Patterned Fen of Jabiru Swamp, Fraser Island, Queensland

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

Jabiru Swamp is a freshwater wetland that extends for almost 20 kms behind the current foredunes at the southern end of Fraser Island. The plant communities that grow in and adjacent to the water bodies are generally sequenced from algae, reeds, sedges and woody species.

Seen from the air the swamp is a patterned fen, the patterns changing with wind direction, season and water levels. The fresh water of these wetlands are naturally acidic because of the vegetable matter and tannin that stains the water, and because it is essentially groundwater that has little nutrient due to the base being silica sands. Such water is not suitable to most aquatic species, though there are acid tolerant frogs that live in these wetlands.

The ecosystem is very vulnerable to human interference, and is part of the Fraser Island environment that was inscribed on the World Heritage Register of UNESCO in 1992.

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Comments (4)

Aussieboom on November 26, 2012

I have been on Fraser Island quite a few times, but have no memory of ever having seen these swamps. Looks like exploration from the air is really worthwhile! Did you go on a joy flight when capturing these great shots? Thanks for posting them!

Ian Stehbens on November 26, 2012

Thanks for your appreciation, mate. There are quiter extensive areas of patterned fen on Fraser, Jabiru Swamp being one of the largest, and close to where you have often been.

The reason you haven't noticed them especially is that they are hard to access because of the surrounding wetlands and dense vegetation.

My son is a pilot, and I sometimes get these wonderful opportunities to fly across landscapes that interest us both. This was taken during a flight from Bundaberg to Gympie, recently.



Bartolomeo Gorgoglio… on December 27, 2012

Beautiful image ! really like it !

Ian Stehbens on December 30, 2012

Thank you Bartolomeo. Fraser Island is a remarkable ecosystem, and this Jabiru Swamp is an important part of it. The island is mostly an accumulation of beach sand, and the fresh water infiltrates the sand and seeps into swamps and lakes like this.

Happy New Year.


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Photo details

  • Uploaded on November 25, 2012
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens