About us


The story of the Washpool, as the intermittent/seasonal wetland is commonly known, is truly a remarkable tale with many chapters yet to be added to those already written. A vast number of well intentioned community activists, academics, council employees, councillors, politicians and indigenous stakeholders have, over the years, advocated for the conservation of the Washpool wetland and for its incorporation into a greater Aldinga Scrub conservation zone. With the eventual capitulation of the state government to veto the development of a marina at the site in the mid nineteen eighties, many thought it was only a matter of time before an inevitable consolidation of the wetland into a conservation precinct would be enacted. Alas, in 2017, some 30 years after that 'community victory' to prevent the development of a marina, not much has changed in terms of pro-active conservation for the Washpool. We are still mired in a bureaucratic 'going very slow' process to consolidate tenure for the areal extent of the wetland, a process one would expect, as a citizen in a vibrant democracy, to be something that could be progressed in a more timely fashion, to use the jargon of the age.

The latest community thrust to get some movement on this issue was prompted by a proposal by the Motor Cycle Association of SA to stage a re-enactment of the beach motor cycle races originally held on Sellicks Beach in the 1930's and thereafter for some decades. Originally planned to have some 10,000 spectators in attendance for a February 2017 event, local community members were concerned that the event would generate significant risks to environmental and cultural assets in the near vicinity to the Washpool, especially the pebble banks with their vegetation communities and an area of the Washpool catchment that was to be used for the parking of some 6000 vehicles. To that end, various submissions were made to the City of Onkaparinga Council to place conditions on the permit to conduct the event to mitigate the risks of these concerns.

This community activity in response to the MSA race proposal gave rise to the coming together of concerned citizens to form a group under the informal title of "the Aldinga Washpool and Silver Sands Heritage" committee (otherwise known as AWASSH). As an extension of the immediate concern regarding the proposed motor cycle races, this group formed the view that pro-active promotion of the Washpool and its environmental, ecological and cultural heritage values was timely and that the holding of a Community Forum and the development of a website dedicated to the Washpool would be useful vehicles to achieve these aims.

This website is an outcome from those deliberations - a grant application was made to the NRM Community Action Grants (2015-2016) to hold the Community Forum and to establish a website for the promotion of the objectives as stated above. Our sincere thanks to the NRM Board for making grant monies available for these initiatives.

The website hosts a number of documents and reports that are, in general, available either via searches on the web or in hard copy at the Aldinga Library. There are also a number of news-clippings and letters posted that have been collated over a period of time, largely by Chas Martin, one of the long term campaigners for proper recognition and management of the Washpool. There are many more such records held electronically by AWASSH and these can be made available for perusal on request. The vast number of such records made it necessary to pare down to relatively few to be posted to the site, just to keep it reasonably approachable - as it is, for those wanting to get a reasonable background to the Washpool 'saga', the records posted represents a considerable quantity of information, possibly more than most might be prepared to wade through. It is particularly haunting to read the record of the District Council of Willunga convened 1995 Washpool Forum and see all the sentiments and views and promises made at that time and to reflect that 1995 was some 22 years ago. May another 22 years not now proceed with nothing actually happening on the ground with respect to proper management of a natural and cultural asset of such local and regional value.