Community celebrates as Aldinga Washpool joins conservation park

Published on 21 January 2022

Southern communities are celebrating the official proclamation of the Aldinga Washpool as a conservation park, protecting one of Adelaide’s last remaining coastal freshwater and estuarine lagoon systems. 

The state government today officially combined 32 hectares of Washpool land—which is of considerable spiritual and cultural significance to Kaurna Meyunna (people) and is home to a wide range of native species of conservation significance—with the adjacent Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park to create one new 340-hectare conservation park. 

City of Onkaparinga Mayor Erin Thompson called it a historic win for the community, the environment and the protection of Kaurna heritage.

“Council has been advocating strongly for this outcome alongside Traditional Owners, the local community and environment groups for many years, so I’d like to thank all those tireless groups and individuals that have helped to make it happen,” Mayor Thompson said.

“I recently visited the Washpool with the City of Onkaparinga First Nations Advisory Group led by Chair Karl Telfer, which highlighted to me why this place is so important to look after now and into the future.

"I’d particularly like to acknowledge the efforts of Peter Laffan from the Aldinga Washpool and Silver Sands Heritage Group, local activist Chas Martin, Councillor Richard Peat, and the many community volunteers from groups such as Friends of Aldinga Scrub and Friends of Willunga Basin for many years campaigning for proper recognition and management of the Washpool.

“A big thank you, too, to Environment Minister David Speirs for this decision, which ensures this special place will continue to be a haven for biodiversity and a space for reflection, recreation and education for generations to come.

"We'll continue to advocate for the remaining parcels of land adjacent the Washpool zone - currently marked as 'subject to further consideration' - to be included in the conservation park, which is what the community has told us they want to see happen."

Green Adelaide and the City of Onkaparinga have been working to restore the Aldinga Washpool through a five-year Aldinga Washpool Revegetation Project, which has seen tens-of-thousands of native seedlings planted at the site with local Kaurna people and community groups.

Intensive replanting of Gahnia filum, or Thatching Grass, last year allowed for the successful reintroduction of the locally extinct Yellowish Sedge Skipper butterfly, which was last seen on the Adelaide Plans around the late 1980s.