Stories related to waterways generally, not to a specific management agency, but of wider interest.

Map with pins showing sightings of Swamp Wallabies along and near to Merri Creek.
Sightings of Swamp Wallabies along Merri Creek.

In May 2019 after seeing Swamp Wallabies along Merri Creek and at Yarra Bend Park I published an article on this blog speculating on ground mammal refuges and movements along Merri Creek.  The article was kindly featured on the Friends of Merri Creek Facebook page, and got a lot of feedback, with many people reporting their own sightings of Swamp Wallabies. 

To better understand the movements of Swamp Wallabies along Merri Creek I mapped these sightings as best I could (they are in red in the map on the right from Google MyMaps).  I included reports from the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas (there were only a few).  I also approached Wildlife Victoria, who kindly provided details of reports to them of Swamp Wallabies in suburbs adjoining the lower Merri Creek.The Wildlife Victoria data points are purple. 

I also searched through Merri Creek Management Committee's fauna sightings records; these are shown in green.

The map provides some fascinating insights.

  • Predation by dogs seems to be an important factor as the areas where sightings are more common tend to be difficult for people and dogs to access.  Some level of predation might not be a bad thing though.
  • Shrubs are important as food plants (and shelter), although they don't need to be indigenous.
  • Swamp Wallabies are clearly moving up and down Merri Creek, but despite the dangers, they also appear to be moving east-west through adjacent suburbs, often coming to grief.
  • Creek Management could enhance or destroy the refuges used by Swamp Wallabies.

In my recent walks along Merri Creek and Yarra Bend Park I have seen three Swamp Wallabies.  Two were in the inaccessible western bank of Merri Creek in southern Reservoir, and one was in Yarra Bend upstream of the Studley Park Boathouse.

I find it very exciting to think that the two wallabies (definitely different individuals) I saw in close proximity in Reservoir are evidence that there is a breeding population there.  I am sure there is in Yarra Bend, and has been for some time.

30 years ago, when I started on Merri Creek restoration, I imagined that getting large ground mammals back along the Creek was fanciful.  Surely I thought, with cars and dogs and narrow links along the Creek at major road bridges there was no chance.  There you are, I was clearly wrong, as there is a reproducing population of Eastern Grey Kangaroos at Ngarri-djarrang, a grassland reserve along Merri Creek's tributary Central Creek, and now I believe there is a breeding population of Swamp Wallabies.  What is their future?