Bordered by the Darling Ranges on the east and the Swan Coastal Plain on the west, the Peel region is made up of a diverse mix of wetlands, forest, rich agricultural land and urban areas. Sitting in one of the highest rainfall areas in the south west of Western Australia the region has a staggering 137 square kilometres of inland waterways made up of 23 different rivers, streams and creeks.
The Peel–Harvey estuarine system is the largest in the south west of WA. It supports three wetlands of international significance under the Ramsar Convention including the Peel–Yalgorup System, Thomsons Lake and Becher Point wetlands. These wetlands are highly enriched ecosystems that provide habitat for unique flora and fauna, act as sanctuaries for migratory birds, and maintain hydrological balance in the landscape. Several threatened species live in the catchment area including the Woylie (Bettongia penicillata) and the Red-tailed Phascogale (Phascogale calura) while over 130 bird species use the waterways as a breeding, feeding and habitat area.
Environmental projects are in place to protect and conserve the waterways into the future. These projects aim to reduce phosphorus inputs to the estuary, retrofit drainage systems and improve foreshore conditions.The wetlands face increasing pressure from population distribution, and recreational and economic activity.
A rich tapestry of vegetation and forests grow within the Peel region. Coastal vegetation varies from Tuart peppermint and acacia in the Quindalup Dunes, to swamp sheoak and salt water paperbark along the Peel–Harvey Estuary shore line. Forests of jarrah, marri, banksia and sheoak cover the Darling Plateau.
Also of significance are the rare thrombolite microbial communities living at Lake Clifton. These rock-like life forms, similar to stromatolites, are made by micro-organisms and are critically endangered. Lake Clifton is the only known location where thrombolites grow in the Southern Hemisphere and research is focused on preserving the future of these ancient life forms.
The region was first inhabited by the Pindjarup (Binjareb) dialect group of the Noongar people. They called the area Pinjar, thought to mean wetlands. After European settlement, cropping and cattle farms were established around Pinjarra. Later, the timber industry began to grow with the construction of the Jarrahdale timber mill along with the Rockingham–Jarrahdale railway line.
The regional economy has changed since then and is now dominated by mining, manufacturing and construction.
Peel is the third largest mineral producer in WA with gold, bauxite and copper mined in the region. Major manufacturing industries in Peel include metal products, machinery and equipment, wood products and food processing including dairy products. Retail, tourism, agriculture, forestry and fishing also make valuable contributions.
Peel’s vibrant population resides across five local government areas including Boddington, Mandurah, Murray, Serpentine-Jarrahdale and Waroona. Mandurah is the regional centre and the majority of the population is based there. The population is growing rapidly with people being attracted to the area by the allure of the region’s coastal, semi-country lifestyle in close proximity to Perth.