The new design of Millers Pool aims to reflect the rich history of the site whilst recreating the habitat once used by local fauna. Prior to the redevelopment in 2016, Millers Pool was known as an important breeding ground for Black Bream (Acanthopagrus butcheri). The pool provided a sheltered environment for the juvenile fish, which could later leave the pool and enter the river via a piped connection under the foreshore. Preliminary project designs considered opening the pool to the Swan River. However, minimising the disturbance to the existing pool and fringing vegetation was considered a better outcome for the preservation of habitat, so the piped connection between Millers Pool and the Swan River has been retained in the redevelopment. This supports the Black Bream breeding cycle and maintains the tidal connection with the Swan River, which was important in re-establishing fringing vegetation.
A key component of the project is enhancing the habitat value of Millers Pool through the recreation of the Samphire flats on the periphery of the waterbody. Samphire (Sarcocornia) species were associated with the original pool prior to the filling that occurred in the 1950s. This fringing vegetation provides a source of food and habitat for a number of waterbird species that have returned to the area since construction has been completed, including the Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa), Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenegrosa), Little Egret (Egretta garzetta), and White Faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae). At times of high tide these Samphire flats fill with water, increasing the size of the waterbody. This larger size is designed to attract larger birds such as Black Swans (Cygnus atratus) that require longer take-off areas. The flats are engineered to drain with the lowering tides and not hold standing, shallow water to reduce opportunities for mosquito breeding.
The site’s cultural history is also celebrated through the landscape. The City of South Perth’s Aboriginal Reference Group worked collaboratively with an indigenous advisor for comment and approval of public art. The artworks, commissioned by the City and incorporated into the landscape by Ecoscape, reflect the indigenous cultural, contextual and geographical history of the site.
The European history of the site is also referenced though the creation of a stronger visual connection between the historic mill building and the pool. A rock spalled channel leads from the mill to a jetty viewing platform, recalling the canal that once connected the two when Millers Pool served as a loading dock for wheat and flour in the early days of the Perth colony.
The outcome is an intricate solution that both improves the habitat value of the site and reflects the site’s unique cultural history. The scheme has been adopted with enthusiasm by the local residents overlooking, the council and the wider community.
Environmental Design | Project Design & Administration | Environmental Planning | Parks & Playground Design | Foreshore Development | Wetlands & Waterways Management