Urban creek welcomes back platypus

Article image - Urban creek welcomes back platypus The platypus spotted in Darebin Creek. Image by Tom Crawshaw.

Urban waterway regeneration by two metropolitan councils in Victoria has seen the return of platypus to a local creek.

For many years, it was only rubbish spotted floating in Darebin Creek – an urban waterway feeding into Melbourne’s Yarra River.

However, a concerted regeneration and clean-up effort by Banyule and Darebin City Councils, Melbourne Water and the community has paid off, with a platypus spotted for the first time in at least 10 years.

The sighting in February by Banyule park ranger Tom Crawshaw brought much excitement as well as national media coverage.

Tom first noticed a ‘brown flash’ while clearing debris from a revegetation area hit by severe storms and flooding after Christmas.
An avid photographer, he took photos, which were supplemented a week later when he spotted the platypus again.

Council rangers and the community have been working hard to significantly revegetate the Darebin Creek corridor, where the increasing biodiversity had led to the return of many species not seen for many years.

Other projects restoring the creek’s health and biodiversity include Banyule Council’s redevelopment of a wetland, which filters stormwater running into the creek, and the installation of nesting boxes for wildlife like sugar gliders.

A group of Ivanhoe residents, whose homes back on to Darebin Creek, is also doing their bit to transform the banks of the creek from weed infested into a wildlife corridor where indigenous plants and animals are once again thriving.

Green Street resident Michelle Morris, who coordinates the Darebin Creek Revegetation Group, said that over the last eight years residents have achieved much, including celebrating the return of the Eastern Froglet after a 20-year absence.

Kookaburras, magpies, currawongs, parrots, frogmouths, ducks, wattle birds, pardalotes, Eastern Spinebills and butcher birds are also now regularly sighted, along with a variety of lizards and insects.

“It has been wonderful being part of this transformation and we have a great sense of achievement.

“What seemed at first to be quite an overwhelming task has, step by step, become possible.”

Banyule Mayor Councillor Tom Melican said that it was inspiring to see how much has been achieved along the Darebin Creek corridor.

“Along with Council and its staff, residents of Banyule are very environmentally-minded and appreciate the need to look after our green open spaces for the enjoyment of the community as a whole, as well as for the native fauna and flora that can consequently thrive.”