UTC +10

civil twilight





Live stream: mobile_elstercreek.ogg

Recording: Soak 2 - Morning Autumn - Natalie Davey

Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve, Elsternwick, Melbourne, Australia

Natalie Davey

Latitude: -37.88630238280524°
Longitude: +144.99496357417974°

 Autumnal underwater sounds will be streaming from an offline, man-made Chain of Ponds in Yalukit Willam Nature Reserve, Melbourne. The reserve, once an inner city golf course is being transformed (back) into a wetland. Much of the now urban suburb was previously a vibrant wetland habitat before colonisation and is in Boonwurrung Country. The reserve is named after the local Aboriginal clan Yalukit Willam. You will hear 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've been closely engaged with the project community through volunteering in the Yalukit Willam Nature Association (YWNA).  We have been using underwater sound as one of the many means to connect people to the dynamics of this fascinating regeneration project and collect data on the changing biodiversity as the wetland reestablishes itself.
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 and some engineering to restore wetlands.  The underwater sounds are from a totally man-made Chain of Ponds (Phase 1 of the project) which was only completed early 2023. The Chain of Ponds is one of the sites for YWNA's monthly citizen science water quality testing (Waterwatch). We collect chemical, macro invertebrate and sound data.You can listen to the underwater Summer sounds of a soak here.
We are four years into a ten year Masterplan. The wetland project was driven by community advocacy and is  now being  managed by Bayside City Council.  There is ongoing active community engagement through the Yalukit Willam Nature Association (YWNA) and other community groups.  The community as a whole has embraced the open space, and this relationship was especially fostered during the pandemic. 
YWNA is run by volunteers and works alongside other partners to ensure the best outcomes and practice for the project. YWNA continues to foster community engagement, particularly through volunteering. Our Patron is Professor  N'Arwee't Carolyn Briggs, a local Boonwurrung Elder. 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 shed home there. The reserve is 14 hectares, so it is a sizeable piece of inner city land to be returned to (wetland) Nature. 
It has been fascinating to see how quickly local animals and birds turn up once the habitat is created.