City's parks.

Grey Teal

The Grey Teal is one the many Australian duck species that are found almost everywhere. A small duck, the Grey Teal lives in mudbanks and fallen trees, and is commonly found in newly flooded areas of water. The species is seen almost year round, and is known to fly a hundred or more kilometres overnight. The Grey Teal habitat in the City extends beyond the wetlands.

Chestnut Teal

The Chestnut Teal is found in waterways within wetlands. The male Chestnut has a bottle-green head while the female has a grey head, similar to the Grey Teal (without the white marking on its throat). In the City, the Chestnut Teal is found in the same habitat as the Grey Teal.

Pied Stilt

The Pied Stilt is a distinctive bird with wholly black wings and a white head, neck and breast. It has elegant long legs and long needle-like bills. In the City of Rockdale, Pied Stilts inhabit the Landing Light and Eve Street Wetlands in Barton Park. They are seen from Spring to around late Autumn.
The above information was jointly prepared by Rockdale City Council and the Rockdale Wetlands Preservation Society. Further information on wetlands can be obtained from the Society at:

PO Box 146
NSW 2216

Local Flora

Banksia Serrata

Rockdale City's bushland and wetland areas contain 'remnant' (remaining) forests and endangered plant communities. In all, a total of 180 native plant species are found in the City. This includes four threatened species, the Acacia pubescens (found in the Bardwell Valley Parklands), Acacia terminalis terminalis (in Frys Reserve), Tetratheca juncea which are listed under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. This Act lists plant and animal species that are either endangered (serious risk of extinction within one or two decades) or vulnerable (at risk of disappearing over two to five decades), and also provides for threatened communities and populations to be listed.

Bardwell Valley Parklands

Bardwell Valley Parklands' remnant plant communities include the Sydney Red Apple-Sydney Peppermint Forest, Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest and Wet Heath.
The Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest in the Sydney Basin Bioregion is listed as endangered. Its main canopy species are Turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera), Grey Ironbark (Eucalyptus paniculata), White Stringybark (Eucalyptus globoidea), Red Mohogany (Eucalyotus resinfera) and Sydney Red Gum (Angophora costata).

Click the Play button to witness the majestical Bardwell Valley. This presentation was provided by the Bardwell Valley Bush Care Volunteers. For more information call Kath Wade on 9219 9585.

Hawthorne Street Natural Areas

Hawthorne Street Natural Area's remnant plant communities include the Kurnell Dune Forest, Floodplain Forest, and mangroves.

The Kurnell Dune Forest is also listed as an endangered plant community. It contains a unique mix of heath, sclerophyll and littoral rainforest species. The best remaining 'stand' (that is, growth) is on the Kurnell Peninsula.

Similarly, the natural area also contains the endangered Sydney Coastal Estuary Swamp Forest Complex plant community in the Sydney Basin Bioregion. This community ranges from forest to scrub and reedland and includes open forest.

Stotts Reserve

Stotts Reserve's remnant plant communities include Blue Gum and Blackbutt Open Forest and Sydney Red Apple-Sydney Peppermint Forest.

Frys Reserve

Frys Reserve includes a Dry Heath remnant plant community.

Spring Creek and Landing Lights Wetland

Spring Creek and Landing Lights Wetland contains saltmarsh and mangrove remnant plant communities.

Pied Stilts, frequent visitors of local wetlands

Wolli Creek Valley

Wolli Creek Valley's remnant plant communities include Sandstone Forest and Woodland, Floodplain Forest and mangroves. 

The Rockdale Wetlands and Recreation Corridor includes the Sydney Freshwater Wetlands in the Sydney Basin Bioregion, an endangered plant community characterised by sedges and various aquatic plants.


Local Fauna

Rockdale City's bushland and wetlands are home to 97 different vertebrate species of terrestrial mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, as well as various types of fish and introduced animals.

Mammals I Birds I Migratory Birds I Amphibians I Reptiles I Fish I Introduced Animals I

Only an estimated 10 per cent of mammals found in the pre-settlement Rockdale area remain, including:

  • Brush-tailed Possum (Trichosurus volpecula)
  • The endangered Mouse-eared Fishing Bat (Myotis adversus)
  • Grey-headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)
  • Gould's Wattle Bat (Chalinolobus gouldii)
  • Lesser Long Eared Fishing Bat (Nyctophilus geoffroyi)
  • White-striped Mastiff Bat (Tadarida australis)

A very diverse range of bird species live in the City of Rockdale. In fact, a significant number of the area's original species (50-60 per cent) still call Rockdale home, including many common species of wetland birds.

Migratory Birds

Migratory birds from China, Japan and Siberia arrive in the Rockdale Wetlands and Recreation Corridor in late August-September and return overseas during March-April. Our migratory bird population includes the Broad-billed Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew Sandpiper, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and the Terek Sandpiper.
The Eve Street Wetland and Landing Lights Wetland are migratory wading bird habitats. Many of the migratory birds that visit these wetlands are protected under the China-Australia Migratory Bird Agreeement (CAMBA) and Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (JAMBA).

Several species of frogs, including the endangered Green and Golden Bellfrog (Litorea aurea) remain in Rockdale. This species temporarily halted construction of Sydney's Olympic site at Homebush Bay. In the entire St George area, it has only been spotted in the Marsh Street Wetland. Two ponds have been constructed alongside the M5 Motorway to provide habitat for the Green and Golden Bell Frog. This was done by the Roads and Traffic Authority to compensate for habitat lost during the construction of the M5.

An isolated population of Green Tree Frogs resides in the area between Russell and Ida Streets, in the southern part of the Rockdale Wetlands and Recreation Corridor.
Others include Peron's tree frog (Litoria peroni), the leaf-green tree frog (Litoria phyllochroa) and the dwarf tree frog (Litoria fallax), which are found in the Wolli Creek Valley, and the Bleating tree frog (Litoria dentata), which lives in the Eve Street Wetland and near Russell Street, along the Wetlands Corridor.

All of the City's natural areas have populations of the Common eastern froglet (Crinia signifera) and the Striped marsh frog (Limnodynastes peroni).

Many reptiles, especially common native lizards, live in Rockdale's bushland and wetland areas, including:

  • Leaf-tail gecko
  • Eastern water skink
  • Garden skink
  • Snake-eyed skink
  • Eastern blue-tongue lizard
  • Yellow-faced whip snake
  • Delicate skink
  • Eastern-sided neck tortoise

Scarborough Ponds, located in the central section of Rockdale Wetlands Recreation Corridor is an important fish nursery. NSW Fisheries has found that juvenile bream, mullet and other species travel through pipes from Botany Bay to the Ponds.

Introduced Animals

Many animals in the City of Rockdale are 'feral' (non-native), such as the Fox (Vulpes vulpes), Black Rat (Rattus rattus), Cat (Felis catus), Indian Myna bird (Acridotheres tristus) and House Mouse (Mus musculus). These introduced species disturb the natural balance of bushland and wetland ecosystems, and compete with small native mammals for food and habitat.

Download our fact sheet on rat eradication at home.


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