History and Biodiversity of Koondoola Regional Bushland

Northern Suburbs Branch 15th June 2022

When our scheduled speaker for June was unavailable, we invited Jennie Villiers, Convenor- Friends of Koondoola Bushland, to speak to us about the history and biodiversity of Koondoola Regional Bushland. This proved to be a very fortunate choice as Jennie offered to take us on a guided walk the following week (see Golly Walk report).

Jenny began by telling us the history of her involvement. She became “hooked” on the area after attending a community planting day about six years ago. She is now the convenor of the Friend’s group, runs the group’s Facebook page, and compiles a photographic record of all the native plants, of which there are over 290 species.

Koondoola Regional Bushland is 137-hectare remnant bushland and former wetlands, with significant Banksia attenuata woodland. In 1969, the general area was slated for social housing development and potentially Perth’s second airport. In 1995 the State Planning Department recommended the area for inclusion on the National Estate as an A-Class Reserve, designated as Koondoola Regional Bushland. 2000 saw Koondoola listed as Bush Forever Site 201 for its Banksia woodland, but Jennie told us that urban pressures saw the wetland areas dry out in the 2000s.

The Reserve is on Spearwood and Bassendean dunes with mostly Karrakatta soils. Among the rarer species of plants are Verticordia drummondii and the easternmost occurrence of Verticordia nitens (Morrison).

Jennie indicated on the map where to find Banksias, Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata), Flooded Gum (Eucalyptus rudis) and Paperbarks (Melaleuca preissiana). There are five banksia species, ‘lots’ of red and green Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthus manglesii) and Cats Paw (Anigozanthus humilis), and 28 species of orchid including Bunny Orchids (Eriochilus dilatatus), Donkey Orchids (Diuris corymbosa) and Greenhood (Pterostylis allantoidea).

Jennie told us that some unusual plants are found along the soil transition zone, including White Hovea (Hovea trisperma), blue Boronia ramosa and Grey Stinkwood (Jacksonia furcellata), and an unusual green and yellow Kangaroo Paw, lacking the red gene, is also found in the bushland.

Koondoola Regional Bushland has a relatively large fauna spread for urban bushland. At least 12 Western Grey Kangaroos call it home, as does at least one Black-gloved Wallaby. Two bat species have been identified, and at least 57 bird species, including Carnaby’s White-tailed Black Cockatoos, Rainbow Bee-eaters, Splendid Fairy Wrens and Rufous Whistlers. There are at least 21 reptile species, including Jans Banded Snake and many skinks, but only the Turtle Frog remains since the wetland area dried out. The Insect Society utilise Koondoola for butterfly and other insect surveys, recording Jewel Beetles and Weevils, among many others.

Fire is the biggest threat, with some 30 fires in 18 months but with very good regeneration.

Jennie could not answer one question: Where did the name Koondoola come from? The consensus was that it probably has an eastern state’s origin. This was supported by Don Poynton, who said one of the factions at his high school in Victoria in the 1960s was Koondoola House.

Special thanks to Christine Curry for allowing me to use excerpts from her write-up of Jennie’s presentation to the WA Wildflower Society the previous month.

Don Poynton

Koondoola is an Aboriginal word meaning ’emu’, and was approved as the name for this suburb on 18th March 1970.
Landgate. Perth and surrounds suburb names