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Serpentine Falls National Park

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Serpentine Falls National Park - Cities, Towns and Localities
Serpentine Falls National Park is about 35 minutes drive east of Mandurah and 26 km south of Armadale. Best known for the waterfall that cascades over a sheer granite face, the national park is filled with scenic ancient landforms and verdant forest, and sits on the Darling Scarp.

The scarp is at the western edge of a huge ancient plateau, the foundation of much of the south-western part of Australia. Composed mainly of granite, with dolerite, gneisses and quartzites that is upward of 2,500 million years old. An overlying capping of laterite rock was formed about 10 million years ago, when conditions were wetter and more humid, leaching minerals from the soil to form a hard, insoluble crust.
 

Set in a natural cleft at the foot of the scarp, the current 4,300 hectare park stretches up the steep slopes of the Serpentine River Valley, past a sheer face of granite, that has been polished smooth by the rushing waters. In winter the white waters of the Serpentine River cascade into a swirling, rock-rimmed pool below. It is the Serpentine Falls that has been the focal point of by early European settlers, who came to swim, picnic and enjoy a bush outing.

Aboriginal History
Long before the arrival of the Europeans, the Nyoongar Aborigines of the Whadjuk and probably the Bindjareb tribes hunted and camped in the woodlands regions that lay between what is now Perth and Pinjarra. It was the Nyoongars of the south-west who used fire sticks to burn parts of the forest, and over thousands of years, the scrub fires created some areas of open forest and grassland.

The Serpentine River, the surrounding hills and wetlands of the coastal plains, provided the Nyoongar with fresh water and food, including fish, tortoises, lizards and birds. Fish traps were constructed on the river, downstream from the falls and where it flows through a chain of small lakes, on its journey to the Peel Inlet. With the start of the winter rains, tribal groups from the north, east and south, would gather near Barragup to catch the fish that were driven downstream by the fast flowing waters.

Many of the streams flowing off the scarp supported family groups during different seasons of the year. The two streams that flow into the Serpentine above the falls were named Carralong and Gooralong, and an area between them, later to be known as Spencer’s Flats, was reputed to have been used for corroborees.

European History
First discovered by Europeans two months after the Swan River Settlement was established in July 1829, the Serpentine River and surround area attracted those seeking land, timber and precious metals, such as gold and silver. There is doubt about whether the reported gold strike was genuine, but the remains of several mine shafts can still be seen in the park.

By the 1890s, so much land had been cleared for farming, cut for timber or mined, that people began to realise that the native flora and fauna was disappearing. In 1894, the state’s first reserve for flora and fauna was proclaimed - 160,000 hectares between Pinjarra, North Dandalup and Bannister. The demand for timber pushed to reduce this area, and the reserve was subsequently cancelled in 1911. It was noted, however, that the falls, which were placed in a reserve for public recreation, were visited by ‘trainloads of excursionists... every flower season’ and needed some management presence to protect them from overuse. Over the years, various blocks of land were reserved and in 1957, they were all vested together and renamed ‘Serpentine National Park’.

There is no record who named Serpentine River, but it was first recorded by Captain Mark Currie in 1892, although the name first appeared on a map published by the Royal Geographic al Society in 1832. The park is named after the river.

Open daily, there is an entry fee per car.

Source: NatureBase, Department of Conservation and Land Management
- now the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC)

In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information. You can also contact the local DEC office.

Information Centre

DEC - Jarrahdale Local Office

Serpentine Jarrahdale Tourist Information Centre

 

MSN Map of Serpentine National Park, Western Australia
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Serpentine Falls National Park Attractions

Serpentine Falls
A wonderful location for a day trip, with picnic grounds set in natural surroundings with some great bird life as company. The falls are located about 400 metres from the picnic ground, although there is a car park that is closer.

Although you can swim in the top water hole in front of the falls, there are signs warning of the dangers for those intending to swim.
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Serpentine Falls National Park Other Links

• Serpentine Falls National Park Community/Local Government Links
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