Select Page

History of Bibra Lake

History of Bibra Lake

Bibra Lake was first reported by the surveyor A C Gregory in May 1842 when he recorded its Aboriginal name, Walubup.

This was traditional land for the Swan River Aborigines who had many campsites around the lake because of its abundant wild-fowl, fresh water and good vegetation.

The following year, Benedict Von Bibra, recorded the name as Walliabup when he acquired 320 acres in the area. Although this name was used exclusively on maps for more than half a century, locals still referred to the feature as Bibra’s Lake. This alternative name was added to plans and eventually in 1967, was adopted instead of the Aboriginal name.

Land in the area was cleared by families like the Tapper’s, Meller’s and Currie’s and homesteads, market gardens and dairies were established on the excellent grazing land where lucerne, maize and oats were also grown.

A substantial colony of Chinese market gardeners also began around the lake in 1897.

Because the land laws prohibited Chinese from owning land in Western Australia, they leased their plots. They lived in meagre tin shacks and grew tomatoes, celery and spring onions and were respected by the community for their hard work and honesty.

In the 1960s, when the State Government established a green belt in the area, Tappers dairy and homestead were demolished. The Moreton Bay fig trees, which are over 100 years old, still remain. The Aboriginal people still maintain strong links with this area of significant Aboriginal heritage and participate in educational activities at the Cockburn Wetlands Education Centre on Hope Road.

Local history questions or anything to add? Please let us know by commenting below.

This article can also be seen on the Cockburn Libraries’ Local History blog and first appeared in the October 2012 edition of Cockburn Soundings

About The Author


Leah works as the Reader Services Librarian at Spearwood Public Library, where she orders the books, and takes requests for anything you can't find in the library! She also researches and writes local history articles for the Cockburn Soundings, and for anyone who has a local history question. Comment below to ask Leah a question.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Catalogue Search


Visit the City of Cockburn

City of Cockburn


Recent Videos


Recent Comments

Subscribe To Our Blog

Subscribe To Our Blog

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from the Museum.

You have Successfully Subscribed!