Forgotten Waterways: South and South West

Southern Sydney

Cooks River, Belfield

Cooks River
The first river to be recorded on any map of Australia, the Cooks River was explored by James Cook in 1770 who marked it on his map of Botany Bay. Rising in Strathfield and flowing through Belfield, Campsie, Canterbury, Earlwood and Marrickville to enter Botany Bay at Tempe, the river's natural environment has largely been destroyed by urban development and industry, but in recent decades the Cooks River has been the subject of numerous projects to bring it's original environment back to life. These days virtually the entire length of the River is concrete lined or piped, and the channel itself has been straightened and realigned in a number of places.

Parks located at various stages along its banks allow access to the river and walking tracks which afford pleasant, relaxed strolls. Public transport: train to Dulwich Hill, walk south along Wardell Road; or train to Canterbury, walk south along Canterbury Road; or train to Tempe. Salt Pan Creek
Salt Pan Creek is a tributary of the George River. A pedestrian boardwalk track gives access to 6 kilometres of its shoreline, part of which passes through a natural mangrove community. The boardwalk is linked to the suburbs of Riverwood and Padstow by a bridge built over the creek at Lillian Street, Riverwood (next to the railway line). An access ramp provides entry for disabled people. A map of the boardwalk is available from the Hurstville Council (phone (02) 9542 0648). Access the walk from Lillian Road, Riverwood or by foot off Henry Lawson Drive.


Wolli Creek

Wolli Creek
The Wolli Creek Valley contains the only bushland of any size and the only large high-quality open space left in the heavily populated and industrialised suburbs of inner southern Sydney. Mangrove and saltmarsh flats were once common in the estuary of the Cooks River, downstream of Tempe. These have now been filled, leaving those along the Wolli Creek and Muddy Creek among the few remaining saltmarsh remnants in the Cooks River system.

Today the creek is a lined channel upstream however the lower reaches to the Cooks River is largely in a "natural" state forming a defined but winding watercourse through the Wolli Valley. A path alongside the creek makes for an enjoyable, easy walk. The best access it through Girrawheen Park, Earlwood. The park is a nature reserve with scattered grassed areas serviced by toilets, picnic and barbecue facilities. The central section of the valley is reached via a pathway leading east from the grassed area.

The roofs of the valley's rocky overhangs have been blackened by the smoke of thousands of campfires and are the last remaining evidence that Aborigines who once lived here. In contrast are the exotic plants which have engulfed the valley, particularly along the water's edge, that have grown from seeds washed down from the "European" gardens of nearby homes. They reflect the drastic change to the bushland environment that was brought about by the arrival of the white man.

Bardwell Creek
The major tributary of Wolli Creek, with its confluence located at Arncliffe some 2.5 kilometres upstream of the Cooks River junction. The upper reaches of Bardwell Creek arise in Hurstville to drain in a north-easterly direction through the suburbs of Hurstville, Bexley North, Bardwell Park and Turrella. Though radically changed since pre-colonial days, Bardwell Valley is a pleasant area for walkers with pockets of natural bushland surviving amongst the introduced flora and grassed areas which dominate this reserve. A 6ha. remnant of closed forest is located south-west and north-east of Bexley Road and has been earmarked for preservation.

A walking path follows the line of Bardwell Creek along its southern bank from Preddy's Road, Bexley North, to Bardwell Road, Bardwell Valley, near where the creek flows into Wolli Creek. Be aware that the valley is subject to flooding after heavy rains. Public transport: train to Rockdale, Bus No. 72; or train to Burwood or Bondi Junction, Bus No. 400. Alight on Bexley road near bridge over Bardwell Creek.

Bardens Creek
Recalls Alfred Barden whose pioneering family was associated with the Bangor area prior to the 1850s.

Muddy Creek
Descriptive. Also known by the names Slacks Creek and Black Creek, it is a tributary of the Cooks River which enters it from the south after passing through the suburbs of Brighton-Le-Sands and Kogarah. Around the turn of the 20th century, it was going to be turned into a canal to ship produce by barge direct from the market gardens on its banks to the markets of Sydney.

