Sunday 30 August 2020

Nepean River

Nepean River Cobbitty c. 1900-1910 (Camden Images)

The Nepean River

The Nepean River is one of the most essential waterways in the Sydney basin and has particular significance for Sydney's southwestern rural-urban fringe. Its catchment extends south and east of the Sydney Basin to take in areas near Robertson and Goulburn. West of Wollongong the tributaries including Cataract Creek, Avon River, Cordeaux River that flow north-west and then into the deep gorges of Pheasants Nest and Douglas Park.

The river opens up into a floodplain and flows past  Menangle and crosses the Cowpastures and southern Cumberland Plain past Camden and Cobbitty. The river then flows north through the gorge adjacent to Wallacia and enters Bents Basin before it is joined by the Warragamba River and changes its name to the Hawkesbury River.

The Nepean River is economically vital to the Sydney Basin and is used for mining, irrigation, recreation and other activities. It is ecologically significant to the area and has several rare and endangered species of plants.

Cultural importance

The river has a significant meaning in terms of its intangible cultural heritage to the local landscape. It defines the landscape and the construction of place in the localities along the river, including Menangle, Camden, and Cobbitty.

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There is the  Little Sandy at Camden, which was a favourite swimming spot for the local community.

The river floodplain is partly covered in Cumberland Woodland an endangered species in the Sydney Basin. Another endangered species in the local area is the Elderslie Banksia Scrub and the  Camden White Gum.

The river catchment is the most important in the Sydney basin and has significant cultural significance in the area.  One example is the 1925 Nepean River flood at Camden.

The Macarthur Bridge across the Nepean River is one of the most critical pieces of economic and social infrastructure in the Macarthur area.

In times of high rainfall, the river has particular characteristics which make flooding a problematic event for the local population. 

In 2006 Camden Council designated the historic Camden town centre in the Nepean River floodplain as a Heritage Conservation Area, and later incorporated it in the 2010 Local Environment Plan.
There is a local walkway located on the river floodplain called the Miss Lewella Davies Memorial Walkway.

Originally posted 2016 Updated 30 August 2020