Hawkesbury River

Last updated
Hawkesbury-Nepean River
Deerubbun
Hawkesbury River, Northern Sydney aerial.jpg
Aerial photograph showing the mouth of the Hawkesbury River as it flows into Broken Bay and out into the Tasman Sea, as seen looking across Sydney's Northern Beaches
Location
Country Australia
State New South Wales
Region Greater Metropolitan Sydney
Physical characteristics
Source Nepean River
 - locationnorth of Penrith
2nd source Grose River
Mouth Broken Bay
 - location
west of Lion Island
 - coordinates
33°33′53.9994″S151°18′0″E / 33.564999833°S 151.30000°E / -33.564999833; 151.30000 Coordinates: 33°33′53.9994″S151°18′0″E / 33.564999833°S 151.30000°E / -33.564999833; 151.30000
Length120 km (75 mi)
Basin size21,624.1 km2 (8,349.1 sq mi)
Discharge 
 - average95 m3/s (3,400 cu ft/s)
 - minimum0 m3/s (0 cu ft/s)
 - maximum15,000 m3/s (530,000 cu ft/s)
Basin features
Tributaries 
 - left Colo River, Webbs Creek, Macdonald River, Mangrove Creek, Popran Creek, Mooney Mooney Creek
 - rightCattai Creek, South Creek, Berowra Creek
Islands Milson Island, Peat Island, Spectacle Island, Long Island, and Dangar Island

The Hawkesbury River (also Hawkesbury-Nepean River), is a semi–mature tide dominated drowned valley estuary [1] located to the west and north of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The Hawkesbury River and its associated main tributary, the Nepean River, virtually encircle the metropolitan region of Sydney.

Tide The periodic change of sea levels caused by the gravitational and inertial effects of the Moon, the Sun and the rotation of the Earth

Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun, and the rotation of the Earth.

Ria A coastal inlet formed by the partial submergence of an unglaciated river valley

A ria is a coastal inlet formed by the partial submergence of an unglaciated river valley. It is a drowned river valley that remains open to the sea. Typically, rias have a dendritic, treelike outline although they can be straight and without significant branches. This pattern is inherited from the dendritic drainage pattern of the flooded river valley. The drowning of river valleys along a stretch of coast and formation of rias results in an extremely irregular and indented coastline. Often, there are naturally-occurring islands, which are summits of partly submerged, preexisting hill peaks.

Estuary A partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea

An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea.

Contents

The Hawkesbury River has its origin at the confluence of the Nepean River and the Grose River, to the north of Penrith and travels for approximately 120 kilometres (75 mi) in a north–easterly and then south–easterly direction to its mouth at Broken Bay, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from the Tasman Sea. The Hawkesbury River is the main tributary of Broken Bay. Secondary tributaries include Brisbane Water and Pittwater, that together with the Hawkesbury River flow into the Tasman Sea at Barrenjoey Head.

Grose River river in Australia

The Grose River, a perennial river that is part of the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, is located in the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales, Australia.

Penrith, New South Wales Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Penrith is a suburb and major centre in the metropolitan area of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is located in Greater Western Sydney, 50 kilometres (31 mi) west of the Sydney central business district on the banks of the Nepean River, on the outskirts of the Cumberland Plain. Its elevation is 25 metres (82 ft).

River mouth end of a river

A river mouth is the part of a river where the river debouches into another river, a lake, a reservoir, a sea, or an ocean.

The total catchment area of the river is approximately 21,624 square kilometres (8,349 sq mi) and the area is generally administered by the Hawkesbury–Nepean Catchment Management Authority.

The land adjacent to the Hawkesbury River was occupied by the Darkinjung, Darug, Eora, and Kuringgai Aboriginal peoples. They used the river as a source of food and a place for trade. [2]

Eora ethnic group of Southeastern Australia

The Eora(Yura) are an indigenous Australian people of New South Wales. Eora is the name given by the earliest settlers to a group of indigenous people belonging to the clans along the coastal area of what is now known as the Sydney basin, in New South Wales, Australia. Contact with the first white settlement's bridgehead into Australia quickly devastated much of the population through epidemics of smallpox and other diseases. Their descendants live on, though their languages, social system, way of life and traditions are mostly lost.

