Former Aboriginal campsite given a new lease of life

For generations of Noongars, Paddy Coyne’s Camp in Serpentine Road was an important meeting place. Amongst its historical features are a corroboree ground and a small ochre pit, both of which are registered sites with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

However, in recent years, the area, which is managed by the Department of Housing, had become infested with Sydney golden wattle (Acacia longifolia), classified as an invasive species in Western Australia and particularly problematic for the Albany Hinterland.

South Coast NRM has been working to remove and control Sydney golden wattle at Paddy Coyne’s Camp with the help of an Aboriginal work team over the past three years.

Recently, around 120 Year 3 and 4 schoolchildren, supervised by the Clontarf students and teachers, spent two half-days helping South Coast NRM Cultural Connections project officer Graeme Simpson plant 1,000 native seedlings.

The young plants, including marri, jarrah, bluebell, hakea and paperbark, were provided by Bill Hollingworth’s Bandicoot Nursery and were especially chosen as historically, they grew naturally at the site.

South Coast NRM cultural program leader Karen Herlihy was excited that the planting had been completed and said working at the site provided the students with a good understanding of the area’s cultural significance as well as an opportunity to help with an environmental project in their backyard.

“It was great to see so many young people involved in a project which will have plentiful benefits to the local community, including restoring the natural habitat, which in turn will encourage people to appreciate and make use of this area.”

All Sydney golden wattle removed from the area was put through a chipper on-site and reused as mulch.