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Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia
The Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia (previously known as the Shortland Wetlands Centre) is located 10 minutes drive from Newcastle, 1.5 hours north of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. This 45 hectare site was recognized as internationally important under the Ramsar Convention in 2002, and is also important for the conservation of 2 threatened species, the Freckled Duck and the Magpie Goose. 213 species of birds, in 49 families have been observed here.
 Notable Species
The HWCA has important habitat for the Magpie Goose, a rare species in NSW. This species is found across northern Australia, including western NSW, south-east South Australia and southern and western Victoria. Habitat loss and hunting of the geese caused extirpation in the Hunter Valley, but small numbers of the geese returned, and the HWCA began a re-introduction program in 1987 and the first successful breeding in the wild was in 1992.
HWCA is also important as being one of only four centres in Australia, where there is a captive breeding program for the Freckled Duck, which is listed as Vulnerable in NSW.
Birds you can see here include:
 Other Wildlife
Out of nine mammal species recorded at HWCA, only 3 are native Australian: Grey Headed Flying Fox, Little Red Flying Fox and Northern Brown Bandicoot. It is thought that this is due to the fairly small size of HWCA (45ha), and its proximity to an urban environment which has been highly developed in the last 40 years. Other mammals as follows: Water Rat, House Mouse, Black Rat, Brown Hare, European Rabbit, Red Fox.
 Site Information
 History and Use
The Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia, located between the towns of Shortland and Waratah West, was originally part of a much larger wetland, the Hexham Swamp complex. Prior to the 1980s these wetlands were filled and variously used as a rubbish dump, soccer and rugby fields, and also for railway construction, leaving only a few remnant patches of swamp. Eventually the playing fields and buildings were abandoned as unviable.
In the early 1980s a biological education and research centre was developed to study the 4 species of egrets which had established a breeding colony in the remnant wetland. Then after proposals to fill the remaining wetland and further develop the area, some local concerned citizens formed the Hunter Wetlands Group to protect the area. This later became the Hunter Wetlands Trust. In 1985 the land was purchased in the name of Shortland Wetlands Centre Ltd, with donations from BHP, Newcastle City Council and the NSW Bicentennial Council. The big clean-up and reconstruction of the wetlands began, with the help of local volunteers.
Over the next few years, with funding from local businesses and service clubs, much work was done to improve the site - walking trails, observation tower, boardwalks, picnic shelters, etc. Greening Australia (Hunter Valley) and the Australian Plant Society planted thousands of native trees and plants throughout the site.
In 2002 the site was listed as internationally important under the Ramsar Convention. Then in 2005, after several name changes over the years, the centre's name became Hunter Wetlands Centre Australia. In 2009, HWCA received an Award of Distinction for Ecotourism in the Hunter Region Tourism Awards.
 Areas of Interest
 Access and Facilities
 Contact Details
Content and images posted by HelenB
 External Links