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Scarborough Ponds

Local Waterways and Catchments

Cooks River Catchment I Wolli Creek Facts and Figures I Bardwell Creek Facts and Figures I Muddy Creek Facts and Figures I Bonnie Doon Facts and Figures I Spring Street Facts and Figures I Eve Street Facts and Figures I Georges River Catchment I Scarborough Ponds Facts and Figures I Waradiel Creek Facts and Figures I Bado-berong Creek Facts and Figures I Goomun Creek Facts and Figures I

The City of Rockdale is located on the foreshores of Botany Bay, between two major rivers, the Cooks River in the north and the Georges River in the south. These rivers form the two major catchments in the City: the Cooks River Catchment and the Georges River Catchment.

A catchment is an area of land bounded by natural high points (hills, ridges and mountains). Surface water (rainfall and run-off) flows down through the catchment area and into one low point (a creek, river or bay).

Most of the water that falls onto a natural or undeveloped catchment is absorbed by the soil and vegetation. In an urban or developed catchment, where surfaces are mostly covered by concrete and bitumen, stormwater run-off flows faster and larger quantities flow into creeks, causing erosion and flooding problems.

Catchments can be very large, and some even cross state boundaries. Anything that happens upstream in a catchment can have an adverse impact downstream, affecting water quality and the habitats of birds, aquatic plants and animals. That's why Council encourages residents to help local catchments by keeping our waterways clean.

Cooks River Catchment

Most of our City's stormwater flows into the Cooks River, which originates in Bankstown and flows 23km east to discharge into Botany Bay, just south of Sydney Airport.

The Cooks River Catchment is just over 100km2 in area. It crosses 13 local government areas. Rockdale City Council's proportion of the catchment (19.9 per cent) is the second largest, after Canterbury City Council (23.7 per cent).

It is a highly urbanised catchment, with a history of intensive land use, dominated by residential development and industrial areas concentrated in Botany, along Alexandra Canal within Tempe and in the southern portion of the Strathfield local government area. Little remains of the original vegetation, however the river still has parkland and open space along most of its length. There are six sub-catchments within Rockdale's Cooks River Catchment area, and facts and figures for each are outlined below.

Wolli Creek Facts and Figures

  • Tributary of the Cooks River
  • Rises in Beverley Hills adjacent to Canterbury Golf Course
  • Lined channel downstream of Kingsgrove Road to Bexley Road
  • Lower reaches to the Cooks River is largely in a 'natural' state, forming a defined but winding watercourse through the Wolli Creek Valley
  • Enters the Cooks River at Tempe Railway Bridge
  • Sub-catchment is 22 km2 and extends into the Cities of Canterbury and Hurstville
  • Overall, primarily residential, with small light industrial parcels located along the southern and lower reaches of Wolli Creek, and some remaining areas of bushland and parcels of open space

Bardwell Creek Facts and Figures

  • Major tributary of Wolli Creek
  • Upper reaches arise in Hurstville and drain in a north-easterly direction through Hurstville, Bexley North, Bardwell Park and Turrella
  • Flows through Bexley Municipal Golf Course in a narrow concrete-lined drain and passes under Stoney Creek Road
  • Runs in a semi-natural watercourse downstream of Ellerslie Road
  • Small sub-catchment (around 6.4km2) dominated by residential development and a significant area of open space including the Bardwell Valley Parklands and two golf courses in the City of Rockdale
  • Extends into the City of Hurstville

Muddy Creek Facts and Figures

  • Cooks River's last tributary before it flows into Botany Bay
  • Drains stormwater run-off to the north east from Carlton, Kogarah, Rockdale, Banksia, Brighton Le Sands and Kyeemagh
  • Consists of brick and concrete-lined channel (owned by Sydney Water)
  • Runs for approximately 4.3km from Hurstville to Bestic Street, Rockdale
  • Sub-catchment is 5.7km2 and is mainly residential, with small pockets of commercial areas, a few parks and a Chinese market garden

Bonnie Doon Facts and Figures

  • Very small (1.0km2) sub-catchment situated between Wolli Creek and the Cooks River at Arncliffe
  • Comprises some light industrial/commercial areas in Arncliffe, as well as Arncliffe Park and a few residential properties

