Swinging with Sedges: Perth's Urban Wetland

In the middle of Perth’s incredibly vibrant cultural precinct is a concrete wetland. Doesn’t sound great huh? Don’t be put off though, because this wetland is a little oasis that is loved and used by critters of all species, including our own.

The museum, library, art galleries, and dazzling new State Theatre that make up the cultural precinct are all linked by a series of concrete-paved plazas and broad steps.

In one corner, the steps used to lead down to a water feature. In recent years this has been reimagined as a wetland system, with the traditional treated water feature being retrofitted with sedges and other aquatic plants that treated runoff water naturally.

A series of timber walkways and platform were added, along with colourful folded seating elements.

The wetland has now established itself and environmental studies have identified a range of permanent fauna residents.

People are drawn to the new environment too.

On an overcast and generally less-than-perfect weekday afternoon people enjoyed a quiet lunch or study break.

On Sunday afternoon the city jazz festival moved in. The timber deck became a stage.

The wide amphitheatre steps were covered with bean bags.

And the crowd enjoyed the show.

This urban wetland is a brilliant example of the way a simple idea can transform a space.

Created with a very modest budget, it nonetheless creates a place that operates successfully every day as well as on special occasions. In an era when many people still regard wetlands as 'swamps' - undesirable places best avoided - this project shows how easily inner-city habitat can coexist with people.


The Urban Wetland was designed by Josh Byrne & Associates. The firms also does regular fauna monitoring at the wetland.