More to see and learn at Wagga Wagga’s Marrambidya Wetland
Published: 12 Jul 2018 5:01pm
12 July 2018
Locals and visitors have new opportunities to experience nature, Wiradjuri culture and Wagga Wagga’s history at the purpose-built Marrambidya Wetland Welcome Hub and Cultural Experience.
Significant development works at Marrambidya Wetland were completed by Wagga Wagga City Council at the end of June and are now open for visitors to experience the wetlands and follow a self-guided tour every day of the year.
These new works augment the existing infrastructure Council developed at the 20-hectare site which includes visitor amenities, walking tracks, viewing platform, bird hides, a healing place and undercover education centre.
Minister for Tourism Adam Marshall welcomed the addition to the State’s tourism industry.
“Aboriginal tourism is a growing industry so fantastic initiatives like the Marrambidya Wetland project will add to the appeal of the Riverina as a regional tourism destination,” Mr Marshall said.
“Over the past three years NSW has recorded a 29 per cent increase in domestic overnight visitors and almost 67 per cent growth in international visitors taking part in Aboriginal cultural tourism experiences.
“More than 480,000 international and domestic overnight visitors participated in Aboriginal cultural tourism experiences in our State in the year ending December 2017, and we expect that to grow into the future so this project will benefit areas like the Riverina.”
Wagga Wagga City Council’s Visitor Economy & Events Coordinator, Fiona Hamilton said the Marrambidya Wetland project was developed by Council who provided matched funds to support a $90,000 grant from the Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) program, a Commonwealth-funded initiative administered by the NSW Government to support projects that can drive demand and increase local tourism expenditure.
“Local Wiradjuri Elders contributed their time and knowledge to help boost the Marrambidya Wetland site into a learning hub and leisure space for locals and visitors to the region.
“The stories of local Wiradjuri Elders Aunty Kath Withers, James Ingram and Wiradjuri man Mark Saddler relating to Wiradjuri history, the flora and fauna at the site, and its cultural significance can be heard at six storytelling stations installed throughout the wetland and along the adjoining Wiradjuri Track.
“The funding has allowed us to really improve the visitor experience to the wetland, we’ve installed seating, picnic tables, a water refill station, extra footpaths and a bicycle repair station because we know a lot of people like to cycle to Marrambidya.
“In addition, six largescale artworks by Aunty Kath Withers have been installed, creating a distinctive welcome experience along the walk from the carpark to the wetland entrance. Marrambidya holds a special place for Aunty Kath and we are thrilled to feature her works for visitors to enjoy.”
Aunty Kath Withers, who grew up around the wetland said it’s important for everyone to learn about Aboriginal culture as Australia’s first culture.
“I feel the spirits of Wiradjuri country welcoming our people, and the Marrambidya Wetland Welcome Hub & Cultural Experience will welcome all visitors and help them understand the significance of the area,” she said.
Located off Narrung Street, the wetland has links to the Wiradjuri Reserve, Wilks Park and the Riverside Precinct via the Wiradjuri Walking Track.
About the Marrambidya Wetland
The Marrambidya Wetland is a 20-hectare reserve located alongside the Murrumbidgee River only a few minutes from Wagga Wagga’s city centre. The name 'Marrambidya' was selected to reflect the importance of this site to the local Wiradjuri people and to acknowledge the traditional name of the Murrumbidgee River.
Transformed from the disused treatment ponds of the Narrung Street Sewage Treatment Plant, this site now provides habitat for migratory and non-migratory birds, water insects, frogs, fish, reptiles and mammals such as the locally threatened squirrel glider. The wetland is designed to replicate the natural water cycle with flooding during the winter months and dryer, low levels during summer.
This project was funded by the Wagga Wagga City Council and the Australian Government, and administered on behalf of the NSW Government by the NSW Department of Industry. Various elements in the project have been funded by Origin Energy through an ongoing partnership with Wagga Wagga City Council. The Federal Government’s Green Army program also contributed by planting about 22,000 seedlings.