Morgans Creek
Recalls HR Morgan, the first land grantee in the area in 1842. It flows into Cooks River.

Cup and Saucer Creek
A small waterfall once existed here, which gave the impression of water flowing out of a cup and into a saucer. It flows into Cooks River.


Alexandra Canal

Alexandra Canal (Shea's Creek)
The name Alexandra is believed to have been derived from Stanley Alexander, Under secretary of Public Works, who first muted the idea of dredging and the repair and extension of the embankments of Sheas Creek into a fully operational canal. Before its conversion into a canal was completed in 1891, this waterway was known as Shea's Creek, after First Fleeter, John Shea, Captain, HMS Scarborough, who came across it during a hunting expedition.

Bunnerong Creek
The name is of Aboriginal origin. Believed to be the Aboriginal name for the locality.

Patmore Swamp
Thus named because it bordered on the land grant of Patrick Moore. It was reclaimed and called Scarborough Park in 1879, recalling the time the First Fleet transport Scarborough had anchored in Botany Bay in 1788 and therefore already has associations with the area.

Bado-berong Creek
An Aboriginal word in the Eora dialect of the Darug language meaning small fish.

Goomun Creek
Aboriginal word in the Eora dialect of the Darug language for the Casuarina tree.

Waradiel Creek
Aboriginal word in the Eora dialect of the Darug language for a mullet.


Georges River, Milperra

Georges River
It is believed the river was thus named by Gov. Phillip after the reigning monarch, however this has never been verified. When Capt. Hunter first surveyed it in 1788, he named it West River. By 1795 it was commonly referred to as Georges River but in that year Hunter referred to it as South West River.

Kelso Creek
Charles Kelso who, with the Frere Family, established a successful vineyard in 1889 known as "Beausejour" at Eckersley, a former settlement within the boundary of the Holsworthy Military Area. The creek flows into the Georges River.

Cunningham Creek
Recalls a grantee who received land here in 1804. The creek flows into the Georges River.

Williams Creek
100 acres in the Holsworthy area was granted to First Fleeter John Thomas Williams in August, 1809. This land is situated at the confluence of Williams Creek and the Georges River on the eastern side of Williams Creek which bears his name. The creek flows into the Georges River.

Mill Creek
Recalls a grain mill which operated here to the west of Barnes Crescent in the 1920s, the remains of which, and an associated weir across the creek, are still visible by the creek. The weir acts as an artificial boundary between the tidal and freshwater sections of Mill Creek. The creek flows into the Georges River.


Woronoma Bridge over the Woronora River

Woronora River
The name is of Aboriginal origin, recorded by Robert Dixon in 1827 as Wooloonora - a native word meaning 'place of no sharks'. Woronora is also an Aboriginal word meaning 'SouthCk_StMarys rocks'.

Still Creek
It is presumed a still once operated near it.

Temptation Creek
The name's origin is unknown.

Campbells Creek
Recalls Keith Campbell, Captain, Heathcote Bushfire Brigade. He was killed in the area fighting a bushfire on 9th January 1983. Formerly Little Temptation Creek.

Carina Creek
An Aboriginal name believed to have the same origin as the nearby suburb of Kareela. It is derived from the Aboriginal word 'kari-kari' meaning 'fast'. Alternate suggested meanings are 'place of trees and water' or 'south wind'. The creek flows into Carina Bay.

Melinga Molong Gully
The Creek flows into Woronora River. The name is of Aboriginal origin, recorded by Robert Dixon in 1827.

Crescent Creek
Named after an area of natural bushland and a road, both known as The Crescent, through which the creek flows.

Fire Creek
The Creek flows into Woronora River. The name's origin is unknown.

Forbes Creek
Believed to honour F.E. Forbes who operated sawpits with convict labour at Holsworthy from 1832. The Creek flows into Woronora River.

Loftus Creek
Lord Augustus William Spencer Loftus, a former Governor of NSW (1878-85), after whom the area through which the creek flows is named. The Creek flows into Woronora River.

