Yellagonga Regional Park was named in 1990 to honour Yellagonga, the leader of the Mooro people who inhabited the region north of the Swan River at the time of colonial settlement. The Park is approximately 13 kilometres long and contains numerous activities to keep both young and old entertained. It contains several lakes and wetlands which are part of a larger chain of water bodies which stretch from north of the park south to Cockburn. A local community group, ‘Friends of Yellagonga Park’ regularly clean and rehabilitate areas of the site.
The Park is of cultural significance to the Nyoongar community, forming part of their Dreaming. Their ancestors used the lakes and surrounds as camping, social and ceremonial areas, and as a source of food and water. In the seasonal cycle of camp movements, the Park was used as rest point between the foothills and the ocean, and between Mt Eliza and the Moore River. The Park has a diverse history of use since colonial settlement, as the moist soils and ready availability of ground water attracted market gardeners and viticulturists to the area.
The dominant landscape feature of the Park is the wetland system, which includes Lake Joondalup, Lake Goollelal, Beenyup Swamps and Walluburnup Swamp.
Along the western shores are substantial areas of mature Jarrah, Marri, Banksia woodland and Jarrah, Marri, Tuart forest, vegetation communities which were once widespread on the Swan Coastal Plain. The diversity of habitats caters for a variety of waterbirds, bushbirds and other wildlife.
Yellagonga Regional Park is an easy 30 minutes from the Perth CBD by car. The park is also serviced by five train stations on the Joondalup line; Greenwood, Edgewater, Currambine, Joondalup and Whitfords. Of these, the safest and most pleasant route to the Park is accessible from Greenwood.
Walking and Cycling Trails
There are two dual use paths which loop through the park, providing visitors with vistas over the lake and taking in some of the parks interesting historical features.
The Lake Goollelal Loop takes you on a circuit around Lake Goollelal in the park’s south. The circuit takes in the historic sites of Wesleyan Mission Farm and the Luisinbi winery, stands of tuart, jarrah, marri, and paperbark, children’s playgrounds and rest stops. Keep your eyes peeled for the area’s fauna, including many wrens and waterfowl, freshwater turtles and the native water rat. Distance: 4.3km Time: Allow1 hour (walking). Class: Easy.
The Lake Joondalup Circuit follows a route around Lake Joondalup in the park’s north. The circuit takes you past stands of zamia palms, jarrah, marri, flooded gums, sheoaks and banksias. Wildlife to be observed include tiger snakes and dugites, kangaroos, fresh water turtles, as well as numerous waterfowl. The loop also takes in children’s playgrounds, the local golf course, a boardwalk and observation tower, as well as the historic site of Neil Hawkins Park and panoramic lake views. Distance: 16km Time: Allow 4 hours (walking). Class: Medium
The Park has a number of sites of historical importance. When walking through the park keep an eye out for sites such as Perry’s Paddock, named after Jack Perry who bred racehorses here at the turn of the 20th century. The paddock was a popular venue for big sports, horse races and picnic days. Limestone ruins on the site include a two-storey shed and single room attached cottage that has been restored. Cockman House was built for settler James Cockman around 1870, and it is the oldest residence in Wanneroo. The Luisini Winery, built in 1929, provides an example of the early wine industry that reflects predominantly agricultural land use in the area prior to urban expansion. This was once one of the largest wineries in the southern hemisphere. Neil Hawkins Park was once part of a stock route that was pioneered in 1854 and passed along the western side of Lake Joondalup. Quarry Ramble Lookout takes the visitor past the site where during the 1920’s limestone was quarried for building and road construction, as well as improving soil quality for agriculture. The Wesleyan Mission Farm established by the Reverend John Smithies was built on the eastern shore of Lake Goollelal in 1844, with the aim of encouraging Aboriginal people to learn agricultural skills. There is no physical evidence remaining of the farm but the site is marked by a bronze plaque. There are also numerous foundations and remnants of buildings scattered throughout the park to discover.