Friends of Warriparinga

About our work

 

 

 

About Us

About our work

We work at Warriparinga, a very special triangle of open space in Bedford Park, a southern suburb of Adelaide, South Australia. It is bordered by South, Marion and Sturt Roads. Entry for vehicles is from Sturt Road, via Warriparinga Way.

 

Why is Warriparinga special?

Surrounded by three busy main roads, Warriparinga is a haven in suburbia. Its Kaurna (Aboriginal) name has replaced the colonial name of Laffer’s Triangle, and means “windy place by the river.” The River Sturt, at least 50 million years old, winds its way through here before entering a concrete drain; Warriparinga is now a rare example of a natural stretch of river anywhere on the Adelaide Plains. 

It is a special place for the Kaurna, the indigenous people of the area, as the start of the extensive Tjilbruke Dreaming Tracks. Over 97% of Adelaide’s original vegetation has been destroyed since Europeans arrived, and most of the remaining 3% consists of mangroves. Warriparinga is precious as a Noah’s Ark of rescued local (indigenous) plants. It is a unique educational resource, and university and school students are regular visitors.

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What Do the Friends Do?

Our aim is to restore Warriparinga as closely as possible to its pre-colonisation condition. We do this by protecting and restoring indigenous (local) vegetation, acting to preserve Warriparinga as open space, preserving the Kaurna spirit and working to improve the water quality of the river. However, we also recognise the European heritage of the site and some members have, at times, helped care for the garden of nineteenth century Fairford House.

What are the threats to Warriparinga?

Reduction of open space by urban development on all sides, already shrunk by the Southern Expressway duplication and the Darlington roadway project. The open space adjacent to Marion Road is also slated for development.

Noise. The Government refused to provide noise mitigation when the Expressway was duplicated as this is not legally required for open space. Road traffic has crept closer to the heart of Warriparinga.

Damage to the riverbanks. Works associated with the Expressway duplication seriously damaged the riverbanks.

Water pollution from urban development is an ongoing threat.

Weeds such as Desert Ash travel from upriver and re-establish at Warriparinga.

Vandalism is also an occasional problem. The Expressway duplication brought an enormous graffiti-attracting wall to the site and spray cans began to pollute the river.

Zoning. Zoning (what is permitted to be built) can carry risks to the river and Warriparinga.

Ageing of volunteers. We encourage new members to apply, whether younger or recent retirees!

What are our successes?

Restoration of indigenous riverbank vegetation.

Provision of plants of traditional Kaurna significance.

The education of schoolchildren and the general public.

Darlington project. We campaigned heavily, and successfully, in 2015 to prevent yet another road being built across the river in the main conservation area.

As river guardians. We have alerted authorities to problems such as erosion, pollution and incorrect replacement of the river bed resulting from transport developments.

Repair of riverbank. We urged repair of the damaged riverbank behind Fairford’s heritage-listed Coach House, and ‘rock armouring’ was provided to prevent further erosion.

The return of lost animal species such as Superb Fairy Wrens.

Collaboration with various groups to promote a view of Warriparinga as part of a natural corridor extending from the hills to the sea.

Keeping abreast of changes (e.g., to zoning and development) and working proactively with authorities to prevent or minimise damage, such as by collaborating on replanting with suitable species following roadworks.

How has Warriparinga changed over recent decades?

For thirty years this small group of volunteers has been preserving the remnant native vegetation alongside the river, and replacing weeds such as exotic grasses and the well-named Giant Reed with local (indigenous) species. We collect local seed and propagate new plants. There are now over ninety indigenous plant species, including eleven of conservation significance. Birds and other native animals have been returning to this restored habitat. The before and after photos below show the same patch of riverbank almost twenty years apart.

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What We Do

Purple flowers of Cullen amidst lush native grasses

Warriparinga before the restoration: mainly weedy grasses

The same spot after twenty years: indigenous trees and bushes

Expressway duplication under construction at Warriparinga

A big problem tackled!

We have now removed most of this Giant Reed that was smothering the local vegetation along the river.

Plants grown by members, ready to go into the ground

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