Spring Street Facts and Figures

  • Sub-catchment of 2.7km2, featuring the Spring Creek Wetland
  • Wetland is a shallow brackish wetland and all water entry into the wetland is via two culverts that feed directly into the Spring Street drain
  • Spring Street drain is a concrete channel which drains the suburbs of Banksia and Rockdale and flows into Muddy Creek
  • Sub-catchment area is mainly residential, with park areas and a large Chinese market garden which borders the drain

Eve Street Facts and Figures

  • Sub-catchment of 0.4km2 comprising the Kogarah Golf Course, Barton Park and the Marsh Street and Eve Street wetlands (which support endangered and threatened species such as the Green and Golden Bellfrog)
  • Bisected by the M5 East motorway and includes areas of residential development

Georges River Catchment


The Georges River rises 5km south-east of Appin (near Campbelltown) and winds for 96km until it reaches Botany Bay. It is divided into three main sections: the upper (the freshwater section from Appin to the weir at Liverpool), the middle (from the Liverpool Weir to Salt Pan Creek) and the lower (Salt Pan Creek to Botany Bay).

The Georges River catchment area is approximately 920km2. It is highly urbanised, with various land uses, including: residential (it is the home to around two million people), industrial manufacturing, waste disposal, market gardens, an Army firing range, mining, commercial fishing operations, and a nuclear research facility. It also retains some large areas of natural bushland. The southern part of the Rockdale local government area is located in the lower section of the catchment, where the river meets the Bay.

There are four sub-catchments within Rockdale's Georges River Catchment area, and facts and figures for each are outlined below.

In 2003 the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales approved Council's application to rename three of the tidal creeks in the Georges River catchment. The creeks were known as 'Sans Souci Drains Number 1, 2 and 3'. Council renamed the creeks with Aboriginal names from the local Eora dialect of the Darug people. The names were chosen to reflect particular features of the area surrounding the creeks. Sans Souci Drain Number 1 was renamed 'Waradiel Creek', meaning 'Large Mullet', reflecting the fish that have inhabited the creek. Sans Souci Drain Number 2 was renamed 'Bado-berong Creek', meaning 'Small Fish' , recognising the creek's importance as a fish nursery. Sans Souci Drain Number 3 was renamed 'Goomun Creek', meaning 'Casuarina Creek', reflecting the species of tree that grow in the area.

Scarborough Ponds Facts and Figures

  • Discharges directly into Botany Bay, via concrete culverts below ground level, adjacent to Florence Street
  • Sub-catchment is 4km2 and drains parts of the Municipality of Kogarah
  • Southern end forms a tidal creek which is an important nursery habitat for fish in Botany Bay
  • Dominated by Scarborough Park which occupies a long central section of the Rockdale Wetlands Corridor
  • Park consists of a series of linked ponds flanked by grassed parklands, many of which are dedicated to sports playing fields
  • Two small pockets of industrial/commercial areas located along West Botany Street and Phillips Road/Production Avenue
  • Commercial strip along Rocky Point Road
  • Also contains low to medium density residential areas

Waradiel Creek Facts and Figures

  • 0.6km2 sub-catchment that drains Dolls Point and parts of Ramsgate
  • Depena Reserve makes up a significant area of its open space
  • Comprises the Ramsgate Road shopping centre and low-medium density residential properties
  • Discharges into Sandringham Bay on the Georges River

Bado-berong Creek Facts and Figures

  • 1.3km2 sub-catchment forming the southern end of the Rockdale Wetlands Corridor
  • Dominated by areas of parkland/open space, low-medium density residential properties and a section of commercial premises along Rocky Point Road.
  • Drains through Stan Moses Reserve and Scott Park Wetland into the Georges River at Riverside Drive

Goomun Creek Facts and Figures

  • 1.1km2 sub-catchment which drains the suburb of Sans Souci
  • Dominated by medium-high density residential areas
  • Passes under Rocky Point Road
  • Discharges into Kogarah Bay, in the Municipality of Kogarah

Read about Council's stormwater management initiatives.


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