Bushcare and biodiversity on the GreenWay

The GreenWay corridor and the private properties within the GreenWay catchment form an important refuge for native animals and native plants in this highly urbanised area of Sydney.


Many of the vegetation areas along the GreenWay are very small, degraded and infested with noxious and environmental weeds but have potential for enhancement and expansion to improve habitat.

Prior to European settlement, much of the landscape of inner-western Sydney was vegetated with Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest. This originally extended over 26,000 ha of Sydney. Less than 0.5% of Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest remains today, and it is now listed as a Threatened Ecological Community.

Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest consists of an open tree canopy of a variety of eucalypts, and a groundcover of mostly native grasses and herbs, sometimes with layers of shrubs and/or small trees. Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest typically occurs on areas with clay soils derived from Wianamatta Shale, or shale layers within Hawkesbury Sandstone.

Within the GreenWay catchment, Sydney Turpentine-Ironbark Forest once extended southwards to approximately where Dulwich Hill Primary School stands today. South of there, and along the Cooks River, the poorer, sandier soils supported a different suite of plants, including trees such as eucalypts and the Sydney Red Gum, a wide variety of shrubs and groundcovers.

Along the creeklines, including the present day Hawthorne Canal, plants that could tolerate waterlogged and saline soils including saltmarsh species would have existed, Revegetation and Bushcare projects along the GreenWay aim to bring back some of the vegetation that existed in the inner west of Sydney prior to European settlement. 


Around 239 different species of birds, 31 species of reptiles, 32 mammals, 10 species of frogs and 2 species of fish have been recorded in or around the GreenWay.

Many, but not all, of these animals are native to Australia. There are also a variety of insects, including moths and butterflies, living in the GreenWay catchment.

The small areas of remnant vegetation and associated weed infestations in the GreenWay already provide suitable habitat for some native fauna.

Species commonly recorded in the GreenWay include:|

  • The Superb-fairy Wren (Malurus cyanea)
  • Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis)
  • New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae)
  • Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus)
  • Common Garden Skink (Lampropholis guichenoti)
  • Eastern Blue Tongue Lizard (Tiliqua scincoides).

An endangered population of Long-nosed Bandicoots has also been discovered in the GreenWay.

While these species are all relatively common species throughout the broader landscape, in the Inner West some of these species are uncommon.

Threatened species

Threatened species that have been recorded in the GreenWay include:

  • Turquoise Parrot (Neophema pulchella)
  • Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua)
  • Masked Owl (Tyto novaehollandiae)
  • Regent Honeyeater (Xanthomyza Phrygia)
  • Superb Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus superbus)
  • Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus longirostris)
  • Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor)
  • Grey-headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus)
  • Eastern Bent-wing bat (Miniopterus schreibersii oceanensis), and
  • Long-nosed Bandicoot (Perameles nasuta)


Bushcare activities in the GreenWay are helping to re-establish the plants that would have grown in the GreenWay prior to the area being cleared for European settlement.

The bushcare program aims to improve the biodiversity, amenity and habitat value of the GreenWay along the entire length of the GreenWay corridor, linking the natural environments of the Cooks River and Iron Cove.

There are a number of natural areas along the length of the GreenWay where regular bushcare volunteer working bees are held, from Richard Murden Reserve in the north to Ewen Park in the south. Many of these areas were established by two community groups - the Inner West Environment Group (IWEG) and the Cooks River Mudcrabs. 

Current site and working bee details can be found at the following links:

Revegetation and Bushcare Plan

The 'GreenWay Revegetation & Bushcare Plan; Creating an indigenous flora and fauna corridor' has been developed with key stakeholders as part of the GreenWay Sustainability Project to confirm the role of current and new bushcare sites in the continued re-establishment of a biodiverse and sustainable GreenWay corridor and wider catchment.

Read the GreenWay Revegetation and Bushcare Plan (PDF 5.7MB).

Water catchment

The GreenWay has been developed to include the water catchments of Hawthorne Canal, which enters Sydney Harbour at Iron Cove, and the catchment of the minor drainage line entering the Cooks River near the Wardell Road bridge, as well as the distinct corridor rail and waterway.

The Cooks River and Iron Cove are the two main waterways in the region. The Cooks River located in Sydney’s South west, stretches from Yagoona and empties into the ocean at Botany Bay. The entire catchment has been modified from the natural setting since European settlement. Now almost the entire watershed is piped or channelled, shorelines filled in or rebuilt, surfaces hardened through construction of roads and pavement, and open space areas landscaped and planted with exotic species.

Iron Cove is part of the Parramatta River. Two tributaries, Dobroyd Canal (formally Iron Cove Creek) and Hawthorne Canal (formally Long Cove Creek), run into Iron Cove.

Sustainable Urban Water Management

Increasingly, local Councils are working with the State Government and their local communities to design and deliver sustainable urban water management practices.

Council has developed the following principles for sustainable urban water management: 

  • Reduce reliance on potable (drinking quality) water brought in from outside the catchment
  • Use water appropriately, i.e. use potable water for consumption only - not for watering the garden or flushing the toilet
  • Reduce the impact of stormwater on waterways
  • Reduce the amount of wastewater leaving a catchment which may cause pollution in other locations, e.g. ocean outfall

Cooks River Alliance

The Cooks River Alliance was launched in September 2011 by councils in the Cooks River Catchment. The Alliance employs a small but dedicated team with the aim of effectively addressing the complex problems of the Cooks River in the long term, whilst maximizing the efficient use of member councils’ limited resources. For more information visit the Cooks River Alliance website.

Biodiversity Strategy

The GreenWay corridor and the private properties within the GreenWay catchment form an important refuge for native animals and native plants in this highly urbanised area of Sydney.

You can read about biodiversity on the GreenWay in the documents below.

Flora/Fauna Literature Review

Read more about GreenWay flora and fauna in the Flora/Fauna Literature Review (PDF 1.1MB) 

GreenWay Revegetation/Bushcare Plan

This plan outlines existing bushcare sites, groups, methods, species and plans for future sites.

Read the GreenWay Revegetation and Bushcare Plan (PDF 5.7MB)

Biodiversity Strategy

The GreenWay Biodiversity Strategy outlines the objectives and actions for conserving and enhancing biodiversity. It covers the parks, public and private properties adjacent to the GreenWay and in the broader catchment area.

GreenWay Biodiversity Strategy - Part 1 (~~~DocAnnotation.type.9506~~~ ~~~DocAnnotation.size.9506~~~)
GreenWay Biodiversity Strategy - Part 2 (PDF 1.6MB)
GreenWay Biodiversity Strategy - Part 3 (PDF 2MB)
GreenWay Biodiversity Strategy - Part 4 (PDF 1.9MB)
GreenWay Biodiversity Strategy - Part 5 (PDF 1.9MB)
GreenWay Biodiversity Strategy - Part 6 (PDF 1.5MB)
GreenWay Biodiversity Strategy - Part 7 (PDF 1.7MB)
GreenWay Biodiversity Strategy - Part 8 (PDF 1.5MB)
GreenWay Biodiversity Strategy - Part 9 (PDF 1.2MB)
GreenWay Biodiversity Strategy - Part 10 (PDF 831.4KB)

Local species and contributing your records

The Atlas of NSW Wildlife database is another source of information on fauna and flora that covers the whole of NSW.

This database is managed by the Office of Environment and Heritage.

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Page last updated: 03 Jun 2022