Soak 2 - Morning Autumn - Natalie Davey
Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve, Elsternwick, Melbourne, Australia
Sound will be streaming from Soak 2, part of an offline, man-made Chain of Ponds in Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve. The reserve is sited in a former inner city golf course but is being transformed into a Nature Reserve. Much of the suburb was previously a vibrant wetland habitat before colonisation and is part of Boonwurrung Country. The reserve is now named after the local clan Yalukit Willam. We will be listening to the macro-invertebrate life (though it is now quite cold so it may be fairly quiet), and perhaps some bird life as the day begins. I have been closely engaged with the project community through my role as President of the Yalukit Willam Nature Association. We have been using underwater sound as one of the many means to connect people to the dynamics of this fascinating regeneration project.
Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve is part of Boonwurrung Country in the contemporary Bayside City Council area. The entire Elwood Swamp of yore of which this reserve hopes to echo, was a rich and sustaining place for the Yaluk-ut Weelam (Yalukit Willam) clan for many thousands of years. The regeneration project (previously a golf course and trotting track) involves returning plants that were common and now often rare or locally extinct to thrive here and restore health to this mainly urbanised patch of the Elster Creek catchment. The soak and its underwater sounds, is in a totally man-made Chain of Ponds which was only completed in the last year. We are three years into a ten year Masterplan. The regenerating wetland project was taken on by the Council after much community advocacy and is being managed by Bayside City Council. There is still has deep community engagement through the Yalukit Willam Nature Association and other community groups. The community as a whole has embraced the space, particularly during the still recent lockdown periods. The soak is one sites for our monthly citizen science event (we collect chemical, macro invertebrate and sound data) and we are very curious about how diverse this habitat will become over time.
Our community group is run by volunteers and works alongside other partners to ensure the best outcomes for the project. The YWNA runs monthly surveys to collect data and understand and connect with the growing biodiversity. We manage a Plant and Seed Lab on site and have our own YWNA shed home there. The whole reserve is 14 hectares, so it is a rather large chunk of inner city land to be returned to Nature. You can listen to the underwater Summer sounds of the soak here.
The Chain of Ponds will act as a refuge for wildlife already established here, once the stage is reached to increase the wetland area around the Elster Creek passage. It has been fascinating to see how quickly animals turn up once the right habitat is created.