Kuringgai

Kuringgai is an ethnonym referring to (a) an hypothesis regarding an aggregation of indigenous Australian peoples occupying the territory between the southern borders of the Gamilaraay and the area around Sydney (b) perhaps an historical people with its own distinctive language, now lost, once located in part of that territory, or (c) people of aboriginal origin who identify themselves as descending from the original peoples denoted by (a) or (b) and who call themselves Guringai.

There are several hundred Indigenous peoples of Australia; many are groupings that existed before the British colonisation of Australia in 1788. Within each country, people lived in clan groups: extended families defined by various forms of Australian Aboriginal kinship. Inter-clan contact was common, as was inter-country contact, but there were strict protocols around this contact.

Course

Looking north-east across the Hawkesbury River, with Dangar Island to the right of the image. 2007 0817klklk0035.JPG
Looking north–east across the Hawkesbury River, with Dangar Island to the right of the image.
Looking south-east across the Hawkesbury River, from near Brooklyn. 2007 0817klklk0030.JPG
Looking south–east across the Hawkesbury River, from near Brooklyn.

The headwaters of the Hawkesbury River, the Avon River, the Cataract River, and the Cordeaux River, rise only a few miles from the sea, about 80 kilometres (50 mi) south of Sydney. These streams start on the inland-facing slopes of the plateau which forms the escarpment behind Wollongong. Flowing north-west, away from the sea, these streams combine to form the Nepean River, and flow north past the towns of Camden and Penrith. Near Penrith, the Warragamba River emerges from its canyon through the Blue Mountains and joins the Nepean. The Warragamba, formed by the joining of the Wollondilly River, the Nattai River, the Kowmung River and Coxs River drains a broad region of New South Wales on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range. The other principal component of the upper Hawkesbury river system, the Grose River, rises in the area of Mount Victoria in the Blue Mountains.

The Avon River, a perennial river of the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, is located in the Southern Highlands and Macarthur districts of New South Wales, Australia.

The Cataract River, a perennial river that is part of the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, is located in the Macarthur region of New South Wales, Australia.

The Cordeaux River, a perennial river of the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, is located in the Southern Highlands and Macarthur regions of New South Wales, Australia.

Once formed, the Hawkesbury River proper flows generally northwards, albeit with a significant number of meanders. Initially the river passes the towns of Richmond and Windsor, which are the largest settlements on the river. At Windsor, the river is joined by the South Creek, which drains much of the urban runoff in Sydney's western suburbs that does not fall into the Parramatta River catchment. As it flows north, it enters a more rural area, with only small settlements on the river. On this stretch it passes Sackville and Lower Portland, where it is joined by the Colo River. The Colo River and its tributaries drain the northern section of the Blue Mountains.

Meander A sinuous bend in a series in the channel of a river

A meander is one of a series of regular sinuous curves, bends, loops, turns, or windings in the channel of a river, stream, or other watercourse. It is produced by a stream or river swinging from side to side as it flows across its floodplain or shifts its channel within a valley. A meander is produced by a stream or river as it erodes the sediments comprising an outer, concave bank and deposits this and other sediment downstream on an inner, convex bank which is typically a point bar. The result of sediments being eroded from the outside concave bank and their deposition on an inside convex bank is the formation of a sinuous course as a channel migrates back and forth across the down-valley axis of a floodplain. The zone within which a meandering stream shifts its channel across either its floodplain or valley floor from time to time is known as a meander belt. It typically ranges from 15 to 18 times the width of the channel. Over time, meanders migrate downstream, sometimes in such a short time as to create civil engineering problems for local municipalities attempting to maintain stable roads and bridges.

