Aerial view across the mouth of the Parramatta River as it reaches in Port Jackson, looking east
|Etymology||Burramattagal, meaning 'the head of the river' or 'the place where the eels sit down'|
|State||New South Wales|
|LGAs||Parramatta, Ryde, Canada Bay, Hunter's Hill, Inner West|
|- location||Old Toongabbie|
|2nd source||Darling Mills Creek|
|- location||North Parramatta|
|Greenwich and Birchgrove|
|Length||13.7 km (8.5 mi)|
|Basin size||252.4 km2 (97.5 sq mi)|
|- left||Vineyard Creek, Ponds Subiaco Creek, Archer Creek, Smalls Creek, Charity Creek, Tarban Creek, Lane Cove River|
|- right||Duck River, Haslams Creek, Powells Creek, Iron Cove Creek, Hawthorne Canal|
The Parramatta River is an intermediate tide dominated, drowned valley estuary 5.1 metres (17 ft), the Parramatta River is the main tributary of Sydney Harbour, a branch of Port Jackson. Secondary tributaries include the smaller Lane Cove and Duck rivers[ clarification needed ].located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. With an average depth of
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.
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.
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.
Formed by the confluence of Toongabbie Creek and Darling Mills Creek at North Parramatta, 21 kilometres (13 mi) from the Tasman Sea.the river flows in an easterly direction to a line between Yurulbin, Birchgrove and Manns Point, Greenwich. Here it flows into Port Jackson, about
In geography, a confluence occurs where two or more flowing bodies of water join together to form a single channel. A confluence can occur in several configurations: at the point where a tributary joins a larger river ; or where two streams meet to become the source of a river of a new name ; or where two separated channels of a river rejoin at the downstream end.
Toongabbie Creek, an urban watercourse that is part of the Parramatta River catchment, is located in Greater Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
The Darling Mills Creek, an urban watercourse that is part of the Parramatta River catchment, is located in Greater Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
The total catchment area of the river is approximately 252.4 square kilometres (97.5 sq mi) and is tidal to Charles Street Weir in Parramatta, approximately 30 kilometres (19 mi) from the Sydney Heads.
The Sydney Heads are a series of headlands that form the 2 km (1.2 mi) wide entrance to Sydney Harbour in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. North Head and Quarantine Head are to the north; South Head and Dunbar Head are to the south; and Middle Head, Georges Head, and Chowder Head are to the west and within the harbour. The Heads are contained within the Sydney Harbour National Park.
The land adjacent to the Parramatta River was occupied for many thousands of years by the Burramattagal, Toongagal, Wallumattagal, Wangal, and Wategora Aboriginal peoples. They used the river as an important source of food and a place for trade.
The Wallumettagal or Wallumedegal tribe was an indigenous Aboriginal tribe that inhabited the area of Sydney today known as the Ryde–Hunters Hill area of the Northern Suburbs. Common Aboriginal names in this part of Lower Northern Sydney also include Willandra and Jacaranda. Specifically the region is described as "North shore of the Parramatta River, including the City of Ryde, from the intersection of the Lane Cove River and west to Parramatta." The Wallumedegal are listed as part of the Eora.
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.
The headwaters of the Parramatta River are formed by the confluence of Darling Mills Creek and Toongabbie Creek. The point of the confluence lies on the northern border of the grounds of Cumberland Hospital. It also lies on the boundary of the suburbs of Westmead, Northmead, and North Parramatta.
Cumberland Hospital is a public psychiatric hospital located in Westmead, in Sydney's west. Along with Bungarribee House, Blacktown Hospital it serves the mental health needs of Western Sydney. As a public hospital it is part of Sydney West Area Health Service (SWAHS).
Westmead is a suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Westmead is 26 kilometres (16 mi) west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government areas of the City of Parramatta and Cumberland Council; and is part of the Greater Western Sydney region.
Northmead is a suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Northmead is located 26 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Parramatta. Northmead is part of the Greater Western Sydney region.
