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Geelong's own International Bird Sanctuary


An incredible wetland hidden in plain sight

Each year, thousands of migratory shorebirds flock to the former saltworks at Moolap, just moments from Geelong’s CBD. Few people know that this unassuming wetland of national and international significance is situated right on our doorstep. This unlikely biodiversity hotspot has become an important urban refuge for some of Australia’s most threatened birds, providing habitat for incredible long-distance migrants such as the Critically Endangered Curlew Sandpiper and Endangered Red Knot, along with well-loved Aussie species such as the Fairy Tern and Banded Stilt.

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An industrial legacy teeming with life

Saltworks provide unlikely but important pit stops and feeding grounds for migrating shorebirds, which travel from one side of the world to the other (and back again) every year. Over the last century, our shorebirds have become increasingly dependent on these man-made environments as other habitat is lost to development. While the Geelong site has been degraded since the closure of works in 2007, Moolap still routinely boasts thousands of migratory birds. It also hosts an array of other species that Australians know and love, including Red-capped Plovers, Red-necked Avocets and Blue-winged Parrots.


A local asset with international opportunity


Following the model of Australia’s first International Bird Sanctuary in Adelaide, Moolap has the potential to be restored to a wetland of even higher conservation value. Through the Moolap Coastal Planning process, the Victorian Government is giving the community a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create the Geelong International Bird Sanctuary, following the model of Australia’s first International Bird Sanctuary in Adelaide. The Geelong International Bird Sanctuary would bring enormous potential to rejuvenate the saltworks into an ecotourism destination on the doorstep of Geelong. Moolap represents an important urban green space not only for the people of Geelong, but for all Australian and international travellers to visit and appreciate our incredibly diverse birdlife.


Working together to achieve our vision


BirdLife Australia has convened a coalition of organisations who have partnered together to advocate for the protection of the envirommental values at Moolap Salt Works and Point Henry, known as the Moolap Action Network. This Network includes the Geelong Field Naturalists Club, Geelong Sustainability, the Geelong Environment Council, Bellarine Landcare Group, Victorian National Parks Association, The Jane Goodall Institute, Friends of Edwards Point Reserve, and the Bellarine Catchment Network. United, the Network is a powerful voice for a plan for Moolap that safeguards nature.