Richmond, New South Wales Town in New South Wales, Australia

Richmond is a town in New South Wales, in the local government area of the City of Hawkesbury. It is located at a latitude of 33° 35' 54" South and a longitude of 150°45' 04" east, 19 metres above sea level on the alluvial Hawkesbury River flats, at the foot of the Blue Mountains. It is about 65 km by road from Sydney.

Windsor, New South Wales Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Windsor is a historic town north-west of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is in the Hawkesbury local government area, in the region of Greater Western Sydney. The town sits on the Hawkesbury River, enveloped by farmland and Australian bush. Many of the oldest surviving European buildings in Australia are located at Windsor. It is 46 kilometres (29 mi) north-west of metropolitan Sydney, on the fringes of urban sprawl.

From Lower Portland, the Hawkesbury River continues flowing northwards to the small community of Wisemans Ferry where it is joined by the Macdonald River. Here its course turns eastwards and the surrounding landscape gradually becomes steeper and more rugged. At Spencer, Mangrove Creek joins the river from the north. From here to the river mouth, road access to the river is limited to a few points.

Wisemans Ferry Cable ferry in NSW, Australia

Wisemans Ferry is a cable ferry across the Hawkesbury River in New South Wales, Australia. The ferry operates from the eponymous community of Wisemans Ferry on the south bank, to a point on the north bank downstream of the Hawkesbury River's confluence with the Macdonald River, connecting with the old Great North Road. The crossing has remained in use on its current site since 1829, making it the oldest ferry crossing still in operation in New South Wales, and possibly in Australia.

The Macdonald River is a perennial river located in the Hunter and Outer Metropolitan Sydney regions of New South Wales, Australia. It is a part of the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment.

Spencer, New South Wales Suburb of Central Coast, New South Wales, Australia

Spencer is a suburb of the Central Coast region of New South Wales, Australia. It is located on the north bank of the Hawkesbury River just upstream of that river's confluence with Mangrove Creek. Spencer is part of the Central Coast Council local government area.

At Milsons Passage, the river is joined by Berowra Creek from the south. In the area around Brooklyn the river is crossed by the major road and rail services that follow the coast north from Sydney. The river finally reaches the ocean at Broken Bay.

From the confluence of the Nepean and Grose Rivers to the sea, the Hawkesbury River has a total length of some 120 kilometres (75 mi). [3]

Islands

Islands in the Hawkesbury River include, in order going downstream are Barr Island, Milson Island, Peat Island, Spectacle Island, Long Island, and Dangar Island.

Crossings

Despite forming the effective boundary of the metropolitan region of Sydney for its entire length, there are very few fixed crossings of the Hawkesbury River proper. Going downstream, these comprise:

Crossing name
(Unofficial name)
North bank crossing locationSouth bank crossing locationComments/useImage
Richmond Bridge North Richmond Richmond A bridge that carries the historic Bells Line of Road and formerly carried the Kurrajong extension of the Richmond railway line.
Windsor Bridge Freemans Reach Windsor A bridge that carries the Putty Road.
Sackville Ferry Sackville A vehicular cable ferry. Sackville ferry gnangarra-15.jpg
Lower Portland Ferry Lower Portland A vehicular cable ferry.
Webbs Creek Ferry Wisemans Ferry A vehicular cable ferry just upstream of the settlement of Wisemans Creek. Webbs creek ferry-1w.jpg
Wisemans Ferry A vehicular cable ferry at the settlement of Wisemans Creek that carries the old Great North Road. Wisemans Ferry.jpg
Hawkesbury River Freeway Bridge Mooney Mooney Kangaroo Point Carries the Sydney-Newcastle Freeway parallel to Peats Ferry Bridge. Hawkesbury River road bridges.jpg
Peats Ferry Bridge An older bridge that carries the Pacific Highway.
Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge Cogra Point Brooklyn A bridge that carries the Main Northern railway line. Hawkesbury River rail bridge.jpg

In the lower reaches of the river there are also a few passenger ferries that cross the river. These include the Palm Beach Ferry service from Palm Beach to Ettalong and Wagstaffe, and the Hawkesbury River Ferries service from Brooklyn to Dangar Island and Little Wobby.

