Toolibin Lake is a seasonal wetland located within the Upper Blackwood River catchment, 200 km south east of Perth. It occurs within a low rainfall area of the Wheatbelt and only contains water at certain times.

The wetland provides important habitat for a large number of waterbirds such as the freckled duck, great egret and yellow-billed spoonbills. It is also very important as the largest healthy remaining example of a freshwater wetland with extensive woodlands of living swamp sheoak (Casuarina obesa) and paperbark (Melaleuca strobophylla) across the wetland floor. When the lake contains water, this vegetation is partly underwater.

This type of wetland used to be common throughout the Wheatbelt but most have now become saline and the type of wetland vegetation that occurs at Toolibin Lake has all but disappeared.


The type of wetland vegetation that occurs at Toolibin Lake has been reduced in extent by at least 90 percent due to a number of threats. The main threats to the health of the vegetation that occurs in these valley floor wetlands in the Wheatbelt is increased soil waterlogging, and increased salinity from rising groundwater and surface water flows. A lot of effort has already gone into stopping saline water from reaching the wetland floor. Pumps remove saline ground water and a diversion channel and inflow structures only allow fresh water to reach the wetland floor. Other threats include weed invasion and grazing by sheep.
“Photographing Toolibin Lake gave me a great sense of isolation and solitude. After days of shooting the area I would find myself fixating on the smallest of things – the shifting light, a particular pattern on a flower, the way the light flickered through the trees. I worked with the harshness of the area to portray its beauty.”
Tim Swallow – Photographer