The name Oakebella is symbolic of its environment. Oak means a mighty, solid tree that lives for hundreds of years, Bella means beautiful. Oakebella estate has been designed to enhance the natural environment that has evolved over the years, it creates an extension of the natural landscape of Bollard Bulrush Wetlands and the surrounding area. Quite simply, Oakebella provides a place where you will gladly take a moment to just sit back, breathe, and soak it all in.
Bollard Bulrush is the southernmost wetland of the eastern chain of wetlands, at the interface of the Spearwood and Bassendean dunes. As part of Beeliar Regional Park, it is one of the most notable systems of lakes and wetlands remaining in the Perth metropolitan area. Exciting plans are in place to create intimate spaces with which to enjoy the beauty of the natural area, as well as developing walking and cycle trails. Inquisitive explorers can get closer to nature and immerse themselves in the wildlife sanctuary.
A rich history
The land on which Oakebella was founded has a long history. Dating back to the 1920s, settlers worked the rich earth providing fresh fruit and vegetables to a growing Perth community. Oakebella estate is nestled along a natural wetland, which has an even longer history, The drains constructed during the Inter-War period are still visible on Bertram Road. The wetlands were bought by Mr. Alexander Robert Richardson in 1898, a farmer and grazier of ‘Lowlands’, Serpentine. The area was referred to as ‘Richardson’s Swamp’ from 1923, although the correct name which you’ll see on maps is ‘Bollard Bulrush Swamp’. It was a significant part of the Peel Estate drainage project from the 1920s. Surrounding dry ground was ineffective at farming, so lowland wetlands were drained to expose fertile soil which then opened new tracts. The wetlands' evolving habitat has supported a lush backdrop for the homes of Oakebella.
A significant habitat
Australia may be the driest inhabited continent, but it has a very large number of the world's internationally recognised wetlands. Wetlands play a vital role in our ecosystem, providing a critical and productive link from land to water. Wetlands keep the water clean by filtering out pollutants like sediments, nutrients and pathogens. They are a habitat for a vast number of animals and plants, providing breeding grounds and nursery areas for fish. Nearly 20 per cent of Australia’s bird species depend on wetlands to survive, some even use different wetlands depending on what part of their lifecycle they’re at. Wetlands are also an important stopping ground for global migration, at least two million migratory waterbirds visit Australia each summer. Common species you may see in our wetlands include the red-necked stint, curlew sandpiper, sharp-tailed sandpiper, bar-tailed godwit and greenshank. Other animals that call the wetlands their home include fish, frogs, tortoises and invertebrates, as well as many types of plants.
The importance of our wetlands stretches beyond wildlife protection. Wetlands also help our environment by storing floodwater, improving water quality by filtering out pollutants, and maintaining surface flow during dry periods. Research has also shown that wetlands help to moderate global climate conditions by storing carbon dioxide within their plant communities instead of releasing it.
Unfortunately, Bollard Bulrush has suffered from some clearing, but there are still dense growth areas of paperbarks and flooded gums and bulrushes through the very wet areas. The Bollard Bulrush Landscape Masterplan details proposed work for rehabilitation and revegetation of the 50m wetland buffer commensurate with endemic wetland flora species.
Oakebella is fortunate to reside next to such important wetlands and benefit from its beauty. Its surrounding environment has resulted in residents having that feeling that they are living miles away from anywhere, a true breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of daily life.