Sydney’s Secret Swamp

Sydney's secret swamp 4 GN

Melaleuca linariifolia and Livistonia australis within the ‘Secret Swamp’

Sydney is Australia’s most populated city and as such most things are known about the area. Despite this, I am constantly reminded of the lack of knowledge regarding the Wildlife of Sydney, thus new discoveries are always possible and make bushwalking all the more exciting!

About 2 years ago I stumbled across a Swamp on Quaternary Alluvium that has likely had less than 10 visitors since Europeans colonised Australia. The swamp itself is known by NPWS however little is available on its whereabouts and wildlife diversity, thus the remoteness of the location coupled with its lack of public knowledge make it an exceptional location to see wildlife. Even more surprising is that it is resemblant of the monsoon wetlands and paperbark forests of Darwin some 4000km away!

Sydney's ectre swamp 3 GN

Secret Swamp

Looking down into the Swamp

When looking at why fauna occurs where you have to first look at the soil type. The unique alluvium soil in conjunction with the topography of the area is why there is such unique flora and thus fauna. Species of tree present at the swamp that are not often recorded in the area include Large-Fruited Red Mahogany, Swamp Mahogany, Blackbutt, Melaleuca … Woolbutt and large stands of Lilly Pilly and as such a unique array of animals call this swamp home.

Superb Lyebird for GN

The Superb Lyrebird is a common sight foraging amongst the leaf litter of the swamp

Currently, some of the most interesting fauna species I have recorded in this ‘Secret Swamp’ include (but are not limited to) White Headed Pigeon, Bassian Thrush, Brown Antechinus, Red Bellied Black Snake, Whistling Tree Frog, Eastern Sedge Frog, Rose Robin and Diamond Python however additional surveying is required in order to better understand the fauna assemblage of the area.

Following are a list of species which have a possibility of occurring in the swamp and adjacent area: Tyler’s Tree Frog, Green Tree Frog, Platypus, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Greater Sooty Owl, Masked Owl, King Quail, Greater Glider, Squirrel Glider, Tiger Snake and Australasian Bittern.

Bassian Thrush GN

The Bassian Thrush is a shy species that breeds within the swamp


In September-November I plan on surveying this area more extensively particularly for amphibians and mammals,if you’d like to assist with surveying at this location please send us a facebook message or email us at

Finally, above the swamp I made an interesting historical discovery. Whilst bushbashing – about 800m from the nearest track – I discovered an assortment of alcohol, milk and medicine jars in a small cave overlooking the valley. Whilst I am unsure of the exact date of these items it appears that they are from the 1930s or 1940s! Sydney's Secret Swamp GN 1


Ultimately, I encourage you to go out this weekend and visit a location that not many people go to. Once you’re there, record a list of all the animals you see and we’d love it if you email it to us – – so we can build up a database of wildlife in remote and little visited locations!