About Perry Lakes Reserve

The Town of Cambridge manages Perry Lakes Reserve which is located 7km west of Perth's CBD in the suburb of Floreat and covers an area of 80 hectares. It consists of a 57 hectare regional recreation reserve used as the venue for Perth's Annual Garden Show, a 13 hectare conservation wetland, which is a drought refuge for a range of fauna and 10 hectares for Alderbury Sportsground which caters for formal club sports including cricket and hockey.

Although not registered as an Aboriginal heritage site, the lakes themselves are considered to be significant to the Aboriginal people due to historical use as a fishing hole.

In its current form, the reserve dates from 1962 when the area was landscaped in association with the construction of Perry Lakes Stadium and associated sporting tracks and facilities for the 1962 Commonwealth Games. This stadium and other facilities are now relocated and the area will be redeveloped into housing.

Visitor Facilities

Visitors can enjoy easy access to the reserve, with suitable capacity for car parking. To enter the reserve use one of the three entrances to the internal car parks off Perry Lakes Drive, or Underwood Avenue via the entrance off Meagher Drive.

Visitors to the reserve can enjoy the following:

  • easy access to car parks;
  • public toilets open 5am to 8pm daily;
  • playgrounds with shade including a playground accessible to children of all abilities;
  • outdoor exercise equipment;
  • floodlit picnic areas including free push button electric barbecues, picnic tables, drink fountains and park seats;
  • internal recreation path network for bike riding, jogging and walking;
  • tree lined parklands providing shade and home for birds;
  • open parkland areas for kite flying/ball games; and
  • lake views and water bird interaction.


Although little is known of the Aboriginal history in this area, it's recognised the lakes were once used as fishing holes and hunting grounds for waterbirds, tortoises, snakes and fish. Since European settlement, the area has had several landowners. In the 1850s, Perry Lakes was used for stock watering by local land owners and drovers using the Geraldton-Fremantle stock route. It was purchased from Joseph Perry by the Perth City Council in 1917.

Drovers continued to use the lakes as the last watering point before Robbs Jetty up until the 1930s. These years of stock watering and the impact of urban development, resulted in degradation of the lakes. 

On the east side of Meagher Drive sporting tracks and facilities were constructed for the 1962 Commonwealth Games. It was at this time the lakes were dredged to permanently hold water. These facilities have now closed and the area will be turned into housing by the State Government.

Today, the main issue affecting the lakes is declining groundwater level and the consequent decline in lake levels due to changes in rainfall and the high-level of bore water usage in the surrounding suburbs.

Managing Perry Lakes Reserve

In 2001 the Town developed the "Perry Lakes Reserve Environmental Management Plan (EMP) 2001" including a Perry Lakes Reserve Implementation Program. Improvements at the reserve are undertaken in accordance with this program.

The EMP has identified the following management aims and objectives for the two lakes, the parkland and the sportsground surrounding the lakes.   

Lake Level Management

To maintain permanent water in Perry Lakes taking into consideration aesthetic, ecological, aboriginal and hydrological issues.    


  • to investigate and assess feasible economic and engineering management options for the maintenance of lake levels at Perry Lakes Reserve. 

Perry Lakes Reserve lies in an inter-dunal depression on the Spearwood Dune System. The surface sediments of the Spearwood Dune System are probably underlain by leached yellow sands of the Tamala Limestone. These sediments may yield large quantities of high-quality groundwater. They often have a high capacity to absorb some contaminants, particularly phosphorus.

The reserve lies on the southern boundary of the Gnangara Mound, a ground water mound that plays a significant role in the supply of Perth's water. When the water table is higher than the water level in the lakes, groundwater will discharge into the lakes. When the water level in the lakes is higher than the water table, water will be discharged from the lakes to the groundwater system.

There are some storm water drains that empty into both the west and the east lake, however they don't assist in maintaining sufficient water levels, particularly in summer.

 In 2007 the Town identified that artificially topping up the water level of the west lake with ground water isn't sustainable so the practice was stopped. The water level of this lake now isn't at a level where it can be seen even in winter.

The Town has decided to continue to supplement the lake water level of the east lake at this stage, whilst investigating other options, so some fauna can be accommodated. If the east lake wasn't artificially topped up, the water level would reduce to a point where you couldn't see it.

In conjunction with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) the Town is investigating opportunities of using treated waste water to infiltrate the ground water, adjacent to the lakes, with the aim of raising the ground water level and hence the lakes water levels.

Fertilisation of Alderbury Street Reserve is kept to a minimum whilst Perry Lakes Reserve isn't fertilised, to reduce the amount of nutrient input to the lakes.  

Water Quality Management

To monitor and maintain the quality of water within Perry Lakes.      


  • minimise the input of nutrients and other contaminants to the lakes;
  • understand the effects of artificial water maintenance on the build-up of nutrients in the water column; and
  • maintain acceptable levels of bacterial contamination in the lakes.

Turf Management

To manage the turfed areas at Perry Lakes Reserve and Alderbury Sportsground in an appropriate manner, (dependent on  usage), with  minimal impact on thelakes and surrounding natural landscape.


  • to establish an automatic irrigation system for Perry Lakes Reserve, followed by Alderbury Sportsground;
  • to investigate the option of transforming several areas into native vegetation areas;
  • to improve the management of turf in high use areas;
  • to reduce the amount of water used for irrigation purposes;
  • to continue the current practice of minimal fertiliser applications on Alderbury Street Reserve;
  • to continue the current practice of no fertiliser application on Perry Lakes Reserve, excluding a small section in the Garden Week area; and
  • to assess the possibility of utilising treated wastewater for irrigation purposes.

Flora and Fauna Management

To maintain and enhance the biological communities of the lakes and the surrounding area by reducing impacts and carrying our sound conservation management practices.


  • control introduced flora species, especially water reeds such as Typha spp. and prevent the further introduction of weed species;
  • ensure the survival and general condition of the vegetation, with particular attention given to establishing flooded gums;
  • reduce the impacts of introduced or nuisance fauna species, both wild and domestic;
  • prohibit the public feeding of waterbirds; and
  • ensure the survival of the turtle population.


Complete clearing of the lake surrounds occurred in 1962. Little is known of the original vegetation although aerial photographs prior to 1962 reveal there were paperbarks, sedges and reeds. Today, very few aquatic species exist. Surrounding vegetation includes Umbrella sedge (Cyperus eragrostis), Club Rush (Cyperus validus) and Bulrush (Typha domingensis). Algae grows in the lakes and algal blooms can occur during the summer months when water levels are low and nutrient content high.

Works in relation to the Town's Perry Lakes Reserve Weed Management Plan 2007 have commenced with the progressive replacement of the exotic poplar and weeping willow trees. Weeds compete with native plant species for space and moisture, and don't usually provide suitable habitat or food resources for native fauna.


Perry Lakes has in excess of twenty species of waterbirds, including approximately six breeding species. An important characteristic of the lakes is the broad, marshy areas that exist as this type of habitat is scarce in the wetlands of Perth. The marshy areas are particularly favoured by the Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) whose numbers are found in abundance at the lakes.

Others birds that can be observed at the lakes include the Black Swan (Cygnus atratus), Ducks, Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus), Little Pied Cormorant (Phalacrocorax melanoleucos), Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa) and the Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra).

Frogs found at the lake include the Pobble-bonk Frog (Lymnodynastes dorsalis), Heleioporus eyrei, Crinia insignifera and Litoria adelaidensis. The exotic Mosquito Fish (Gambusia affinus) is also present.

A large population of Western Long-necked Tortoises (Chelodina oblonga) inhabit the Lakes. As tortoises feed on midges and green algae, they can help to keep these nuisance species in check.

To assist the tortoises during the breeding season, the lakes shores have been modified to provide natural banks with gentle slopes to facilitate movement of the females who leave the water in search of somewhere to nest.

To improve fauna habitats a rehabilitation program will be undertaken within the lakes as part of the Environmental Management Plan

Tree Management

To ensure safety of the public and to retain, conserve and enhance the significance of the parkland by the implementation of sound arboricultural practices.


