The Jerrabomberra Wetlands were formed following the filling of Lake Burley Griffin, and the expansion of a natural wetland that had developed on the floodplain of the Molonglo River. The wetland and other habitats support a wide range of aquatic wildlife including over 170 species of birds, some of which are protected under an International Treaty between Australia and Japan.

The Jerrabomberra Wetlands are situated in the heart of the national Capital and are an integral part of the parkland system that has been developed around Lake Burley Griffin. The lake provides the key landscape element which unites the city and provides the setting for many of the buildings of the Central National Area as well as being a focus for a wide range of activities for Canberra residents and tourists.

The location of the Jerrabomberra Wetlands close to the centre of Canberra, and therefore to a large population centre and tourist destination, provides a unique opportunity to develop the area's potential as a nature education and interpretation centre. This would enable residents, tourists and international visitors to develop their understanding about conservation and wetland ecology as part of their enjoyment of the National Capital.

The challenge of the Jerrabomberra Wetlands is to ensure that a significant ecological resource in the centre of Canberra is protected and maintained while being used sensitively for residents and tourists in ways which enrich their experience of the National Capital and develop greater community awareness and appreciation of the natural environment.

General Conditions

Key Objective

To define and maintain Jerrabomberra Wetlands as a protected wildlife refuge, in a National Capital and urban context, with facilities designed to realise the area's potential as a significant conservation and education resource for Canberra residents, tourists and international visitors.


To protect the ecological resources, geomorphological features and aquatic conditions of Jerrabomberra Wetlands and maintain a diversity of wetland and other habitats for wildlife conservation.

Education and Research

To provide for the use of Jerrabomberra Wetlands as a significant educational resource which promote educational activities appropriate to the area such as nature appreciation, fosters public awareness about wetland ecosystems, and facilities interpretation about birds and other aquatic wildlife. The area is also to be available for scientific research related to wetland environments.


To maintain and enhance the rural and floodplain landscape character and strengthen the perception and appreciation of the Jerrabomberra Wetlands and its surroundings as an integral part of the landscape of Lake Burley Griffin and the setting for the National Capital.


To facilitate recreational use for education and interpretation programmes coupled with informal and quiet enjoyment of the area's natural qualities consistent with the protection of Jerrabomberra Wetlands as a significant conservation resource in an urban setting. A range of facilities to be provided from Visitor Information Centres and bird-hides to information signs and paths.


To provide for the continuation of current essential urban service infrastructure (electricity, water supply, sewerage). Any future proposal for new or upgraded services to be required to protect the nature conservation core areas and to be subject to a full environmental assessment.

Planning, Development and Management

To facilitate planning, development and management of the Jerrabomberra Wetlands as a part of the National Capital Open Space System and in a manner which sustains specific uses consistent with conservation of its wetlands habitats, protects it from the impacts of external land uses, and ensures the wetlands are maintained and used in the broader context of planning for the whole of the Molonglo River and Jerrabomberra Creek floodplain and the Lake Burley Griffin Technical and Management Guidelines.

Specific Area Conditions

A: Nature Conservation Core Area


The existing wetland habitat is significant both for its nature conservation value and its potential for public viewing and interpretation in an urban location. The Nature Conservation Core Area is primarily identified for conservation and protection of wetland habitat and associated wildlife, where carefully controlled public access can be provided for interpretative and educational activities. Within the Core Area zoning can provide for bird refuge areas with general public access excluded, and for other areas where public facilities and access is provided. Overall, emphasis will be placed on habitat diversity rather than significant increases in general waterbird populations in order to minimise the risk of birdstrike to aircraft using Canberra Airport.


A1: Jerrabomberra Backwaters

To be maintained as a wildlife refuge area with a diversity of habitats for aquatic wildlife and particularly birdlife, and protected from uncontrolled access from Lake Burley Griffin and adjacent lands. Controlled access for public interpretation, consistent with the area's refuge status, may be provided from Area A2. Existing access track to be retained for management purposes only.

A2: Jerrabomberra Pool And Kelly's Swamp Environs

To be maintained and developed as a diverse habitat for waterbirds with facilities for public access, viewing and interpretation including information centres, hides and display areas to enable people to view wildlife at reasonably close quarters and understand about wetland ecology. Jerrabomberra land fill area to be rehabilitated and landscaped with a particular emphasis on creating habitat for land birds.

B: Wetland Buffer Zone


Dairy Flat provides a distinctive rural landscape with an open, grazed floodplain as the foreground to views of the national area. There is an opportunity to preserve this character within a rural buffer zone which complements and protects the Nature Conservation Core Area. Some of the former farm buildings and land adjacent to Kelly's Swamp are used for educational purposes.


B1: Dairy Flat West

To be maintained as a rural buffer zone to protect the Wetlands and the agricultural landscape character of the Dairy Flat floodplain. The ephemeral wetland area near Molonglo Reach to be maintained and used for public interpretation. The option to be retained for the development of further aquatic habitats for conservation and/or recreation purposes. This would be subject to advice from the relevant Commonwealth Government Department of Authority that this would not increase the risk of birdstrikes to aircraft. Major changes of this type to be subject to action under the Commonwealth's Environment Protection (Impact of Proposals) Act 1974 .