Waterways flowing into the Parramatta River, west–to–east include:
From its headwaters at Toongabbie, the river flows in a southerly direction through the grounds of Cumberland Hospital. Entering Parramatta Park, it then turns west and flows through the Parramatta CBD. Both banks are largely open to the public, with parkland and walkways, downstream to James Ruse Drive. The river is fed by a number of small creeks and stormwater drains.
The waters are controlled by a series of weirs: the weir at the edge of the hospital grounds, the Kiosk Weir in Parramatta Park, the Marsden Street Weir, and the Charles Street Weir at the ferry wharf. The weirs have been equipped with fish ladders. Kiosk Weir and Charles Street Weir also include footbridges enabling a crossing of the river. Historically, the river was dammed to provide reservoirs for the town. Currently, however, the function of the weirs is aesthetic, preventing the water from draining away during dry periods. As a consequence the river floods in heavy rain, particularly at the Charles Street Weir. The Charles Street Weir forms the boundary between fresh water and salt water, and is also the limit of tides.
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The whole of Sydney Harbour including its tributary rivers is subject to a long range Catchment Management Plan. The Government has almost eliminated local representation by eliminating the former local catchment management boards.
The New South Wales Government has a documented policy in relation to access to the harbour and river foreshores, including public access to intertidal lands where landowners have absolute waterfronts but where the waterfront is exposed at low tide. Moorings and jetties are the responsibility of Roads and Maritime Services, who are also responsible for the management of the Harbour and river seabed. Many bays contain swing moorings, mostly privately owned, but some associated with commercial marinas.
Along the Parramatta River many hands have made lighter work, in the community-wide effort to make the entire river swimmable again by 2025, starting with the opening of Lake Parramatta in 2014. Thirteen councils sit within the Parramatta River catchment group and all have committed to tackling the two major polluters: sewer overflows and stormwater.
There are River Cat services along the Parramatta River to Circular Quay. The main wharves, west–to–east are:
|Wharf name||Suburb||Location on side of river||Image|
|Parramatta ferry wharf||Parramatta||Southern|
|Rydalmere ferry wharf||Rydalmere||Northern|
|Sydney Olympic Park ferry wharf||Sydney Olympic Park precinct||Southern|
|Meadowbank ferry wharf||Meadowbank||Northern|
|Kissing Point ferry wharf||Kissing Point||Northern|
|Cabarita ferry wharf||Cabarita Park||Southern|
|Abbotsford ferry wharf||Abbotsford||Southern|
|Chiswick ferry wharf||Five Dock||Southern|
|Huntleys Point ferry wharf||Gladesville||Northern|
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The Parramatta River, along with Sydney Harbour, is the most significant waterway in Sydney. Since settlement, the river and the harbour have presented a formidable barrier between the early–European settled southern Farm Cove precinct, to development north of the waterway. Together, Parramatta River and Port Jackson literally cut Sydney in half along its north–south axis.
