Creating Aldinga Conservation Park

Aldin­ga Con­ser­va­tion Park in Adelaide’s south­ern fringe, was pro­claimed in Jan­u­ary 2022, bring­ing togeth­er land from the for­mer Aldin­ga Scrub Con­ser­va­tion Park and the Aldin­ga Wash­pool, into one con­sol­i­dat­ed con­ser­va­tion park.

Pri­or to Euro­pean coloni­sa­tion, the Aldin­ga Wash­pool was an impor­tant place for Kau­r­na peo­ple to cure and dry pos­sum skins, and it remains a sig­nif­i­cant spir­i­tu­al and cul­tur­al site to the Kau­r­na peo­ple today.

The 340 hectares of con­ser­va­tion land includes 67 hectares of high bio­di­ver­si­ty land, which pro­vides valu­able habi­tat for at least 79 native species.

Among these species is three bird species of nation­al con­ser­va­tion sig­nif­i­cance – the Aus­tralasian bit­tern (Botau­rus poicilop­tilus), the Aus­tralian paint­ed snipe (Ros­trat­u­la aus­tralis) and the hood­ed plover (Thi­nor­nis rubri­col­lis).

Con­sol­i­dat­ing these adja­cent con­ser­va­tion areas into one park has been a pri­or­i­ty for the state and local gov­ern­ments and the com­mu­ni­ty and enables an even greater lev­el of pro­tec­tion to the habi­tat and species under the Nation­al Parks and Wildlife Act 1972.

Project ori­gins

The Aldin­ga Wash­pool site orig­i­nal­ly spanned a num­ber of land tenures, owned by var­i­ous gov­ern­ment agen­cies includ­ing the City of Onka­paringa, SA Water, the Depart­ment for Envi­ron­ment and Water and the Min­is­ter for Plan­ning and Local Government.

The var­i­ous land own­ers have worked col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly for a num­ber of years to realise con­ser­va­tion and man­age­ment out­comes and con­sol­i­date land tenure to allow procla­ma­tion to occur. A small num­ber of land parcels adja­cent to the pro­claimed area are sub­ject to res­o­lu­tion of land tenure issues and are still under con­sid­er­a­tion for pos­si­ble future inclu­sion in the park. 

The com­mu­ni­ty has long expressed a strong desire for the land to be pro­tect­ed from devel­op­ment and for the cul­tur­al and envi­ron­men­tal val­ues to be pro­tect­ed and restored.

Map of Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park (click on the map to download a PDF copy)
Map of Aldinga Scrub Conservation Park (click on the map to download a PDF copy)

Aldin­ga Scrub

The land occu­pied by the for­mer Aldin­ga Scrub Con­ser­va­tion Park, which is now part of the Aldin­ga Con­ser­va­tion Park, is home to a diverse range of rare plants and is recog­nised as a sig­nif­i­cant area for the con­ser­va­tion and pro­tec­tion of the region’s flo­ra and fauna.

Sit­u­at­ed in the Willun­ga sub-basin, the for­mer Aldin­ga Scrub Con­ser­va­tion Park fea­tures an impres­sive back­drop of sand dunes, sand blows (mobile dunes) and rem­nant coastal vegetation.

Lacy coral lichen, nar­doo, hairy sedge and sev­er­al species of orchids are among the park’s rare species of flo­ra. Remem­ber to look out for the short-beaked echid­nas, lizards, bats and the diverse range of birds that live in the park.

Aldin­ga Washpool

The Aldin­ga Wash­pool is 50 km south of Ade­laide and one of Adelaide’s last remain­ing coastal fresh­wa­ter and estu­ar­ine lagoon sys­tems. It is an impor­tant envi­ron­men­tal asset with­in the Aldin­ga Con­ser­va­tion Park. 

It is a well-known habi­tat for a wide range of native species, par­tic­u­lar­ly birds and swamp plants, many of which have sig­nif­i­cant con­ser­va­tion value.

This includes a threat­ened coastal salt­marsh which is nation­al­ly list­ed as a vul­ner­a­ble threat­ened eco­log­i­cal community.

The wash­pool site is also of con­sid­er­able spir­i­tu­al and cul­tur­al sig­nif­i­cance to the Kau­r­na peo­ple. It is part of the Tjil­bruke Dream­ing Trail and con­tains reg­is­tered sites under the Abo­rig­i­nal Her­itage Act 1988 (SA), includ­ing numer­ous archae­o­log­i­cal sites and artefacts.

Park Man­age­ment Plan 

A new man­age­ment plan for Aldin­ga Con­ser­va­tion Park, which is made up of the for­mer Aldin­ga Scrub Con­ser­va­tion Park and the Aldin­ga Wash­pool, will be devel­oped to reflect the co-man­age­ment struc­ture for the park. It will be devel­oped in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Kau­r­na Parks Advi­so­ry Committee.

To the Kau­r­na Peo­ple, the park is a place of cul­tur­al and spir­i­tu­al sig­nif­i­cance and a place where Kau­r­na, and oth­er Abo­rig­i­nal groups, have gath­ered for thou­sands of years. This impor­tance will be reflect­ed through­out the park man­age­ment plan and will be informed by the Kau­r­na Parks Advi­so­ry Committee.

The new man­age­ment plan will set the strate­gic direc­tion for park plan­ning and man­age­ment for the Aldin­ga Con­ser­va­tion Park tak­ing into account the cul­tur­al her­itage sig­nif­i­cance to the Kau­r­na Peo­ple, high bio­di­ver­si­ty val­ue, com­mu­ni­ty stew­ard­ship, nature based recre­ation­al expe­ri­ences that con­nect peo­ple to nature and fire man­age­ment that will reduce the risk to peo­ple, prop­er­ty and the environment.

Vis­it­ing Aldin­ga Con­ser­va­tion Park

Vis­i­tors are wel­come at Aldin­ga Con­ser­va­tion Park and can enjoy activ­i­ties like bush­walk­ing and fish­ing in the area of the park for­mer­ly ded­i­cat­ed to Aldin­ga Scrub Con­ser­va­tion Park, but should note that facil­i­ties and access is lim­it­ed in the wash­pool sec­tion of the park.

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