The area around Piney Lakes is a very significant site for the traditional custodians. The area on which the suburb of Winthrop was established was university endowment trust land, much of which was developed as the Applecross Pine Plantation, later known as the Somerville Pine Plantation.
Piney Lakes forms part of the Beeliar Regional Park chain and supports a great richness and abundance of wildlife. It provides habitat, refuge, breeding grounds and sources of food for animals.
A major feature of the area is the Piney Lakes Environmental Education Centre, which is situated on 68 hectares of bushland/parkland, known as Piney Lakes Reserve. The Centre operates using renewable energy sources and is not connected to mains power, mains water or sewerage. It showcases the latest in renewable energy technologies and sustainable building design. Set in an urban bushland setting, this building offers a unique opportunity to learn more about the environment and sustainable living. Shaped in plan as a boomerang, the building symbolically acknowledges the indigenous history of the Piney Lakes region.
Developed with local community members, an Aboriginal Heritage Trail at Piney Lakes Reserve explores the indigenous history of the site, while Piney Lakes Sensory Playground caters for children of all abilities.
The City's Melville Volunteer Resource Centre is also housed within the Piney Lakes Environmental Education Centre. The MVRC supports those who manage volunteers within the City's not-for-profit organisations to direct, recruit and retain their volunteers. Of Western Australian local government communities with a population of more than 70,000, the City has the highest rate of volunteering with 20 per cent of the community aged over 15 involved.
Community groups in Winthrop include active conservation group, Friends of Piney Lakes and Winthrop/Murdoch Community Group, as well as active social group Ideas Place Melville, which meets monthly at the Piney Lakes Environmental Education Centre.
Piney Lakes and Winthrop Oval were listed by the community as being among their favourite places in the South West Neighbourhood.
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