40-09 South Park Lands Creek in Park 20

These tall trees, red gums and blue gums, are growing close to the course of the South Park Lands Creek. The Creek traverses the southern Park Lands, from Victoria Park in the east across the neighbouring Parks 17, 18, 19 to this spot in Park 20, where it disappears under Greenhill Road and flows through Unley, Wayville and Goodwood.

For most of its length within the Park Lands, the Creek is not a natural watercourse but an artificial drainage channel.

It was built in 1917 to channel water away from what was a boggy area near the corner of Greenhill Road and Fullarton Road.

Here, in Park 20 it did look like more of a natural water course. In the past, people casually walking through Blue Gum Park / Kurangga might not have even noticed the creek, because it was partly obscured amongst the trees – including many old growth river gums.

A project is under way to rehabilitate the entire length of the South Park Lands Creek into a wetlands environment, with signage, education facilities, boardwalks and a range of nature play and recreation opportunities.

The plan includes two wetlands, or stormwater detention basins, the removal of poplar trees, characterised as "woody weeds" and the introduction of native vegetation along a much broader creek bed.

The rehabilitation project began in 2017. The first few stages were carried out to the east of here, in Parks 16 through to 19. This Park, 20, was left until last.

There had been two separate creek-beds within in Park 20.  These were to be consolidated into one, and the footpaths through the Park were to be re-aligned.

The work was serving five different purposes:
◦ FIRST, to protect both the Park Lands and nearby land in Unley and Wayville from flooding;
◦ SECOND, to increase safety for Park users, by getting rid of steep and dangerous eroded creek banks
◦ THIRD, to increase biodiversity along the length of the South Park Lands Creek;
◦ FOURTH, to replace woody weeds with native trees; and
◦ FIFTH, to create a seasonal wetlands environment to attract wildlife

The project has been controversial because as part of the creek widening, a small number of kurrajong trees and significant eucalypts perched on the steep creek banks were designated for removal.

The ground underneath them was to be dug away to widen the creek bed.

This is not the only drainage channel in Blue Gum Park. The other channel, further to the west in Park 20 is dead straight – it can't be mistaken for a natural creek.

From this point, walk back onto the bitumen path, stop there and look to the left, where the path heads westwards.

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