Tag Archives: Throsby Creek

Throsby Creek – a history

The meandering watercourses of Throsby and Styx Creeks were originally mangrove lined, forming the beginning of the estuary leading into Newcastle Harbour. The clearing of the alluvial flats for cultivation resulted in erosion and siltation of the watercourses. These impacts were then exacerbated in the 1870s by the establishment of polluting industries along the banks. A slaughterhouse, a brewery and various other industries were established adjacent to Throsby Creek. Eventually, as a result, the creek became a ‘degraded, evil smelling drain’. 1

Despite its pollution in the early 1900s the creek was a prominent social and recreational area. Elaine Richards remembers during the depression that ‘Throsby Creek was a great place for boys wagging school to go swimming in the raw. Even at low tide they’d find a hole deep enough for a swim, the mud knee-deep and an abundance of old tin cans and cats that had ended up in a watery grave…The girls would walk primly past on their way to school, pretending not to see, except for one or two who would sneak a look’. 2

Source: provided courtesy of the University of Newcastle Cultural Collection

Source: provided courtesy of the University of Newcastle Cultural Collection

By 1910 the creek branched and re-joined itself where the TAFE oval and the dog park are to be found now (see the map, above). Major modifications to the creek were carried out during the 1930s depression. The banks of the creek below Maitland Road were cemented and the creek was converted into a storm water drain. During this time sharks often attacked horses and dogs swimming in the creek. In 1960 fishing in Throsby Creek was banned because of pollution. Despite this the Throsby Creek Regatta often held boat races in the water. 3

Source: provided courtesy of University of Newcastle Cultural Collection

Source: provided courtesy of University of Newcastle Cultural Collection

In 1979 Islington residents formed an action group called the Islington Residents Association. It was originally formed to oppose a petrol pipeline being built right through the middle of the residential suburb. This campaign failed but its 250 members subsequently began lobbying council to beautify Islington Park and improve Throsby Creek. 3

In 1989 the levels of heavy metals were still high and fishing continued to be banned. The Throsby Creek Regatta was re-established in 1990 as a public awareness campaign of the continuing poor water quality in Throsby Creek and again became an annual event. Rather than having the boat races in the creek, a dry land boat race was held call ‘Hardly on Throsby’. There were also carnival clowns, games, kite flying, gumboot throwing and environmental displays. 3

In 1989, after much lobbying from residents a Total Catchment Management Study was produced. This was the first such strategy in NSW and it provided a revolutionary turning point towards an integrated approach to future management of catchments all over NSW. Throsby Landcare was formed in 1990 as a sub-committee of the local residents group. It was one of the first urban Landcare groups in Australia. 9,13,14 Mangroves started to be planted along Throsby Creek from 1992.2,3,4

By 1993 the water quality in Throsby Creek had improved and it was announced that the annual ‘regatta will be getting wet for the first time’. The years of dedication and hard work were slowly starting to improve the condition of the creek. 3

Today the community continues to contribute time and hard work towards ensuring improvements in the quality of the water in Throsby Creek. Clean up Australia Day in Islington Park has removed large amounts of rubbish from the park and the creek and students at Islington Public School hold a number of ‘Binless’ days were no rubbish is allowed in lunchboxes.


  1. Newcastle City Council (2000). Islington Park Strategic Plan and Plans of Management – Heritage Places Strategic Plan Part I.
  2. Elaine Richards ‘Images of Islington’ Newcastle Herald, July 17, 1982
  3. Green Conscience – the ongoing struggle for a clean, green Newcastle – a history (2002). Wesley Uniting Employment Newcastle West.
  4. Ron Cummings, ‘Days Gone By on Throsby Creek’ in Turning the Tide – the Throsby Creek campaign produced by Throsby Land Care and the Tighes Hill, Islington and Maryville Residents Action Group.




Cleaning up Islington Park

Clean Up Australia Day 2011
Clean Up Australia Day is Australia’s biggest community participation event. In 2011 more than 565,510 volunteers across 7,400 sites collected an estimated 16,464 tonnes of rubbish across the country.
This year we’re cleaning up Islington Park again. Last year we had a committed band of 14 volunteers collect 28 bags of rubbish from the park and creek, if you’d like to help us out, meet us at the picnic shelter near the Islington Park playground on Sunday 4 March from 9.00 am.
Please wear covered shoes, long pants and a hat and bring gardening gloves if you have them. Bags will be provided. You can register beforehand at the Clean Up Australia Day website or just turn up on the day.
You can also check out photos from last year’s clean up and keep up to date with news and events on the Islington Village Facebook page.
Hope to see you there!

Works underway on Throsby Creek

Hunter Water have commenced rehabilitation works along Throsby Creek. The works will involve constructing rock toe protection and rock revetment on the creek banks behind the existing mangrove populations, as well as battering the bank. The construction work is planned to be completed on the Southern Bank by the end of March 2012, weather dependant. Works on the Northern Bank are expected to occur from early April to the end of May 2012.

