Swan Reserve – transformed from Saleyards to a Community Hub

Swan Reserve – transformed from Saleyards to a Community Hub

Swan Reserve in Warrnambool has experienced a drastic transformation since the stock saleyards were moved from this location in 1970. Its evolution towards a place for both tourists and locals to enjoy began in the late 1970s when the Warrnambool and District Society for Growing Australian Plants established a native waterwise garden to accompany and compliment the new Tourist Information Centre. The info centre has since moved to another location, but the garden is now well-established and has many spectacular examples of banksias, acacias, hakeas, and grevilleas, among others.

The Reserve is now home to a childcare centre and kindergarten, and is currently undergoing further re-development by the Warrnambool City Council to add a public playground, culturally significant plantings and an Indigenous meeting place.

A beautiful spring day recently saw the Friends of Swan Reserve and NGT staff plant out the fourth garden in our series of native plant display gardens, the Swan Reserve Biodiversity Bed. Approximately 130 plants were planted on site, ranging from Chocolate Lilies (Arthropodium strictum), to the coastal Cushion Bush (Leucophyta brownii) and Pigface (Carpobrotus rossii), to a locally indigenous Correa (Correa reflexa Granny’s Grave). The garden will also showcase several threatened species, with Dun Fan-flower (Scaevola calendulacea) and Coast Bitter-bush (Adriana quadripartita) already planted and future additions of other species in planning.

After becoming established, plants in the new garden will require little ongoing watering – a key concern for anyone with a passion for gardening, including city councils! The Reserve is host to regular markets and it is hoped that the latest re-development will entice even more visitors to spend some time in this beautiful spot in the heart of Warrnambool city.

Rose Thompson