Australian Wetlands Database

Ramsar wetlands

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Banrock Station Wetland Complex


Key facts and figures:

Date of listing:

21 October 2002

Horizontally bedded Tertiary limestones and sandstone cliffs along the bank of the Murray River (2005),  Photo: John Baker

Australian Ramsar site number:





South Australia


The total area of the designated site is 1375 hectares

Drainage Division or IMCRA  region:


Wetland type: 

  • M - Permanent rivers/streams/creeks; includes waterfalls
  • N - Seasonal/intermittent/irregular rivers/streams/creeks
  • P - Seasonal/intermittent freshwater lakes (over 8 ha); includes floodplain lakes
  • R - Seasonal/intermittent saline/brackish/alkaline lakes and flats
  • W - Shrub-dominated wetlands; shrub swamps, shrub-dominated freshwater marshes, shrub carr, alder thicket on inorganic soils
  • Xf - Freshwater, tree-dominated wetlands; includes freshwater swamp forests, seasonally flooded forests, wooded swamps on inorganic soils

Key features of the site:

Banrock Station Wetland Complex is located on the River Murray floodplain immediately downstream of Kingston on Murray in the Riverland of South Australia. The site is a floodplain wetland complex typical of the lower River Murray floodplain. It comprises areas of freshwater and areas of secondary salinised floodplain with discrete wetland basins and channels. The largest wetland basin is referred to as Banrock Lagoon.

The dominant wetland vegetation types on the floodplain include river red gum woodland, black box woodland, Lignum shrubland, and sedgelands. Aquatic herblands are present in Banrock Lagoon providing significant habitat value for aquatic biota.

The site supports a high diversity of ecological communities and species which includes over 120 species of plants and 138 species of birds. Of these bird species, 14 species are waterbird and wetland dependent species listed as threatened. There are over 85 species of woodland birds, eight of which are considered rare in South Australia. Seven native mammals, 14 species of reptiles and eight amphibians have been also been recorded on site.

Recreation and tourism are a key feature of the site. The main activities are interpretive nature walks along designated trails.

Justification of the listing criteria:

The Banrock Station Wetland Complex Ramsar site meets three of the nine criteria:

Criterion 2: Banrock Station Wetland Complex supports two nationally listed species, the Vulnerable Regent Parrot and the Vulnerable Southern Bell Frog. Currently there are no estimates on the size of the Southern Bell Frog population on site. The Regent Parrot colony found on site is one of the largest regional breeding colonies, with 100 nesting birds being recorded at the time of listing.

Criterion 3: This site supports the range of biological diversity (including habitat types) found in the region. The site is located at the transition between the Mallee Trench and Mallee Gorge resulting in a large number of habitat types found in the lower part of the Murray Darling Basin occurring in a relatively small area. The flora and fauna of the site are typical of a lower River Murray freshwater and salt affected wetland complex in a semi-arid environment. Also the site is one of the few locations in South Australia where the rare River Snail has been successfully bred.

Criterion 4: The Banrock Station Wetland Complex provides non-breeding habitat for 10 migratory waterbirds listed under the international migratory bird treaties between Australia, China, Korea and Japan. However, the numbers of individuals are not large nor are most of the species regular visitors to the wetland complex. The exception is the Eastern Great Egret which occurs at the site on a regular basis with records for eight of the past ten years. Migration of small native fish species occurs via the inlet and outlet creeks, and the site may provide a downstream pathway around Lock 3 for large bodied fish in high flows.

Please see the More Information page for additional information on this Ramsar site and access to the Ramsar Information sheets and other associated site documents.