Fahy Creek
Believed to have been named after an early settler. The Creek flows into Woronora River.

Maandowie Creek
The name recognises the area's stands of Grey Gum trees. (Grey Gum,Eucalyptus punctata De Candolle, Maandowie). The Creek flows into Woronora River.


Hacking River, Royal National Park

Hacking River
The river and the inlent into which it flows were named after Henry Hacking, quartermaster HMS Sirius of the first fleet, who was the Port Jackson harbour pilot. He discovered the waterway on a kangaroo hunting trip in 1788. Thus named by George Bass and Matthew Flinders in 1796.

Savilles Creek
Believed to have been named after an early settler. The Creek flows into Woronora River.

Temptation Creek
The creek flows into Savilles Creek.

Dents Creek
Origin unknown. Believed to have been named after an early settler. In 1887, three unsuccessful bores were sunk beside the creek in search of a mineable coal seam. The Creek flows into Hacking River.

Bee Creek
Origin unknown.

Coonong Creek
Origin unknown, possibly Aboriginal.

Girronba Creek
Oigin unknown, presumed Aboriginal.


Alcharinga Creek waterfall, Miranda

Alcheringa Creek
The Creek flows into Woronora River. Oigin unknown, presumed Aboriginal.

Wallaby Gully
Presumably because wallabies were seen in the gully when first explored.

Lyretail Gully
Presumably because lyrebirds were seen in the gully when first explored.

Wappa Creek
Of Aboriginal origin.

Heathcote Creek
Named by Surveyor-General Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1835 in honour of an officer who had fought with him in the Peninsular wars against Napoleon.

Myuna Creek
Of Aboriginal origin.


Kingfisher Creek, Heathcote National Park

Kingfisher Creek
Probably named because kookaburra (commonly mistaken for kingfishers by the early white settlers) were seen here.

Mirang Gully
Origin unknown.

Spion Kop
The name of a hill. It is possible that this is derived from the name Spion Kopje, an Afrikaans name for a feature in South Africa that became well known during the Boer War.

Origma Creek
Takes the name of the Rock Warbler (Origma Solitaria).

Scout Creek
A campground used by Boy Scouts for many years is located nearby.

Prestons Gully
Origin unknown.

Boggywell Creek
Origin unknown.

Carina Creek
Oigin unknown, presumed Aboriginal. The watercourse flows through an area unofficially known as Kareena Park. This name appears to come from the name of a road nearby.

Engadine Creek
Named in the late 1890s by local residents, the McAlister family, who went to Europe for a holiday and upon their return, named their property after the Engadine area of Switzerland which they had visited.

South West Arm Creek
Enters into South West Arm of Port Hacking.

Saddle Gully
The gully is alongside a high ridge or saddle.

Cabbage Tree Creek
Extensive number of cabbage trees seen here by early explorers.

Marley Creek
Thought to be the Aboriginal name for the creek. Its meaning is unknown.


Wattamolla Creek

Wattamolla Creek
Thought to be the Aboriginal name for the creek. Its meaning is unknown.

Curracurrong Creek
Thought to be the Aboriginal name for the creek. Its meaning is unknown.

Curra Brook
Thought to be the Aboriginal word for a creek.

Bola Creek
Thought to be the Aboriginal name for the creek. Its meaning is unknown.

Waterfall Creek
It rises near the suburb of Waterfall.

Palona Brook
Origin unknown.

Uloola Brook
Thought to be the Aboriginal name for the creek. Its meaning is unknown.

Kangaroo Creek
Presumably because kangaroos were seen in the gully when first explored.

Cridland Brook
Local resident and historian, Frank Cridland, who wrote the book, "Port Hacking, Cronulla and Sutherland Shire" (circa 1924).

Goonderra Brook
The Aboriginal name for the creek. Its meaning is unknown.

Engadine Creek
It rises near the suburb of Engadine.

Forest Brook
Descriptive

Tuckawa Rill
The Aboriginal name for the creek. Its meaning is unknown.

Platypus Creek
Presumably because platypus were seen in the gully when first explored.

