The Swan Region covers over 1 million hectares which includes the Perth Metropolitan area, the Swan and Canning river catchments and extends three nautical miles offshore to include islands such as Rottnest and Garden Island. The Swan Region has a Mediterranean climate, with mild wet winters and hot dry summers. The average annual rainfall across the Region is 850mm per annum, primarily falling between May and October.
The Traditional Owners of the land and waterways within the Swan Region are the Whadjuk People of the Noongar Nation. Noongars have lived and had a cultural connection to the booja – land for more than 40,000 years. Through lore, customs and language, Noongar people have maintained a spiritual connection to booja country which has been passed on through stories, art, song and dance. Sites of particular significance to the Whadjuk are Ngooloormayup, known as Carnac Island; Meeandip, known as Garden Island; Wajemup, known as Rottnest Island; Gargangara north of Armadale; and Goolamrup, the suburb known as Kelmscott.
Waterways lie at the heart of Noongar culture, both literally and spiritually. Waterways such as Dyarlgarro Beeliar, known as the Canning River, and Derbal Yiragan, known as the Perth estuary, and the flow of lakes and wetlands that run parallel to the coast and at the foot of the Darling Scarp, are a vital spiritual and natural resource that continue to have significant economic value to Aboriginal people. These waterways were created by the Wagyl, and the Noongar people were entrusted by the Wagyl to protect the rivers, lakes, springs and wildlife.
Perth is the capital city of Western Australia and covers almost half the Swan Region (~47%). It is Australia’s fastest growing city, with the current population of 1.9 million expected to rise to 5 million in 2055. The combination of rich and productive natural assets and outdoor lifestyle choices have made the Region a highly sought after destination for visitors and migrants.
The Region’s social and economic life is dominated by the Perth metropolitan area, with its associated manufacturing and services industries. The metropolitan area supports a business turnover of $64 billion per annum (Regional Development Australia 2014), with the largest employing industries being Health Care and Social Assistance (11%), Construction (11%), Retail Trade (10%) and Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (9%) (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2011). Car ownership and use is relatively high in Perth with 58% of residents owning two or more vehicles and more than two thirds of workers driving to work as opposed to only 10.6% using public transport.