Biodiversity in Urban Sydney: the Glebe Foreshore Walk

By Charlotte Simpson-Young and Asa Wahlquist

The residents and doggies of Sydney’s Inner West are lucky enough to have the Glebe Foreshore and the parks along it to picnic, walk, jog, and play fetch in. The 2.2 km Glebe Foreshore walk follows the shoreline of Blackwattle Bay and Rozelle Bay, through Blackwattle Bay, Bicentennial, Jubilee and Federal Parks. It turns out it is also a haven for native plants and animals.

The interlinked parks are considered to have high biodiversity value, thanks to the relatively large area covered and the diverse habitat for fauna and flora, including sandstone outcrops and retaining walls, a small freshwater pond and freshwater seepages. The parks and walk have been restored and managed to enhance these values. There is high diversity of flora with over 100 locally indigenous species, several bush restoration sites, endangered coastal saltmarsh communities, the only mangrove forest in the City of Sydney.

The official waterfront walk, from Bridge Road to Chapman Road, was decades in the making and finally completed in 2014. The area that makes up the walk today was once used for heavy industry (including timber mills and incinerators) or was part of private residences. However, it has slowly been reclaimed for public parkland.

Hundreds of shrubs, grasses and groundcovers have been planted in the foreshore park, to improve the diversity of locally indigenous plants and create a dense understorey habitat to encourage small birds. Some rock features and wooden structures have also been installed to encourage lizards and insects.

The main tree species you see along the Glebe Foreshore walk are Casuarinas, Swamp Mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta) and other Eucalypt species. The understorey has been planted with Acacias, Banksias, Callicoma, Melaleucas, Grevilleas and Westringia. Alongside the waterfront path are swales planted with rushes that retain stormwater.

Several peppercorn trees (Shinus molle) have also been planted. There are not natives but were commonly planted around houses in the nineteenth century. While not related to pepper, their berries have been used as a pepper substitute.

This is a special spot for the Glebe community and native biodiversity.

For the original articles go to Asa Wahlquist’s website and more posts on the Glebe Foreshore:

Under the Terrace Houses: Glebe before European Settlement

A Concrete Creek: Glebe’s Johnstons Creek

The Last Mangroves in the City: Jubilee Park Mangroves

Where the River Meets the Sea: Glebe’s Coastal Saltmarsh

Historical Palms at Jubilee Park



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Buckingham, J., (2008) Glebe’s waterfront History, the last 40 years <>

Christie, Judy (2019) personal communication

City of Sydney (2006) East Glebe Foreshore Plan of Management <>

City of Sydney (2016) Glebe Foreshore <>

City of Sydney (2014) Urban Ecology Strategic Action Plan <>

City of Sydney (2019) Johnstons Creek <>

City of Sydney (2013) Johnstons Creek Master Plan Report <>

City of Sydney (2016) Avifauna Surveys: City of Sydney <>

City of Sydney (2019) The City of Sydney Significant Trees Register <>

Department of Primary Industries (2019) Fishing in Sydney Harbour <>

Eckstein, D., (2001) Inner City Environmental Revitalisation <>

Irish, P., Goward, P. (2013) Blackwattle Creek, Barani: Sydney’s Aboriginal History <>

Larkum, T., (2007) The Mangrove plantings on Rozelle Bay, Glebe Society Bulletin <>

Larkum, T., (2017) Damage to Mangroves in the Mangrove Area of Bicentennial Park, Glebe Society Bulletin <>

Marsden S., Solling, M., (2016) Harold Park: A History. Mirvac Group Limited. Sydney

Montoya, D., (2015) Pollution in Sydney Harbour, NSW Parliamentary Research Service <>

Schwartzkoff, L., (2018) Oyster Research Aims to Clean the Water of Sydney Harbour <>

Solling, M. (2007) Grandeur and Grit, Halstead Press.

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