During February and March access will be closed to the footpath/cycleway between Islington Park and Graham Bridge on the southern bank. For more details go to www.hunterwater.com.au.

Hunter Water’s rehabilitation plans for Throsby Creek

Throsby Creek erosion near Graham Bridge

At the June Islington Village Community Group meeting Julia Irwin and her colleagues from Hunter Water were invited to provide a presentation on Hunter Water’s proposed works to rehabilitate eroded sections of Throsby Creek.

The proposed works, which are currently scheduled to commence by the end of 2011, will involve construction of rock structures behind existing mangroves to stabilise the creek banks on the Maryville side of the creek from the Hunter Valley Research Foundation site to the Union Street footbridge, and on the Tighes Hill side of the creek from Graham Bridge upstream to Tighes Terrace. A concrete ramp will also be contructed on the creek bank downstream of the footbridge (on the Islington Park side) to allow access for Hunter Water maintenance.

The Hunter Water team also discussed studies currently underway to inform future works on the creek, including investigating options for removal of sediment and rubbish from the creek.

Once the rehabilitation works have been officially approved and scheduled Hunter Water will begin communicating with residents in the streets surrounding Islington Park on any impacts they may experience while the construction works are underway. Further information will also be published via this website and through the Tighes Hill Community Group website.

If you have any questions or concerns relating to the proposed works please email them to Graeme Pauley, coordinator of the Tighes Hill Community Group, at: coordinator@tigheshill.org or Paul McBain, coordinator of the Islington Village Community Group, at: islingtonvillagecg@hotmail.com.

Plans underway for new playground

Playground working group meeting

The Islington Park playground working group met on 21 May to discuss options for a proposed upgrade.

Over $210,000 has been committed by the former NSW Labor Government and The City of Newcastle for an upgrade of the children’s playground in Islington Park, and a process of community consultation has been underway since September 2010 to ensure the needs of playground visitors are addressed through the upgrade.

On Saturday 21 May around 15 members of the Islington Park playground working group met to discuss preferred options for the upgrade. Susan Denholm from the City of Newcastle’s Place Making program and Amber from Council’s Landscape Architecture section met with the group to discuss a range of options and costs. 

Some of the priorities identified were new equipment for a range of ages and abilities, incorporation of climb-able sculptures and structures for kids young and old to enjoy, landscaping and/or fencing to provide a barrier between the playground and the footpath/cycleway, and shade and seating for parents.

The environmental values of Throsby Creek and the surrounding area will provide an overall theme for the playground, incorporating natural and recycled materials where possible; and the skills, expertise, and imagination of local residents will be drawn on throughout the process to ensure this addition to Islington Park reflects the character, diversity and creativity within the community.

If you’d like to be kept informed on progress of the playground upgrade please send an email to islingtonvillagecg@hotmail.com or subscribe to this blog.

Cleaning up Throsby Creek

Islington ParkOn Sunday 6 March, local residents, business owners and vistors are being invited to help clean up litter in Islington Park as part of Clean Up Australia Day.

At least 80% of rubbish threatening marine life in our oceans is the result of land-based littering entering our storm water drains and finding its way out into our waterways. 

In 2010, 588,000 volunteers across Australia removed 15,560 tonnes of rubbish from 7,073 sites, making Clean Up Australia Day the largest community participation event in Australia. 

If you’d like to do your bit, you can join in at one of the many clean up sites registered in the Throsby catchment. You can join John Sutton at the mangroves boardwalk on Elizabeth St, Carrington from 9 am-midday or help clean up Islington Park from 1-5 pm, meeting at the picnic shelter near the playground.

If you can’t be there on the day, you can make a donation to a local clean up site to help raise funds towards cleaning up Australia. Go to www.cleanupaustraliaday.org.au for more information.

What would you like to see in Islington Park?

Islington ParkNewcastle City Council are currently undertaking community consultation to inform a plan for Council investment into Islington Park.

Up to 70 local residents attended two facilitated workshops in September and October 2010, and gave their thoughts on what they’d like to see happen in the park. Four key themes emerged from the workshops: the children’s playground, environmental issues, public art, and community events.

Representatives from the Islington Village Community Group and Tighes Hill Community Group volunteered to collect further information from the local community to help determine the top priorities within these key themes for Council investment. A brief online survey has been set up to help achieve this aim and will soon be available from this website.

If you’d like to receive notification when the survey is available, subscribe to receive posts via this website or email islingtonvillagecg@hotmail.com. If you’d like to provide your ideas in person, drop by the Islington Markets at Wickham Park this Sunday (28 November) and speak to a member of the Islington Village Community Group, or come along to the IVCG meeting at 6.30 pm Wednesday 1 December at Islington Public School.