Rivers were at this time seen as the ideal means of transporting goods and were increasingly engineered by dredging, to accommodate larger loads. The Swan River was remade for transportation purposes by removing sandbars, filling and dredging channels.
The first change made to the natural environment after European settlement was in 1831 when a canal was cut making Burswood into an island. (Camfield Henry, Correspondence and legal documents 1829-1865, Acc 1459A).
In 1833 a tender was released for the construction of a dyke to block channels between islands with:
"duble stake and a wattled fence filled in with clay, three feet above low water and three feet high." 
When the first canal was relatively unsuccessful, a second canal was cut in 1834.
In addition the River was straightened in an effort to correct what were seen as nature’s shortcomings. The arguments used to dredge and straighten the river were utilitarian and health based.
Page last updated: Tuesday 23 November 2010