South Western Sydney and The Macarthur District

Bunbury Curran Creek

Bunbury Curran Creek
A double barrel name, believed to be recorded thus as it was originally known by two names, both of which recall early settlers. Christopher Bunbary was a farmer in the Minto district. Stephen Curran was an emancipated convict who was appointed Constable in the district of Upper Minto in the 1920s. It has also been suggested that Gov. Macquarie named the creek and the nearby hill after soldier and historian General Sir Henry Edward Bunbury (1778-1860), Under-Secretary of State for war and the colonies 1809-16, when Macquarie first visited the area. His diary of 8th November 1810 does not indicate this, as his reference to the creek by name indicates the name was already in use at that time. Early colonial records show that a Mary Ann Bunbury, possibly a daughter of Christopher Bunbary, was born in the Cowpasture area on 25th December, 1817. Other possibilities are that the name in part recalls John Berry Curran, a clerk in the Brigade Major's office before 1810. Gov Macquarie's surveyor, James Meehan, who had land in the Campbelltown area, also employed an axeman named Curran.

Macquarie Creek
The name recalls Lachlan Macquarie, Gov of New South Wales from 1809. In his decade as Govornor, Macquarie played a major role in the development of NSW, particularly the area that is now within the City of Campbelltown. The creek is a substantial grass lined channel.

Menangle Creek
Derived from an early Aboriginal word, spelt either as Manhangle or Manangle. It described a small lagoon on the opposite side of the Nepean River. It was here in 1805 that a 800 ha grant was taken up by Walter Davidson. He called his new farm Manangle, after the lagoon.

Mallatys Creek
The name's origin is unknown.

Ousedale Creek
The name's origin is unknown.

Spring Creek (St Helens Park)
The name's origin is unknown.

Bow Bowing Creek
Aboriginal name of the creek. The original spelling was Boro Borang but through careless writers of old deeds it became Boro Bowing and then today's Bow Bowing.

Redfern Creek
Dr. William Redfern RN, who was transported to NSW for giving advice to mutineers at the Nore Mutiny, reprieved and sent to NSW. He was pardoned in 1803 and became a noted surgeon. Redfern was granted 800 acres at Airds where he established `Campbellfields'. The creek has been substantially modified to accommodate urban runoff and part of the creek has been piped. A large section flows under the Ingleburn commercial district.

Thompson Creek
Recalls Andrew Thompson, who was transported to Australia as a convict at age 16 for burning a haystack. Governor King appointed him as a Constable in 1806, he showed great courage in rescuing many people from flood waters for which he received a land grant which he called St Andrews.
v Biriwiri Creek
Drawn from the Aboriginal Tharawal language meaning 'shortcut'. A significant feature of the area is a well worn path obviously used as a shortcut by local residents.

Birunji Creek
Of Aboriginal origin meaning `attractive`. This name was suggested in view of an area of remnant bushland that still exists in the vicinity of the creek.

Fishers Ghost Creek
Rrecalls Campbelltown resident Frederick Fisher who was murdered in 1826. His body was found near the creek.

Mansfield Creek
Recalls colonial architect George Mansfield. Mansfield had a close association with the area and owned land surrounding the creek. He designed St Helens Park House, situated north of the creek, in 1887.


Smiths Creek

Smiths Creek
There are two suggestions as to the name's origin - Jeremiah Smith, whose original land grant enveloped the waterway; Thomas Smith, one of six convicts who accompanied Hume and Hovell on their overland expedition to Port Phillip in 1824. Smith settled at Campbelltown near the creek after his emancipation.

Leumeah Creek
A creek about 2.4 km long. It was in part of John Warby's landholdings. John Warby (1767 - 1851) was transported to Australia in 1792. In 1816 he was granted 260 acres at Campbellltown. He named his property `Leumeah'. Previously called Fitzroy Creek after a nearby street. Council's historian felt it related to Gov Fitzroy who was associated more with the Wollongong area and for this reason its name was changed. Along the creek are the remains of four stone dams built by Warby between 1831 and 1851.

