About our work

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Where do we work?

We work at Warriparinga, a very special triangle of open space in Bedford Park, a southern suburb of Adelaide, South Australia. It is bordered by South, Marion and Sturt Roads. Entry for vehicles is from Sturt Road, via Warriparinga Way.

Warriparinga Map

Why is Warriparinga special?

Surrounded by three busy main roads, Warriparinga is a haven in suburbia. Its Kaurna (Aboriginal) name has replaced the colonial name of Laffer's Triangle, and means "windy place by the river." The Sturt River, at least 50 million years old, winds its way through here before entering a concrete drain; Warriparinga now has the only natural stretch of river remaining on the entire Adelaide Plains. It is a special place for the Kaurna, the indigenous people of the area, as the start of the extensive Tjilbruke Dreaming Tracks. Over 97% of Adelaide's original vegetation has been destroyed since Europeans arrived, and most of the remaining 3% consists of mangroves. Warriparinga is precious as a Noah's Ark of rescued local (indigenous) plants. It is a unique educational resource, and university and school students are regular visitors.

What are the threats to Warriparinga?

The building of the Southern Expressway duplication reduced the open space, seriously damaged the riverbanks and brought an enormous graffiti-attracting wall to the site; spray cans now pollute the river. The Government refused to provide noise mitigation as this is not legally required for open space. Dr Nele Findlay worked hard in her final months to provide appropriate local seed to the Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure for revegetation after the works.

Warriparinga continues to shrink rapidly, with urban development on all sides. We campaigned heavily in 2015 to prevent yet another road being built across the river in the main conservation area, as part of the very large-scale Darlington road 'upgrade'. The most recent plan has removed this road. We are cautiously optimistic, but note that the plans remain subject to change. Furthermore, this and other developments continue to reduce the open space and will bring road traffic, and its noise impact, closer to the heart of Warriparinga.

What do the Friends do?

Our aim is to restore Warriparinga as closely as possible to its pre-colonisation condition. We do this by protecting and restoring indigenous (local) vegetation, acting to preserve Warriparinga as open space, preserving the Kaurna spirit and working to improve the water quality of the river. However, we also recognise the European heritage of the site and some members focus on caring for the garden of nineteenth century Fairford House. You can download here our brochure about environmental volunteering and wellbeing.

Here you see us removing Giant Reed from the riverbank to allow local plants to grow

Plants grown by members, ready to go into the ground

   Fresh plantings on the riverbank

How has Warriparinga changed over two decades?

For twenty-five years this small group of volunteers has been preserving the remnant native vegetation alongside the river, and replacing weeds such as exotic grasses and the well-named Giant Reed with local (indigenous) species. We collect local seed and propagate new plants. There are now over ninety indigenous plant species, including eleven of conservation significance. Birds and other native animals have been returning to this restored habitat. The before and after photos show the same patch of riverbank almost twenty years apart.

Warriparinga 20 years ago

Warriparinga before the restoration: mainly weedy grasses

Warriparinga after the restoration

The same spot after twenty years: indigenous trees and bushes

Purple flowers of Cullen amidst lush native grasses

Expressway duplication under construction at Warriparinga