History

Aboriginal Australian history

The Aboriginal name for the river was published as Deerubbun in 1870. [4] The main Aboriginal tribe inhabiting the area was the Guringai or Eora, the Wannungine of the coastal area also inhabited and exploited the lands of the lower reaches (below Mangrove Creek). Also included the Darkinung people, whose lands were extensive on the lower Hawkesbury to Mangrove Creek, upper Hawkesbury, inland Hunter and lower Blue Mountains. [5] It has been regarded that the Guringai name for the Hawkesbury was 'Van Rupen'.

Australian history since colonisation

The Hawkesbury River was named by Governor Phillip in 1789 Australia nsw brooklyn obelisk.jpg
The Hawkesbury River was named by Governor Phillip in 1789

In 1789 two expeditions explored the Hawkesbury to the northwest of Sydney and the Nepean River to the southwest. It took about three years to realise they had discovered the same river system.[ citation needed ] Hawkesbury River was one of the pivotal positions of the Hawkesbury and Nepean Wars, a series of skirmishes and battles between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the resisting Indigenous clans that took place between late 1780s and late 1810s. [6]

The Hawkesbury River was one of the major transportation routes for transporting food from the surrounding area to Sydney during the 1800s. Boats would wait in the protection of Broken Bay and Pittwater, until favourable weather allowed them to make the ocean journey to Sydney Heads. With the opening of the railway from Sydney to Windsor in 1864, farm produce could be shipped upriver for onward transportation by train. However, by the 1880s the river had become silted up between Sackville and Windsor, and Sackville became the head of navigation for sea-going vessels. Until the end of the 19th century coastal steamers linked Sackville to Sydney. [7] [8] [9]

The Hawkesbury River was named by Governor Phillip in June 1789, after Charles Jenkinson, 1st Earl of Liverpool, who at that time was titled Baron Hawkesbury, after the Cotswold village of Hawkesbury Upton, where the Jenkinsons still live. [3] An obelisk was unveiled in 1939 at Brooklyn to commemorate the naming. In 1794, 22 families were granted land at Bardenarang, now known as Pitt Town Bottoms, near Windsor. In that same year, confrontations between Aboriginal people and settlers broke out. [10] [11]

River usage

Hawkesbury River Marina 2007 0817klklk0037.JPG
Hawkesbury River Marina
A seaplane on the Hawkesbury River A seaplane on the Hawkesbury River.jpg
A seaplane on the Hawkesbury River

The Hawkesbury River is navigable from Windsor to the sea. There are no dams or locks on the river, and the effects of the tide are felt as far as Windsor. [12]

Whilst use of the river to carry farm produce and other goods has now largely been superseded by road transport, the river remains the only form of access to a significant number of isolated homes and communities. This is especially true in the lower reaches of the river, where the steep and rugged terrain inhibits road construction. One consequence of this is the operation of Australia's last riverboat postman, a river service that delivers mail to properties on the river between Brooklyn and Spencer. [13]

Sporting activities

The Hawkesbury Canoe Classic, a 111 km canoe race, is held annually in October or November. The race starts at Windsor and finishes at Brooklyn. The Bridge to Bridge Water Ski Classic is a water ski race that is run in the opposite direction, from Dangar Island to Windsor. [14] [15] The Australian leg of the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series takes place in Hawkesbury. Windsor and also Dargle ski park on the Hawkesbury river each year hold a Circuit Boat race meeting with boats travelling from all over country

Commercial fishing

According to the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority, the Hawkesbury River estuary supports the second largest commercial coastal fishery of estuary prawns, oysters (prior to the outbreak of QX disease) and fish in NSW with a wholesale value of $6.3 million annually. [16]

Cultural references

Hawkesbury River by William Piguenit (1881) William Charles Piguenit00.jpg
Hawkesbury River by William Piguenit (1881)

See also

Related Research Articles

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Broken Bay bay

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Nepean River river in New South Wales, Australia

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City of Hawkesbury Local government area in New South Wales, Australia

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Pittwater estuary in Sydney, Australia

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Sackville North is a suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia 80 kilometres north-west of the Sydney central business district in the local government area of The Hills Shire.

Berowra Creek river in New South Wales, Australia

The Berowra Creek, a watercourse that is part of the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, is located to the north of the Sydney central business district in the Hornsby Shire of New South Wales, Australia.

Electoral district of Hawkesbury state electoral district of New South Wales, Australia

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Dangar Island Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Dangar Island is a forested island, 29 hectares in area, in the Hawkesbury River, just north of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Dangar Island is a suburb of Hornsby Shire and as at the 2016 census had a population of 303, which swells dramatically during holiday seasons. The island is serviced regularly by Brooklyn Ferry Service and departs from Brooklyn and takes about fifteen minutes. The Brooklyn ferry is itself adjacent to Hawkesbury River railway station. The ferry service is in operation 7 days a week.

Sackville, New South Wales Suburb of City of Hawkesbury, New South Wales, Australia

Sackville is a suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is located in the City of Hawkesbury and at the 2011 census had a population of 251.

Webbs Creek Ferry

Webbs Creek Ferry is a cable ferry across the Hawkesbury River in New South Wales, Australia. The ferry operates from the community of Wisemans Ferry, to a point up-stream of the Hawkesbury River's confluence with the Macdonald River, thus connecting with St Albans Road that follows the west bank of the Macdonald River.

The Mangrove Creek, a perennial river that is part of the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, is located in the Central Coast region of New South Wales, Australia.

Hawkesbury and Nepean Wars

During the Hawkesbury Settlement (1790–1816) there were a series of incidents between settlers and New South Wales Corps and the Indigenous clans of the Hawkesbury river.

The Webbs Creek, a perennial stream of the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, is located in the Outer Metropolitan Sydney region of New South Wales, Australia.

References

  1. Roy, P. S; Williams, R. J; Jones, A. R; Yassini, I; et al. (2001). "Structure and Function of South-east Australian Estuaries". Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science . 53: 351–384. doi:10.1006/ecss.2001.0796.
  2. Bear, Virginia (2010). "Aboriginal People of the Sydney Region". Australian Association of Bush Regenerators. Retrieved 27 December 2012.
  3. 1 2 "Hawkesbury River". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales . Retrieved 19 December 2008.
  4. "The River System, Geographical Outline". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 7. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
  5. "Darkinjung Recognition" (PDF). University of Sydney. 2010.
  6. Connor, John (2002). The Australian frontier wars, 1788–1838. Sydney: UNSW Press. ISBN   0-86840-756-9.
  7. Macken, James J. Martin Burke: The Father of Pittwater. National Library of Australia.
  8. "Sackville Ferry". New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority. Retrieved 18 November 2008.
  9. Purtell, Jean (1995). The Mosquito Fleet: Hawkesbury River Trade and Traders 1794-1994.
  10. "Hawkesbury River". National Museum of Australia. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28.
  11. "Conflict at the Hawkesbury". National Museum of Australia. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28.
  12. "Hawkesbury River - Windsor Tide Times". www.tide-times.com.au. Archived from the original on 31 July 2008. Retrieved 19 December 2008.
  13. "Australia's last Riverboat Postman". Hawkesbury River Tourist Services Pty Ltd. Retrieved 19 December 2008.
  14. "Hawkesbury Canoe Classic". Hawkesbury Canoe Classic. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
  15. "Bridge to Bridge Ski Race". NSW Water Ski Federation. Retrieved 2008-12-19.
  16. "Hawkesbury River Subcatchment". Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment Management Authority. Retrieved 2007-01-05.