The Georges River runs roughly South to North before reaching Liverpool,
where it turns right and heads out into Botany Bay. I live in the South to
North section. East of the river is a pristine wilderness that has
belonged to the military for many decades. To the west is the ever
expanding greater Sydney, with a buffer zone next to the river of a nature
reserve created by the Campbelltown City Council.
Close to the headwaters of The Georges River there is an underground coal
mine, near a small town called Appin. This coal mine contributes a
noticeable quantity of sediment to the river. So much so that the bottom
of the river cannot be seen when the river is running. In addition the mine causes cracks
in the river bed that lets the river disappear underground and can release a
flammable gas into the river. A new crack was reported in a local paper,
where the river bed, which has never been seen dry, was so for a 200 metre
Further downstream the river meets a creek called O'Hares, near "The Wool
Wash" which provides a significant amount of clean water to the river. At
around this point the river is a few dozen metres down from the surrounding
land. Here a new suburb, and old suburb and a disused council tip are
located and further downstream "acreage" homes, a Russian retirement village
back onto the nature reserve. (There is also Australia's oldest nudist
It is around this junction that something enters the river that causes a
green slime to exist in the river. I don't know what it is but it has been
suggested to me that it is an algae caused by runoff from urban environments. ie
"blue-green" algae. This slime becomes more prevalent when the flow of the river
is low and slow.
As it happens the day I read the article I went on one of my walks beside the
river, to test out a new camera - near a place called Frere's Crossing, a few
kilometres downstream of the reported dry river bed and to a lesser distance the
junction of O'Hares creek.
Below are the images I took that day.
What I saw was a river that had as good as stopped flowing. This crossing is
a natural rocky platform that allowed early settlers to access the land now
owned by the military. (As an aside, on another day here I
bumped into an elderly gentleman who for the last few decades had been
cataloguing Aboriginal sites in the area owned by the military. He showed
me a topographical map of hundreds of such sites, so I guess the military has
done us a great cultural favour by keeping such an area pristine.)
Back to the story - the river below the crossing was at the lowest I can
recall seeing it. I have been walking this river and photographing it for
15 years. The green slime had dried into clumps on the dry parts of the
lowered river bed. The rock pools were chocked with the slime and lumps of
slime floated on the river surface, pushed upsteam by the breeze. There
were no fish.
Have a good look. Is industry and urban expansion killing the river?
Was the loss of river flow coupled with urban runoff causing this? We also
have had a dry summer but the river has flowed in the past.
See for yourself man's inhumanity to nature.