As a result, the many crossings are extremely important to the life of the city. From west–to–east, the crossings of the Parramatta River are located at:
|Southern crossing location||Northern crossing location||Comments/use||Image|
|Rings Bridge||Parramatta||A bridge which carries vehicular and pedestrian traffic north-south along O'Connell Street.|
|Bernie Banton Bridge||Parramatta||A multi-span concrete girder bridge which carries vehicular and pedestrian traffic north-south along Marsden Street. Originally built in 1971 to replace the frequently flooded Marsden Street Weir, the bridge was named the Marsden Street Bridge. The bridge was then renamed in 2006 in honour of the asbestos diseases campaigner Bernie Banton.|
|Lennox Bridge||Parramatta||A stone arch bridge designed by David Lennox and constructed with convict labour between 1836 and 1839 that carries vehicular traffic north–south along Church Street|
|Barry Wilde Bridge||Parramatta|
|Elizabeth St Footbridge||Parramatta||A pedestrian bridge incorporating Wake, an artwork by Milne and Stonehouse|
|The Macarthur Bridge|
|Parramatta||Completed in 1885, this is an historic iron lattice bridge named for the gasworks which used to be situated nearby|
|James Ruse Drive bridge||Camellia||Rydalmere||A concrete span road bridge that carries vehicular traffic north–south along James Ruse Drive|
| Clyde–Carlingford railway bridge |
(Camellia Railway Bridge)
|Camellia||Rydalmere||With adjacent water pipe bridge on the Carlingford railway line|
|Thackeray Bridge||Camellia||Rydalmere||A pedestrian bridge|
|Silverwater Bridge||Silverwater||Rydalmere||A concrete span road bridge that carries vehicular traffic north–south along Silverwater Road, opened in 1962|
|John Whitton Bridge||Rhodes||Meadowbank||A railway bridge servicing the Main Northern railway line|
|Parramatta River Underbridge|
(Old John Whitton Bridge)
|Rhodes||Meadowbank||The former railway bridge that has since been converted for pedestrian and cyclist use, north–south|
|Ryde Bridge||Rhodes||Ryde||A dual bridge that carries vehicular traffic north–south|
|Mortlake Ferry||Mortlake||Putney||A cable ferry that carries vehicular and passenger traffic north–south, operating since 1928|
|Gladesville Bridge|| Drummoyne |
| Huntleys Point |
|Completed in 1964, this single span concrete arch bridge carries vehicular traffic east–west along Victoria Road. The existing bridge replaced the Parramatta River Bridge, erected in 1881, carrying both vehicles and trams.|
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Until 1970 the river was an open drain for Sydney's industry and consequently the southern central embayments are contaminated with a range of heavy metals and chemicals. The Northern Bays are less affected as the Sydney Harbour Bridge was not completed until 1932 and so industrial development was already well established on the southern side of the Harbour.
Dr Gavin Birch of the University of Sydney has published a number of paperswhich show that Sydney Harbour is as contaminated as most other harbours in industrialised cities, that the main sediment contamination is in the southern central embayments (Blackwattle to Homebush Bays), that there are five particularly contaminated areas of Sydney Harbour, and that four of them are in the Parramatta river system.
The main contaminated areas of the Parramatta River are:
Water quality is monitored by the Office of Environment and Heritage (New South Wales) (OEH) for faecal coliforms and e. coli, but only as far west as Cabarita. OEH does not monitor water quality further west on the river, despite increasing development and the use of the river for recreational boating. In the areas monitored, the water quality is generally acceptable except after heavy rains.
The Parramatta River is subject to a number of fishing bans because of its contaminated sediments. There is a complete fishing ban in Homebush Bay because of the dioxin contamination. In 2006 the NSW Government imposed a complete commercial fishing ban throughout the rest of Sydney Harbour and its tributaries, including the Parramatta River west of the Harbour Bridge, which remained in place until 2011.
The Parramatta River is one of the few significant coastal rivers in New South Wales which has not been the subject of an investigation by the Healthy Rivers Commission. The Cooks River and Botany Bay have been subject to such an investigation. Some have campaigned for a Healthy Rivers Commission inquiry to bring together all the information on the state of the river and its sediments and fish and assist in watershed management.
Major wetlands include:
There are significant stands of mangroves along the river west of Henley (on the river's northern shore) and Mortlake (on the river's southern shore) and in the Lane Cove River. The mangroves have actually colonised areas that were previously salt marsh. Research into historical drawings and writings indicates that the mangroves were far fewer at English colonisation. Council information panels in Glades Bay explain that the bay's now extensive mangrove stands would once have been open water, sandy beaches and outcrops of rock. Land clearing and development has allowed soil and various nutrients to be washed into the river. This has provided an ideal environment for mangroves to colonise. The excessive siltation of the river is an ongoing problem.
