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Jirdarup Bushland and the Friends who care for it

Jirdarup Bushland and the Friends who care for it

Author: Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck

Publisher: Friends of Jirdarup Bushland

Published: September 2023

I’m a country kid, born and raised on a large sheep and crop farm on the outskirts of Ongerup, Western Australia. Growing up surrounded by an expanse of broadacre paddocks intermingled with native scrubland, the 18 hectare Jirdarup Bushland Precinct feels like a welcome slice of my homeland nestled amidst the Perth hustle. Jirdarup is home to an array of native flora and fauna, and many don’t even realise it’s there.

Authored by local resident Dr Lesley van Schoubroeck, Jirdarup Bushland and the Friends who care for it is a vivid 84-page volume that now takes pride of place in my living room and is always a conversation starter. Filled with over 75 vibrant photographs, historical newspaper clippings, and personal stories of people’s unique relationship with the Bushland, it’s a keepsake, not just for Perth locals, but for tourists and nature enthusiasts alike.

It’s easy to look at Jirdarup Bushland in 2023 and believe it’s maintained its remarkable biodiversity all on its own. The book details the changes the Bushland has seen since 1901 – once a sanitary depot, a rifle range, and a sandpit, the evolution of Jirdarup has been one of development, conservation, and restoration that without the dedicated efforts of the local community would not be the sanctuary it is today.

The book is carefully crafted, and a pleasure to read. A deep affiliation and enthusiasm for the Bushland shines through in every page, in what has clearly been a labour of love by the author. Mayor of Victoria Park, Karen Vernon, expressed how the publication is one of the most amazing projects she’s seen the community do in her time in council.

The name Jirdarup means ‘place of birds’ in the local Noongar language, and it really is. The Friends of Jirdarup Bushland logo features a Forest Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo; their distinctive calls can be heard when walking through the precinct, flashes of red and orange never failing to take my breath away when I catch a glimpse of one. Noongar Elder, Emeritus Professor Simon Forrest said, “Jirdarup is a slice of what Australia was to its First Nations people…the acknowledgement in this publication is fantastic.”

At first you’ll see a gorgeous book, maybe you’ll flick through the pretty images … but then make sure you take the time to sit with it. Read the fascinating back story that’s not just about preserving a Bushland, but also a reflection of the deep connection between this unique piece of land and all the people who’ve shared in its journey.


Reviewed by Gabrielle Pither

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