Grow Local: Biodiversity
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Grow Local: Biodiversity

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The Illawarra hosts plant communities such as the Illawarra Lowlands Grassy Woodlands, and Illawarra Subtropical Rainforest, which are unique to our local area.

Together, Wollongong Council and the community can help protect and enhance our biodiversity. We're doing a number of things to protect and enhance our biodiversity, including:

  • Funding qualified bush regenerators to undertake restoration and weed control in our bushland reserves.

  • Seeking grant funding opportunities to increase our capacity to under more bush restoration.

  • Supporting volunteers through the Bushcare program.

  • Providing workshops, and information resources to assist volunteers and landholders increase their knowledge about our local biodiversity.

  • Implementing the Illawarra Biodiversity Strategy (see documents on the right of this page).

  • Assessment of biodiversity values through the development assessment process.  


Stay informed

Sign up to our Sustainable Wollongong newsletter to find out about upcoming workshops, events and education activities.

Grow Local Guides

To help people grow great native gardens, Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama Councils have teamed up to develop two Grow Local garden guides. The paperback guides - which were developed with support from the NSW Environmental Trust - cover everything from plant selection and garden design to growing bird-attracting plants.

Grow Local Illawarra Native Garden Guide [3.3 MB] 

This guide will help you find suitable local plants for urban and rural gardens of the Illawarra. It's by no means an exhaustive list, but provides an introduction to those local native plants that are most readily available.

Please note: The guide is intended for use by residents of Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama Council areas. It is not designed to guide revegetation of natural areas such as Bushcare or Landcare sites or riparian zones. Planting in these areas should be guided by the naturally occurring suite of native species that occur in that location.

Want more? Check out our Grow Local Illawarra Edible Garden Guide [5.8 MB].

Biodiversity at Home

There are so many good reasons to use local native plants in our urban landscaping:

  • They look good and will thrive.

  • They are adapted to local conditions and will require less maintenance than conventional exotic plants.

  • They attract native birds and will help deter pest birds such as the Common (Indian) Myna.

  • Local native plants provide stepping stones for local native fauna moving through the urban landscape.

  • Attracting local fauna is fun, and educational.

  • Using local native plants reduces the chance of garden escapees.

Identification Guides

Wondering what that plant or animal in your garden is? Try one of these guides to help identify it:

PDF iconButterflies of the Illawarra
Learn about fifteen butterfly species commonly seen in the Illawarra, and how to make your garden butterfly-friendly.

PDF iconFrogs of the Illawarra
Learn how to identify 16 of the most common frogs in the Illawarra, and how to make your garden frog-friendly.

Illawarra Birds
Over 350 different kinds of birds have been identified in the Illawarra. These are some of the most likely you’ll come across

PDF iconEndangered Ecological Communities of the Illawarra 
Learn about the nineteen Endangered Ecological Communities that occur in the Illawarra.  



For more information about threatened species, try the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage or the Federal Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.


Illawarra Bushland Database

The Illawarra Bushland Database is a fantastic tool that collates flora survey information from over 600 sites in the Illawarra. You can search the information by maps or by suburb name to find out what is growing naturally in the bushland in your area.


Council and Community - working together


Wollongong Council is working with the community to restore connectivity between local remnant bushland fragments and endangered ecological communities through weed control activities and revegetation. Work undertaken includes weed removal, stabilisation of eroding banks and planting of native trees, shrubs and grasses.

During 2009-2010, commercial bush regeneration contractors conducted bush restoration work at 60 sites across the Local Government Area (LGA). This included weed removal, stabilisation of eroding banks and planting of 13,071 native trees, shrubs or grasses over an area of 521,630 square metres. These projects aimed to restore remnants of several threatened communities, riparian vegetation and habitat for threatened flora and fauna species. Endangered ecological communities where bush regeneration work was undertaken included Illawarra Dry-subtropical Rainforest, Littoral Rainforest, Bangalay Sand Forest, Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest and Illawarra Lowlands Grassy Woodland. Weed trees such as willows, privets and corals were removed from several reaches of creek including American Creek, Mount Kembla; Branch Creek, Figtree; Brooks Creek, Dapto; Collins Creek, Woonona; Cabbage Tree Creek, Guest Park; and Slacky Creek, Bulli.

There are many community groups across the region volunteering their time to help restore and preserve our natural environment, and they’re always open to new members. If you can spare a few hours per week, month or year, then get connected with a local volunteer group, such as:


Bushcare - works with community to conserve and restore the biodiversity in Wollongong’s natural areas. Our local Bushcare program has active volunteer groups at over 50 sites in the LGA.


Conservation Volunteers Australia - attracts and manages volunteers to participate in projects that protect or enhance our environment and heritage at several sites in our area.

Landcare Illawarra - a community-based organisation that helps residents in the local government areas of Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama get involved in a broad range of environmental activities.


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