OLDYalgorup NP and Thrombolites

Yalgorup Lakes (including Lake Clifton)

The Yalgorup Lakes System is listed and protected under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands as a “Wetland of International Importance” – this puts Yalgorup into the same category as places such as Kakadu.

The Convention on Wetlands, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971, is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 154 Contracting Parties to the Convention, with 1674 wetland sites, totaling 150 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

“The Convention’s mission is the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local, regional and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world” (Ramsar COP8, 2002).

The lakes are home to thrombolites – one of the earliest known life on Earth. One of the by products of their life cycle is oxygen and over millions of years they created an atmospere which enabled higher life forms to develop.

Living thrombolites, fed by calcium carbonate from the fresh-water aquifer, are found on the eastern shore of Lake Clifton and fossilized microbialites are found on the shores of other lakes in the Yalgorup system

There is only one other place in the world where thrombolites exist in water less salty than the ocean.

The Ramsar wetlands of the Yalgorup Lakes System are also the breeding, moulting and feeding grounds for thousands of endemic and migratory birds each year.

The migratory birds eat to put on weight to enable them to make the long flight to the northern hemisphere where they breed. Without this crucial part of their life cycle they would have insufficient energy for their long, grueling flight to their breeding sites and would die en route.

Just a few of those who feed each year before migrating north to breed are:

  • Greater Sand Plover
  • Red-necked Stints
  • Common Greenshanks
  • Grey Plovers
  • Curlew Sandpipers

Indigenous varieties come to Yalgorup every year to feed and breed. These include

Black Swans, Australian Shelducks, Banded Stilts, Red-capped plovers, Crakes,
Australian Crakes, Australian Reed-Warblers, Pacific Black Ducks and Hooded Plovers.

Hooded Plovers are a globally threatened species, which breed along the shores of most of the lakes.

Over 60 different varieties of birds were recorded in and around the Lakes in one year and some recent counts have identified:

  • 15,500 redneck stints on Lake Preston alone in 1999
  • 18,000 red-billed stilts on the Yalgorup Lakes in 2003
  • 2,200 Musk ducks which use these lakes as drought refuge
  • 11,000 shelducks on Lake Clifton

Yalgorup National Park

Yalgorup is a 12,888 hectare national park situated between Mandurah and Bunbury – a narrow coastal strip of land that includes Lake Clifton and Lake Preston and seven other minor lakes.


Flora includes coastal heaths, tuart woodlands, paperbark swamps, mixed eucalypt woodlands and sedge swamps.

Fauna within the park includes Grey Kangaroo, Brush Wallaby, emus, Whistling Kite, Horny Grebe, Black Swan, Rock Parrot, Sacred Kingfisher, Red Kneed Dotterel, Red Capped Dotterel and Hooded Dotterel.

For more information, visit the CALM webpage for Yalgorup National Park