Many areas of the river, particularly the swampy heads of bays, have been reclaimed, often being used as rubbish dumps before being converted into playing fields. Large sections of Meadowbank Park were created in this manner. Some industrial sites were also reclaimed heavily from the river, particularly in Homebush Bay. Most creeks leading into the bays have been channelised (lined with concrete walls and floor).
While some areas of the river with heavily contaminated sediments have not been remediated, there is significant remediation of sediments about to start in Homebush Bay. These include the dioxin contaminated sediments near the former Union Carbide plant and the lead contaminated sediments near the former Berger Paints plant. The former AGL site has been analysed, a remediation plan developed and approved, remediation completed and construction commenced on medium to high density residential development, but the sediments, which independent research shows to be contaminated with pollutants from the AGL operations, have not yet had the investigation stage finalised (as of 2000 [update] ).
Other areas have had sediments covered with concrete to prevent the fish eating the benthos. Some of these companies claim that the contamination is best left alone, but environmentalists have argued that the contamination could be being passed up the food chain and claim that the companies are trying to avoid the costs incurred in pollution cleanup.
There are a number of sailing and yachting clubs on the River:
Sailing and rowing take place under an aquatic licence granted annually by Roads and Maritime Services.
There are Sea Scouts at:
The river has a long historical association with rowing. There is a monument in honour of Henry Searle, a champion sculler of his day, in the river at Henley.
Some of the school rowing sheds are:
There are also a number of rowing clubs:
While a number of regattas are still held on the river each year, mainly in Iron Cove and Hen and Chicken Bay, many of the major regattas are now held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre (SIRC), adjacent to the Nepean River, where rowing was held for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Early GPS Schoolboy Head of the River races were held on the Parramatta River before moving to the Nepean River and later SIRC.
Most rowing training is done in the middle to upper reaches of the river between Abbotsford and Homebush Bay because there is less water traffic and therefore less waves and more protection from wind. Rowing also takes place in the Lane Cove River and Iron Cove which have less traffic.
Much of the foreshore is still in the hands of industry and private individuals as residences, however there is an increasing amount of waterfront land available as foreshore reserve with walkways and cycleways. As former industrial sites undergo remediation and redevelopment, the foreshores are opened up for public access. Where there is no foreshore access, cycleways are routed through quiet residential streets with clearly marked sections of the road reserved for cyclists.
Major foreshore parks include:
Major heritage buildings, all listed on the Register of the National Estate,on or near the foreshore include:
Port Jackson, consisting of the waters of Sydney Harbour, Middle Harbour, North Harbour and the Lane Cove and Parramatta Rivers, is the ria or natural harbour of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The harbour is an inlet of the Tasman Sea. It is the location of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The location of the first European settlement and colony on the Australian mainland, Port Jackson has continued to play a key role in the history and development of Sydney.
Gladesville Bridge is an arch bridge near Gladesville that spans the Parramatta River, west of central Sydney, Australia. It links the suburbs of Huntleys Point and Drummoyne. It is a few kilometres upstream of the more famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and is part of Victoria Road. When it was completed in 1964, Gladesville Bridge was the longest single span concrete arch ever constructed. Gladesville Bridge is the largest of a complex of three bridges, including Fig Tree Bridge and Tarban Creek Bridge, designed to carry traffic as part of the North Western Expressway. The bridge was the first phase of this freeway project that was to connect traffic from the Newcastle via Wahroonga/Lane Cove, then through Glebe/Annandale to connect into the city. Due to community action the freeway project was abandoned by the Wran government in 1977, leaving the Gladesville bridge connecting the existing arterial roads.
Rhodes is a suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Rhodes is located 16 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Canada Bay. It was formerly part of Concord Municipality until a merger with Drummoyne Council to form Canada Bay in December 2000.
