Helena River

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The Helena River at Mundaring Weir. The building on the right is the original Number 1 pump station for the Goldfields Pipeline. Mundaring Weir SMC4.jpg
The Helena River at Mundaring Weir. The building on the right is the original Number 1 pump station for the Goldfields Pipeline.

The Helena River is a tributary of the Swan River in Western Australia. The river rises in country east of Mount Dale and flows north-west to Mundaring Weir, where it is dammed. It then flows west until it reaches the Darling Scarp.

Swan River (Western Australia) river in Western Australia

The Swan River is a river in the south west of Western Australia. Its Aboriginal Noongar name is the Derbarl Yerrigan. The river runs through the metropolitan area of Perth, Western Australia's capital and largest city.

Mount Dale mountain in Australia

Mount Dale is a mountain in Western Australia about 25 km east of Armadale in the Shire of Beverley. At 546 m high, it is one of the highest points in the Darling Scarp.

Contents

It passes through the western edge of the Darling Scarp between Gooseberry Hill, and Greenmount Hill before joining the Swan River at the southern edge of the historic town, now suburb, of Guildford.

Darling Scarp misnamed range, scarp east of Perth, Western Australia

The Darling Scarp, also referred to as the Darling Range or Darling Ranges, is a low escarpment running north-south to the east of the Swan Coastal Plain and Perth, Western Australia. The escarpment extends generally north of Bindoon, to the south of Pemberton. The adjacent Darling Plateau goes easterly to include Mount Bakewell near York and Mount Saddleback near Boddington. It was named after the Governor of New South Wales Lieutenant-General Ralph Darling.

Gooseberry Hill, Western Australia Suburb of Perth, Western Australia

Gooseberry Hill is a suburb of Perth, Western Australia, located within the City of Kalamunda. It is the site of Gooseberry Hill National Park.

Greenmount, Western Australia Suburb of Perth, Western Australia

Greenmount is a locality and a geographical feature in the Shire of Mundaring, Western Australia, on the edge of the Darling Scarp. It is a vital point in the transport routes from the Swan Coastal Plain into the hinterland of Western Australia.

Catchment area

Many of the tributaries of the Helena River are unnamed due to their seasonality and size. However, Nyaania Creek on the northern side of the catchment and Piesse Brook on the southern side are significant through moving through built up areas, which also makes them susceptible to urban environment issues.

Nyaania Creek seasonal creek in Western Australia

Nyaania Creek is an important tributary seasonal creek that flows into the Helena River with a catchment that moves through a number of hills suburbs just east of the Darling Scarp. Its source is in Mahogany Creek, and it flows through Glen Forrest, Darlington, and Boya before meeting the Helena River at Helena Valley.

Upper Helena catchment (i.e. above Mundaring Weir) has on the north side of Lake C.Y. O'Connor (formerly the Helena River Reservoir) a range of named creeks that occur in State Forest no 71 and 13:

Environment

In higher ground the Helena River passes mainly through State Forest or reserve. This has been beneficial for some of the catchment area, as it has been an important buffer between the urban settlements in the Mundaring and Kalamunda areas. The flora of the Helena Valley has been recognised as being of importance because of the relative richness.

At Darlington, and the locality of Helena Valley there is housing and agriculture on its banks before it emerges out on to the Swan Coastal Plain.

Darlington, Western Australia Suburb of Perth, Western Australia

Darlington, Western Australia, is a locality in the Shire of Mundaring on the Darling Scarp, dissected by Nyaania Creek and north of the Helena River.

Helena Valley, Western Australia Suburb of Perth, Western Australia

Helena Valley is the name of a river valley and a locality in the foothills of the Darling Scarp in Perth, Western Australia.

Swan Coastal Plain

The Swan Coastal Plain in Western Australia is the geographic feature which contains the Swan River as it travels west to the Indian Ocean. The coastal plain continues well beyond the boundaries of the Swan River and its tributaries, as a geological and biological zone, one of Western Australia's Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation for Australia (IBRA) regions. It is also one of the distinct physiographic provinces of the larger West Australian Shield division.

At Bellevue and Midland the river has historically passed hazardous industrial sites. This includes the Midland Railway Workshops site and the Midland livestock sale yards.

Bellevue, Western Australia Suburb of Perth, Western Australia

Bellevue is an eastern suburb of Perth, Western Australia in the local government areas of the City of Swan and the Shire of Mundaring. It is at the foot of the slopes of Greenmount, a landmark on the Darling Scarp that is noted in the earliest of travel journals of the early Swan River Colony.

Midland, Western Australia Suburb of Perth, Western Australia

Midland is a suburb in the Perth metropolitan region, as well as the regional centre for the City of Swan local government area that covers the Swan Valley and parts of the Darling Scarp to the east. It is situated at the intersection of Great Eastern Highway and Great Northern Highway. Its eastern boundary is defined by the Roe Highway. Midland is almost always regarded as a suburb of Perth, being only 16 km (9.9 mi) away from the city centre.

Midland Railway Workshops railway workshops in Midland, Western Australia

The Midland Railway Workshops in Midland, Western Australia were the main workshops for the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) for over 80 years.

Dams

It is dammed in two places – the best known is the upper river dam known as Mundaring Weir which was part of C.Y O'Connor's Goldfields Water Supply Scheme.

Goldfields Water Supply Scheme architectural structure

The Goldfields Water Supply Scheme is a pipeline and dam project that delivers potable water from Mundaring Weir in Perth to communities in Western Australia's Eastern Goldfields, particularly Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie. The project was commissioned in 1896 and completed in 1903.


The Pipehead Dam area in 2012. Lower Helena pipehead dam from north west.jpg
The Pipehead Dam area in 2012.

Since the lower dam – known as the Lower Helena Pipehead Dam has been constructed in the 1970s, flooding of the lower Helena River (in East Guildford and Guildford) has been substantially reduced. Most of the water collected in the Pipehead Dam is pumped back into Mundaring Weir.

Due to this, restrictions in the Helena River catchment have been made to not allow activities that affect the quality of the Pipehead Dam – despite being adjacent to the built up areas within the Shire of Mundaring on the north side of the Helena River catchment. [1] [2]

Bridges

The bridges design and strength were relevant to higher water flow prior to the construction of the Pipehead Dam, as significant flooding occurred in the early and mid twentieth century.

The main bridges are at: –

Notes

  1. Western Australian Planning Commission; Western Australia. Water and Rivers Commission (2003), Middle Helena catchment area land use and water management strategy : published by the Western Australian Planning Commission for public comment, August 2003, Western Australian Planning Commission, ISBN   978-0-7309-9393-3
  2. Western Australian Planning Commission (2010), Middle Helena catchment area land use and water management strategy, Western Australian Planning Commission, ISBN   978-0-7309-9976-8
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Road Information Mapping". Main Roads, Western Australia. 4 April 2017.

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References

Coordinates: 31°54′S116°00′E / 31.900°S 116.000°E / -31.900; 116.000