Swan-Canning River System

he Swan and Canning rivers are the main waterways through Perth, the capital of Western Australia. At Walyunga National Park, 67 kilometres from the river mouth, the Avon River changes its name to the Swan River. Together, the Swan-Avon River is 280 kilometres long and flows from near Wickepin to the Indian Ocean at Fremantle.

The Avon River’s main tributaries are the Mortlock, Yilgarn and Lockhart rivers. The Swan River’s main tributary is the Canning River, which flows from the Darling Range about 10 kilometres north-east of North Bannister and enters the Swan River at Melville Water between the suburbs of South Perth and Applecross.

The Swan River mouth was enlarged in 1895, which allowed a greater amount of marine water to enter the river system. As a result, the lower reaches of the Swan River, and the Canning River up to the Kent Street are an estuary.

The rivers are under stress from continued natural and man-made pressures. The Trust works closely with the Department of Environment and the community to address some of these threats through a range of environmental programs, but everyone in the community needs to help.

Detailed River Science publications focus on many aspects of river health and are designed for secondary and tertiary students, catchment groups and interested members of the public. Report cards indicate catchment and river health. Algal alerts are issued when potentially harmful algal blooms occur in the rivers. Any alerts are also featured in the weekly Algae Activity Report that is based on the water sampling information. A detailed history of the river system is located in the comprehensive Landscape Description which is available under the Resources and publications section of this site.