B2: Dairy Flat Centre

Use of the buildings and land adjacent to Kelly's swamp to continue as an educational facility consistent with the area's additional role as part of the buffer zone to the Nature Conservation Core Area.

C: Recreation


The tree-line margins of the Molonglo River are an important habitat component of the wetland complex. There could be some low intensity recreation and public access compatible with protection of the birdlife and habitats associated with these riverine areas. Such use should be in the context of the Lake Burley Griffin Technical and Management Guidelines which provides for riverside recreation along the northern and southern banks of Molonglo Reach.


C1: Molonglo Reach Recreation

The southern bank of Molonglo Reach to be developed and used as an informal riverside area with controlled public access. Wildlife habitat, including the marginal, riverine vegetation, to be protected and maintained for birdlife and other semi-aquatic fauna. The north-eastern portion may be more intensively developed with picnic facilities and will be the location for a new bridge for the Eastern Parkway.

Jerrabomberra Wetlands Policy Plan

Jerrabomberra Wetlands Policy Plan

D: High And Low Voltage Distribution Sub-Transmission Lines


A number of high and low voltage lines cross Jerrabomberra Wetlands/Dairy Flat as key elements in the provision of electricity supply to Canberra. They have a visual effect on the landscape and views across Lake Burley Griffin to the Central National Area and can present a hazard to waterbirds. These environmental effects should be minimised when opportunities arise, but this will depend upon the extent and timing of developments in adjacent areas and the degree to which some lines can be removed. For example the establishment of the new Mundaring Drive/Newcastle Street alignment will provide an opportunity to relocate the Causeway to Oaks Estate 66 Kv line onto this alignment and the 11 kV distribution line running east-west could be relocated to align with Dairy Road or the Eastern Parkway.


D1: Causeway To City East And Bruce 132 Kv Sub-Transmission Lines Easement

The two existing 132 kV lines linking the Causeway substation to the City East and Bruce substations to be retained.

D2: Existing Causeway To Oaks Estate 66 Kv Transmission Line And Adjacent 11 Kv Line

The existing 66 kV line and adjacent 11 kV line to be retained temporarily to provide an 11 kV link between Kingston and Fyshwick, after which they are to be removed.

D3: Causeway To Gilmore 132 Kv Sub-Transmission Line Easement

An easement is required parallel to or south of the gazetted alignment of Newcastle Street for a 132 kV line connecting the Causeway and Gilmore substations. Construction to be in accordance with the Environmental Impact Statement approved in 1984.

D4: 11 Kv Distribution Lines

Further work to be undertaken to minimise the impact of the 11kV distribution lines.

E: Road Access


The Eastern Parkway, which will connect Newcastle Street to Morshead Drive will cross the Molonglo River about 300 metres west of the Dairy Flat Bridge. Following construction of one carriageway, Dairy Road will be used temporarily as the other carriageway. When the Parkway is eventually completed Dairy Road will be retained to provide for access to the southern side of Molonglo Reach, the eastern parts of Jerrabomberra Wetlands, and the Dairy Flat Centre. The gazetted, but not constructed, alignment of the Newcastle Street to Mundaring Drive connection requires relocation because of its proximity to Dairy Flat Centre and Jerrabomberra Pool - the main site for public viewing of waterbirds.


E1: Eastern Parkway

The Eastern Parkway to be constructed east of the Fyshwick Sewage Treatment Works and in accordance with an approved Environmental Impact Statement. A new bridge crossing the Molonglo River to be constructed within Area C1 about 300 metres west of the current Dairy Flat Bridge.

E2: Newcastle Street Extension

A new reservation for the possible extension of Newcastle Street to Mundaring Drive to be identified south of the existing gazetted route. When this has been done the existing reservation for this road requires a change of land use and the land incorporated within Wetlands Zone A2.

F: Cycleway


The completion of the recreation cycleway system and Lake Burley Griffin is an important objective of the Lake Burley Griffin Technical and Management Guidelines. It requires the construction of a cycleway in or adjacent to the area covered by these conditions.


F1: Lake Burley Griffin Cycleway System

A cycleway is to be established in order to complete the system around the Lake and to provide a connection to Fyshwick. The route is to be determined following further analysis, but would not pass through Area A1. It would pass through Area A2 in a manner which would be compatible with protection of the area's nature conservation and interpretation values. It would cross Jerrabomberra Creek east of Jerrabomberra Pool with much of its length being in the eastern portion of Area B1.

G: Water Supply


The bulk supply main carrying domestic water between Googong Reservoir and North Canberra crosses the wetland buffer area.


G1: Googong Bulk Supply Main

The existing bulk supply water main connecting Googong Reservoir and North Canberra to be retained.

H: Sewerage


A sewerage rising main existing between the Fyshwick Sewerage Plant and Kingston. Its operation has not been satisfactory in recent years and its replacement is required.


H1:Fyshwick To Kingston Sewerage Rising Main

Use of the Fyshwick to Kingston sewerage rising main to continue with upgrading to more efficient operation using a similar route.