McBarron Creek
Honours Edward John McBarron OAM, who published many books for farmers and graziers. he published scientific papers on the flora of Albury and Campbelltown. McBarron was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 1992 for his contribution to recording both the cultural and natural heritage of Campbelltown.

Rileys Creek
Recalls the first free settler in the area (1809), Alexander Riley. Named his property Raby after his mother, who was Miss Margaret Raby before she married. The name has been retained for a suburb in the locality.

Lowes Creek
Believed to be named after James Willard Lowe, a resident of Bringelly in the 1820s.

Eagle Creek
Believed to be named after Richard Eagles, a settler in the Campbelltown area.

Forest Hill Creek
The name's origin is unknown.

Grays Folly Creek
Believed to be named after George Gray, a farmer in the Cowpasture area.

Clay Waterholes Creek
Descriptive.

The Big Gully Creek
Descriptive.

Wattle Creek
Dscriptive of the trees prominent around the creek.

Cobbitty Creek
The name is of Aboriginal origin. First recorded as Kobbatty and referred to nearby hills.

Myrtle Creek
Descriptive of the Lilli Pilli (myrtle) trees prominent around the creek.

Williams Creek
100 acres in the Holsworthy area was granted to First Fleeter John Thomas Williams in August, 1809. This land is situated at the confluence of Williams Creek and the Georges River on the eastern side of Williams Creek which bears his name.

Complete Creek
The name's origin is unknown.

Harris Creek
Recalls Alexander Harris, who arrived in the colony as a free immigrant tradesman in the 1830s and spent much time in the Campbelltown region. His diaries give vivid accounts of life in early Campbelltown. Colonial records indicate he was a carpenter of the Illawarra district. At that time, the southern part of the Holsworthy area where the creek flows was viewed as part of the Illawarra.

Clinches Pond
Recalls Richard Clinch, who purchased 260 acres in the area of Moorebank where the pond is. Clinch actually drowned in the pond before he could take up his land.

Anzac Creek
The area through which the creek rises and flows has been Military property for over 80 years. The creek bounds the site of the former Anzac Rifle Range. The 1st and 2nd Light Horse Brigades trained here.

Glenfield Creek
The name of a 1500 acre grant, it was named after the village of Glenfield near Leicester, England, the birthplace of grantee and explorer Dr Charles Throsby, a naval surgeon. The creek ran through Throsby's Glenfield property.

Peter Meadows Creek
The origin of this name is not known. It would at first appear to recall a local farmer by the name of Peter Meadows but another explanation is equally plausable. Kentlyn, through which the creek flows, was allocated as the common for the townsfolk of Campbelltown to graze cattle. The areas around the creek where the cattle grazed would have been called meadows. Campbelltown is in the Church of England parish of St Peter. As places were often identified by the parish they were in, eg. the St George district is in the parish of St George, the Kentlyn area would in all probability have been known locally as the Parish of St Peter Meadows or simply St Peter(s) Meadows. The creek flowing through it would therefore have been known as St Peter(s) Meadows Creek and over time been shortened to its present name when the parish name ceased to be used. Rev Thomas Reddall was the first Rector of the Parish of St. Peter in the 1820s.

Deadmans Creek
Its Aboriginal name, Tudera, may hold the key to why this creek is thus named. Tudera means 'place of the dead' and is believed to have been the location of a tribal burial ground or a fighting ground. Deadmans Creek is the English translation of the creek's Aboriginal name. The name has been in use since 1837 and was identified by that name on military maps and in street directories. Because of its connotations, the creek's Aboriginal name was adopted in 1925 but both names have remained in use.

Tucker Creek
Recalls James Tucker, a convict who arrived in the colony in 1827 and was assigned to the Airds district. Like Harris, he travelled throughout the colony on foot. He wrote of his experiences and observations of the Campbelltown district where he lived through a fictional character named Ralph Rashleigh.


O'Hares Creek

O'Hares Creek
Believed to be named after Patrick O'Hara, an Irish convict attached to the farm of Francis Gibbes of Minto.

