Historic sources describe the original eastern plains between Adelaide and Burnside as: “…a magnificent gum forest with an undergrowth of Kangaroo Grass so high that people travelling between Adelaide and Kensington lost their way.” River Red Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) dominated the creeklines, extending to mixed SA Blue Gum (Eucalyptus leucoxylon) River Red Gum open woodland, with patches of Drooping Sheoak (Allocasuarina verticillata) and Native Pine (Callitris gracillis) on the plains. The diverse understorey incorporated a variety of shrubs, grasses and herbs, including amongst others, Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha), Sweet Bursaria (Bursaria spinosa), Yacca (Xanthorrhoea semilpana ssp. semiplana), and Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra). Dense shrubby patches were commonly interspersed with a grass-dominated understorey. There was a multitude of wild flowers beneath and birds above, and along the creek lines, innumerable small crayfish (yabbies) darting amongst white and brown pebbles of the stream floor.
Despite the dramatic loss of native flora and fauna in the Norwood Payneham St Peters Council area, biodiversity was found to be of great importance to the local community in the survey conducted for the State of Environment (SOE) Report prepared in 2005. Out of 158 respondents, 80% indicated that biodiversity was important or extremely important to them.