Homebush Bay is a bay on the south bank of the Parramatta River, in the Inner West of Sydney, Australia. The name is also sometimes used to refer to an area to the west and south of the bay itself, which was formerly an official suburb of Sydney, and has now become the suburbs of Sydney Olympic Park, Wentworth Point and part of the neighbouring suburb of Lidcombe. Homebush Bay is located 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) west of the Sydney central business district, and is split between the local government areas of City of Parramatta and City of Canada Bay. Homebush and Homebush West are separate suburbs.
The Lane Cove River, a northern tributary of the Parramatta River, is a tide-dominated, drowned valley estuary west of Sydney Harbour, located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The river is a tributary of the Parramatta River, winding through a bushland valley. It joins Parramatta River at Greenwich and Woolwich, where together they form an arm of Sydney Harbour.
Meadowbank is a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Meadowbank is located 15 kilometres west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the City of Ryde and part of the Northern Suburbs area. Meadowbank sits in a valley on the northern bank of the Parramatta River.
Iron Cove is a bay on the Parramatta River, in the inner-west of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. It is approximately 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) due west of Sydney's central business district. It is surrounded by the suburbs of Birchgrove, Balmain, Rozelle, Lilyfield, Haberfield, Five Dock, Rodd Point, Russell Lea and Drummoyne. The bay extends from Longnose Point to the south-west and is fed by the Hawthorne Canal and the Iron Cove Creek.
The Tarban Creek Bridge, a prestressed concrete arch bridge that spans the Tarban Creek, is located west of the Sydney central business district in New South Wales, Australia. The bridge is situated between the Gladesville Bridge and the Fig Tree Bridge, being immediately to the north of Gladesville Bridge. The bridge carries the Burns Bay Road and a footpath and connects the suburbs of Hunters Hill and Huntleys Point.
Fig Tree Bridge is a concrete girder bridge that spans the Lane Cove River, 7 km northwest of the central business district of Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. It is immediately to the north of Tarban Creek Bridge. The bridge carries Burns Bay Road and a footpath and connects the suburbs of Hunters Hill and Linley Point.
Parramatta River ferry services connect suburbs along the Parramatta River in Sydney with Circular Quay by commuter ferry. The services are numbered F3 and form part of the Sydney Ferries network.
Huntleys Cove is a suburb in the Northern Suburbs of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Huntleys Cove is located 9 kilometres north-west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the Municipality of Hunter's Hill. Huntleys Cove sits on the peninsula between Tarban Creek and the Parramatta River.
Iron Cove Creek, a southern tributary of the Parramatta River, is an urban stream west of Sydney Harbour, located in the inner-western Sydney suburbs of Croydon, Ashfield, Haberfield and Five Dock in New South Wales, Australia.
Powells Creek, a southern tributary of the Parramatta River, is an urban stream west of Sydney Harbour, located in Sydney, Australia. It flows through Sydney Olympic Park and joins Parramatta River at Homebush Bay.
Haslams Creek, a southern tributary of the Parramatta River, is a creek west of Sydney Harbour, located in Sydney, Australia. It flows through Sydney Olympic Park and joins Parramatta River at Homebush Bay.
Tarban Creek, a northern tributary of the Parramatta River, is a creek west of Sydney Harbour, in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Bike paths in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, vary widely, with the majority either shared cycle and pedestrian paths or on road paths, and a small number of separated cycleways. In 2009 the Sydney Morning Herald reported that "Sydney's cycleways are not so much an organised network as a fragmented collection of winding paths and half-finished ideas. Most were built or designed when cycling was viewed as a pleasant pastime rather than a practical form of travel and are now poorly suited to commuting."
Charity Creek, a northern tributary of the Parramatta River, is a creek west of Sydney Harbour, located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It joins Parramatta River at Meadowbank Park, Meadowbank.
Smalls Creek, a northern tributary of the Parramatta River, is a creek west of Sydney Harbour, located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It joins Parramatta River at Meadowbank Park, Meadowbank.
Archer Creek, a northern tributary of the Parramatta River, is a creek west of Sydney Harbour, located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It joins Parramatta River at Meadowbank Park, Meadowbank.
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