Pheasant Creek
Believed to be named after Joseph Pheasant, who was granted land near the creek in 1803.

Punchbowl Creek
Thus named because it enters Gorges River in a "Punch Bowl" shaped circular lagoon called The Basin.

Dingo Creek
Native dog.

Gunyah Creek
An Aboriginal name for a hut or dwelling.

Kalibucca Creek
Said to be the Aboriginal word for a bent tallow tree.

Bringelly Creek
The name is believed to originate from the property of William Hutchinson who was granted 1000 acres in the locality of Bringelly and later added another 500 acres to this. He named his property 'Birling' after his wife's birthplace in England. It is suspected that the present name is a corruption of 'Birling' such as 'Birling Gully' however it may have another origin, perhaps Aboriginal.

Eagle Creek
The name may be taken from a pioneer homestead, the name of which was later changed to Eschol Park, though the homestead was some distance from the creek which did not flow through the property.

Lowes Creek
Recalls an early settler.


South Creek, St Marys

South Creek
It flows from the south.

Rileys Creek
Recalls free settler Alexander Riley who farmed a grant of 3000 acres on the corner of Bringelly and Cowpasture Roads, Leppington. It was here that the first cashmere goats were introduced to Australia, and the first Saxon merino sheep were bred in the colony from a small flock imported from Germany in 1817.

Bonds Creek
Possibly recalls an early settler.

Cabramatta Creek
From the name of the local Aboriginal tribe, the Cabrogal.

Maxwells Creek
Recalls an early settler.

Brickmakers Creek
A convict brickmaking facility was established on its banks in the 1820s to provide bricks for the town of Liverpool.

Cottage Creek
Possibly named because a cottage was built near it.

Grays Folly Creek
Believed to be named after an early white settler.

The Big Gully
Descriptive.

Wattle Creek
Descriptive of the type of vegetation around it.

Flaggy Creek
The name's origin is unknown.

Tabers Creek
Believed to be named after George Taber, a wheat and maize farmer in the Minto area who was also a Police Constable for a number of years.

Splitters Gully
A camp of timber splitters once existed on its banks.

Mount Hunter Creek
Named after Captain John Hunter, Governor of NSW when it and nearby Mt Hunter were first discovered by white explorers. Hunter was Governor of the colony of New South Wales between September 1795 and September 1800.

Sawpit Creek
Believed to refer to sawpits operated by F.E. Forbes with convict labour from 1832. Timber from the sawpits was used in shipbuilding on the upper reaches of the Georges River.

Spring Creek (Glenmore)
The name's origin is unknown. Sickles Creek
Origin unknown. A Major General Daniel Sickles was involved with the Battle of Gettysburg, but it is not known if the name refers to or is connected with him.

Narellan Creek
Taken from the name of the property of early white settler, Francis Mowatt, through which the creek flowed. William Hovell purchased the property from Mowatt, calling it Naralling. It is believed to be the Aboriginal name for the Appin area.

Mt Annan / Annan Creek
Believed to be linked to William Howe, an early landholder associated with localities close to the town of Annan and the River Annan.

Matahil Creek
The name is originally of Indian origin, being used as both a surname and christian name. To whom it relates is not known.

Foot Onslow Creek
Possibly has its origins with G. Onslow, who in 1841 is recorded as having a 52 acre farm at Holsworthy. How the name came to be corrupted to its present form, if indeed it did originate thus, is not known. May be an Anglicised corruption of its Aboriginal name. Foot Onslow Mountain is 2.5km to its west.

Menangle Creek
Derived from an Aboriginal word, spelt either as Manhangle or Manangle. It described a small lagoon near the Nepean River. It was here in 1805 that a 800 ha grant was taken up by Walter Davidson. He called his farm Manangle, after the lagoon.

Monkey Creek
The name's origin is unknown. Also known as Werriberri Creek.

Navigation Creek
The name's origin is unknown. As it is the widest creek from John Macarthur's Camden Park Estate to the Nepean River, it may have been chosen as the best creek to navigate to gain entry by boat to the property from the river, hence its name.

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