In 2013, Wetlands Environmental Taskforce (WET) in collaboration with Geelong Field & Game purchased 36 ha of wetland adjoining Hospital Swamps, located alongside Connewarre State Game Reserve between Geelong and Barwon Heads.
The wetland was constructed by its owner Tony Leen literally in his own backyard during the 1970s by creating a series of levees in the shape of a horseshoe which trap inflows from local drainage. Tony then built islands on the wetland bed, walking trails, and planted out the high ground and boundaries. You can see photos of these early works HERE.
Thirty years on, and this picturesque natural-looking wetland now attracts a myriad of waterfowl and other species, including brolgas, magpie geese, cape barren geese and many other more rarely seen species.
The wetland is now being maintained in perpetuity as part of Geelong Field & Game’s continuing conservation commitment to this State Game Reserve.
Bird observing groups from around Victoria are now regular visitors, with migratory waders a common interest for these groups in late summer.
Stage 1 of the development at the site involved completing the land purchase and relocating the former Marine Discovery Centre building in Queenscliff to the Lake Road site. The Connewarre Wetland Centre was officially opened on February 5, 2017. The building has become the headquarters of the centre and the permanent clubrooms of Geelong Field and Game. Further stages of work have involved landscaping, improvements to water management, visitor access opportunities and exploring the range of potential other uses.
Thanks to generous donations and supporters, the Connewarre Wetland Centre now fulfils a variety of uses for the entire community, including: