It’s heartening to see that waterways once used as dumping-grounds are now valued by the community and restored to places of beauty and ecological health.
Brown’s Creek, historically known as Crooked Creek, flows through the centre of Taree into the Manning River Estuary.1 In November 2011, a group of concerned community members, led by Bill Dennis, met to discuss the clean-up and beautification of Brown’s Creek. For over a century this waterway had become an extension of Taree’s drainage system, with sewerage, rubbish and unwanted items deposited into its waters.2 The result of this grassroots movement was the formation of ‘The Friends of Brown’s Creek / Crooked Creek’.
“There were dozens of shopping trolleys, hot water systems, there were kitchens…the amount of rubbish in the creek was astounding.” Nancy Dixon3
Initial work began with the removal of rubbish and vines from the creek bank and waterway. Their efforts were shared with the community through information stands at events. From humble beginnings raffling a lawnmower, the group received funding from local businesses and formed partnerships with several organisations. This support enabled volunteers to focus on their cleaning and planting program and to apply for grants.
The group has achieved astounding results over its eight-year history (2019). These results include beautification through tree-planting and gardens at Kanangra Drive and Wyoming Close, major drainage works on Kanangra Drive, a kayak launch site and roadside fencing. A boardwalk is currently (2019) being constructed along the creek for the public to enjoy this beautiful location. The environmental impact of this work includes the regrowth of mangroves, clean flowing waters and the return of fish, birds and water dragons.4 While the group continues to maintain Brown’s Creek, it is the responsibility of the community to care for and respect this revitalised waterway through the appropriate disposal of rubbish.5
Author: Janine Roberts
Supported by MidCoast Council Manning River Estuary Coastal Management Program.
1 NSW Government Gazette, 26 March 1885, Issue No. 131, Supplement, 2079.
2 Manning River Times, 30 October 1926, 8.
3 Interview with Nancy Dixon, Manning Regional Art Gallery, 29 August 2019.
4 Manning River Times, 23 November 2016, https://www.manningrivertimes.com.au/story/4312348/award-for-community-champion/
5 Interview with Bill Dennis, Friends of Brown’s Creek founding member, Taree, 18 December 2019.