Washpool Creek Naturalisation (Stage 1 & 2 completed)

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The Washpool Creek Naturalisation is an exciting and innovative project which has delivered an integrated public open space that balances its technical stormwater drainage function whilst also delivering significant water quality, ecological and environmental benefits.

Between Ford St and Bundaberg Creek, the Washpool Creek corridor was comprised of a concrete channel (at the end of its serviceable life) and large open grassed areas with sparse mature trees.

The site had been heavily modified and altered from the creek’s natural state due to urbanisation and there were limited facilities to attract public use of the area.

The project involved replacing the existing concrete channel and returning the Washpool Creek corridor back to a natural state.

Returning the creek back to a natural state will provide significant stormwater quality improvements for runoff entering the sensitive receiving waters of both Bundaberg Creek and Baldwin Swamp Environmental Park.

It involved the creation of a green, shaded and ecologically focused space, highly activated and connected to some of the city’s major public open spaces, including Lake Ellen playground and Baldwin Swamp Environmental Park.

Additionally, the project has created an attractive and usable recreational space for residents by providing several new footpath connections, park facilities, waterway crossings, additional trees for shade and grassed open spaces for active play.

As an active and connected place, the Washpool Creek corridor is now a pleasant place to walk, run, play, and explore.

A rehabilitated, reconnected, and revitalised Washpool Creek will play a vitally important role in delivering Council’s vision, “building Australia’s best regional community”.

The project was jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Government’s through the Local Economic Recovery Program (LER), to help drive the economic recovery of Queensland communities impacted by the 2019 bushfires.

Project objectives:

  1. To transform the Washpool Creek corridor into a resilient, integrated open space which delivers a function for stormwater drainage, stormwater quality, environmental and ecological needs, and active transport and public open space needs;
  2. To reinstate ecological biodiversity and habitat connections along and across the site;
  3. To treat urban runoff in several ways by encouraging runoff to interact with and be filtered by the natural systems;
  4. To re-establish a hydraulic connection between Washpool Creek and Baldwin Swamp;
  5. To increase moisture availability, plant growth, and shade to create an attractive and cool environment;
  6. To provide an active transport network through shared connections that will activate, encourage, and promote use of the area and provide access to key public precincts;
  7. To provide a diverse ecosystem that is able to adapt to climatic and hydrologic extreme events through growth and recovery which requires limited maintenance by Council throughout the life of the system.


Washpool Creek - Before Naturalisation (circa 2020)

Washpool Creek - After Naturalisation (2024)



The Washpool Creek Naturalisation is an exciting and innovative project which has delivered an integrated public open space that balances its technical stormwater drainage function whilst also delivering significant water quality, ecological and environmental benefits.

Between Ford St and Bundaberg Creek, the Washpool Creek corridor was comprised of a concrete channel (at the end of its serviceable life) and large open grassed areas with sparse mature trees.

The site had been heavily modified and altered from the creek’s natural state due to urbanisation and there were limited facilities to attract public use of the area.

The project involved replacing the existing concrete channel and returning the Washpool Creek corridor back to a natural state.

Returning the creek back to a natural state will provide significant stormwater quality improvements for runoff entering the sensitive receiving waters of both Bundaberg Creek and Baldwin Swamp Environmental Park.

It involved the creation of a green, shaded and ecologically focused space, highly activated and connected to some of the city’s major public open spaces, including Lake Ellen playground and Baldwin Swamp Environmental Park.

Additionally, the project has created an attractive and usable recreational space for residents by providing several new footpath connections, park facilities, waterway crossings, additional trees for shade and grassed open spaces for active play.

As an active and connected place, the Washpool Creek corridor is now a pleasant place to walk, run, play, and explore.

A rehabilitated, reconnected, and revitalised Washpool Creek will play a vitally important role in delivering Council’s vision, “building Australia’s best regional community”.

The project was jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Government’s through the Local Economic Recovery Program (LER), to help drive the economic recovery of Queensland communities impacted by the 2019 bushfires.

Project objectives:

  1. To transform the Washpool Creek corridor into a resilient, integrated open space which delivers a function for stormwater drainage, stormwater quality, environmental and ecological needs, and active transport and public open space needs;
  2. To reinstate ecological biodiversity and habitat connections along and across the site;
  3. To treat urban runoff in several ways by encouraging runoff to interact with and be filtered by the natural systems;
  4. To re-establish a hydraulic connection between Washpool Creek and Baldwin Swamp;
  5. To increase moisture availability, plant growth, and shade to create an attractive and cool environment;
  6. To provide an active transport network through shared connections that will activate, encourage, and promote use of the area and provide access to key public precincts;
  7. To provide a diverse ecosystem that is able to adapt to climatic and hydrologic extreme events through growth and recovery which requires limited maintenance by Council throughout the life of the system.