  • to ensure public safety by conducting remedial works focused on priority zones;
  • to retain, conserve and enhance the high vegetation of the parkland; and
  • to maintain the native species with naturally occur within the area and to refrain from the planting of introduced tree species.

One of the reserve attributes is the numerous trees growing around the reserve. Species include Monterey Pine (Pinus radiata), West Australian Willow Myrtle (Agonis flexuosa) and Italian Poplar (Populus nigra). There are also numerous remnant indigenous mature trees in the reserve including, Eucalyptus rudis, (river gum), Eucalyptus marginata (jarrah) and Eucalyptus gomphocephala (tuart).

The Town has an annual tree maintenance program for the reserves remnant trees to ensure their long term viability and the safety of visitors.

Facilities Management

To maintain and enhance the facilities available at Perry Lakes Reserve and ensure the safety and enjoyment of the general public.


  • to ensure that the toilet facilities are kept clean, safe and unlocked;
  • to ensure that all existing and any new playground equipment are upgraded/constructed in accordance with the relevant Australian Standards;
  • to install additional electric barbecues and replace old wood barbecues with electric ones;
  • to address the issue of litter, the need for more bins and the most appropriate design of bins;
  • to address the need for path rationalisation, including the inclusion of a bicycle path and better access for prams and wheelchairs;
  • to remove unsightly and dangerous piping and install an automatic irrigation system;
  • to install drinking fountains along paths and near playground equipment; and
  • to consider the construction of a food/drink outlet within the reserve.

Infrastructure assets within the reserve are managed and upgraded in accordance with the Perry Lakes Reserve Implementation Program to provide and enhance safe and suitable access for all reserve users and manage environmentally friendly recreation opportunities that are compatible with the long term integrity of Perry Lakes Reserve's values.

Reserve Access Management

To ensure safe and easy access to Perry Lakes Reserve for all people and all forms of transport.


  • to reduce vehicular access to the reserve;
  • to limit parking areas to specific locations within the reserve;
  • to improve access to paths for wheelchairs and prams;
  • to ensure visitors stay on the designated paths; and
  • to develop paths for cycling.

Education and Interpretation Management

To encourage the use of Perry Lakes Reserve as an educational and scientific resource for wetland conservation and to promote its importance to the community.


  • encourage local primary and secondary schools to utilise Perry Lakes and an environmental education resource;
  • increase the understanding of the general public about the history of the lakes, their flora and fauna, how they interact with the groundwater system along with general issues of wetland conservation; and
  • utilise work from the 'Perry Lakes Wetlands Laboratory' to obtain information relevant to the hydrology or other aspects of the lakes.

Safety/Security Management

To ensure the safety and security of the people who make use of Perry Lakes Reserve.


  • to deter inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour within the reserve, particularly in the vicinity of the toilet facilities;
  • to prevent or at least lower the number of car break-ins; and
  • to ensure the safety of the users of Perry Lakes Reserve.    

Visual Resource Management

To protect and enhance the character and landscape amenity of the Perry Lakes Reserve. 


  • prevent the slow degradation of the informal and "naturalesque" character of the reserve; and
  • maintain a distinctive character in the reserve. Avoid the introduction of inappropriate 'urban' elements.

How you can help

Community support is vital in protecting Perry Lakes Reserve. Here are some ways you can help preserve this unique wetland environment:

  • for the sake of their health, please don't feed the birds and tortoises;
  • keep dogs on a leash and clean up after them;
  • place rubbish in the bins provided;
  • keep to the designated paths and lawn areas only;
  • contact us to report vandalism or antisocial behaviour to the ranger;
  • don't release unwanted domestic fowl or fish at the reserve;
  • join the Perry Lakes Reserve Working Group or attend their meetings. Contact us for further details; and
  • learn about and appreciate the sights and sounds of this important environmental resource.

Further Reading

The management plan and other studies of the reserve are available for download below:


   Perry Lakes Reserve Environmental Management Plan 2001. (8.5mb)


   Perry Lakes Reserve Weed Management Plan 2007. (9.09mb)

Last Updated: 18/11/2015