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European and Aboriginal heritage recognised in rare freshwater lake

Aug 03, 2017

Image of Lake Richmond

  • Lake Richmond, Rockingham is a freshwater lake important to the Aboriginal people and early European pioneers
  • The lake is home to rare and critically endangered Thrombolites
  • Permanent heritage listing will protect lake for the future

A Rockingham lake that is home to one of the oldest living organisms on earth has been heritage-listed for its cultural significance to Aboriginal people and European settlers.

The 4,000-year-old lake contains the very rare and critically endangered Thrombolites, rock-like organo sedimentary structures that are formed by the precipitation of a particular form of calcium carbonate found in the lake water.

The Lake Richmond Thrombolites have a unique internal structure that is not known to occur anywhere else in the world. Along with Stromatolites, they represent the oldest living organism on earth.

Lake Richmond is an important ceremonial and mythological site for the Noongar people who believe that the dreamtime serpent Wagyl created water bodies like this through its movement across the lands.

As a rare deep freshwater lake less than a kilometre from the ocean, it provided an important source of fresh water and food for early European settlers who first came to the Rockingham area in 1829.

The lake has been continuously used as a recreational and educational destination since the 1960s.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“While Lake Richmond is a natural phenomenon in its own right, its existence as a rare source of fresh water for our ancestors cements its place in the story of WA’s development.

“As the local member I’m delighted that Rockingham is home to beautiful places like Lake Richmond and I’m pleased that its now future-proofed for the WA community to appreciate.”

Comments attributed to Heritage Minister David Templeman:

“Over tens of thousands of years, it became an important cultural site for Aboriginal people, helped Rockingham’s early pioneering families survive in the new settlement, and today is a focal point for community recreation, education and nature enthusiasts.

“The permanent heritage-listing of Lake Richmond illustrates the breadth of places included in the State Register that represent Western Australia’s unique history.”

Read the Register Entry and Assessment Documentation for Lake Richmond.
inHerit - an online portal for heritage listings

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