Washpool Creek - Before Naturalisation (circa 2020)

Washpool Creek - After Naturalisation (2024)



  • Students, Council collaborate on environmental project

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    Students at St John's Lutheran Primary School were recently given the opportunity to collaborate with Bundaberg Regional Council on an environmental project.

    Council's Washpool Creek Naturalisation project team engaged with the Grade 6 class to collaboratively discuss how they would like to use the Washpool Creek corridor space, develop design ideas and learn about the benefits of green infrastructure.

    Between Ford Street and Bundaberg Creek, the Washpool Creek corridor is currently comprised of a concrete channel and large open grassed areas with sparse mature trees.

    The innovative project will deliver an integrated public open space that balances its technical stormwater drainage function while also delivering significant water quality, ecological and environmental benefits.

    Council's senior engineer program management officer Tim Fichera said collaborating with students on the project provided Council with a fresh insight.

    “It's important to understand how the younger generation want to use this space so we can provide the appropriate facilities to attract the public,” he said.

    “It's also important to educate the younger generation on the value of green infrastructure and how it can help restore biodiversity and ecology in Washpool Creek.”

    St. John's teacher Aaron Bakker said 27 students were involved in the workshop and were excited to take part in “life worthy” learning.

    “The benefits of students participating in a project like this is that they get to be exposed to a variety of professionals in the community that are solving real-world issues,” he said.

    “It allowed them to have input into the design of a space that is relevant to them and our school community.

    “This makes their learning have more meaning and engaging for the students because they can see a reason and the application of their skills in new contexts.”

    To find out more about the Washpool Creek Naturalisation Project click here.

    Read the full Bundaberg Now story here.

  • Washpool Creek podcast

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    Bundaberg Now produced a podcast on the Washpool Creek corridor naturalisation project during Council's visit to St John's Lutheran Primary School. You can listen to the podcast here.

  • Residents invited to Washpool Creek drop-in sessions

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    Residents are invited to Design Your Creek drop-in sessions this Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, as work progresses to return the Washpool Creek corridor into a thriving waterway that will also become an attractive, usable recreation space.

    Washpool Creek, which runs from Ford Street and into the Lake Ellen Heritage Hub area before meeting with Bundaberg Creek, was once a natural creek with a diverse ecosystem.

    Today, it’s a concrete drain that offers little community or environmental value.

    Bundaberg Regional Council environment portfolio spokesperson Cr Wayne Honor said the Washpool Creek Naturalisation project would see the area restored.

    The innovative project will improve the quality of stormwater, providing environmental benefits, but also provides the opportunity to create a green and welcoming recreation area with increased interaction with nature.

    “This project is not your regular drainage upgrade,” Cr Honor said.

    “The Washpool Creek drainage corridor represents a significant area of land in the heart of Bundaberg that could be far better utilised by the community than simply set aside for drainage.

    “While the creek’s ability to adequately divert and direct stormwater will still be the primary objective of the project, we want to work with the community to also create a space that will be enjoyed by all.”

    Cr Honor said the Washpool Design Your Creek drop-in sessions would be interactive information days and would provide an opportunity for residents to share local knowledge.

    “People can come along, view large maps of the creek area to understand its extent and look through examples of what this area could become.

    “We’re also interested to hear first-hand accounts of how the area responds to wet conditions to use this local knowledge as part of our planning.

    “In terms of the future recreational use of the area residents will have an opportunity to help us prioritise the inclusions of the updated space.”

    Attend a Design Your Creek drop-in session between 3 pm and 5 pm on Friday 21 May or 8 am and 11 am on Saturday 22 May.

    The Washpool Creek drop-in sessions can be accessed via Baldwin Swamp or the Lake Ellen playground carpark

    For anyone unable to make the drop-in sessions, feedback can also be provided online at ourbundabergregion.com.au.

    Construction of the Washpool Creek Naturalisation project is expected to commence in early 2022 and is estimated to take about five months to construct, subject to weather.

    The Washpool Creek Naturalisation project is jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Government’s through the Local Economic Recovery Program.

    Read the Bundaberg Now story here.

Page last updated: 11 Jun 2024, 09:58 AM