|Basin countries||Victoria, Australia|
The river was named from an Aboriginal word darwhin.
The Tarwin River is South Gippsland Shire’s primary river system with a catchment area of approximately 1500km2, predominantly rural with small pockets of residential land use. It flows south from the Strezlecki Ranges and discharges at the eastern end of Andersons Inlet, a shallow estuary connected to Bass Strait. Major tributaries include Tarwin River East and Fish Creek.
Tarwin River East originates to the east of the township of Dollar in the mountains that form the Shire’s eastern boundary. The river then heads north through Tarwin East and on to Mirboo before swinging around the north of the township and heading south through a valley, breaking out on to cleared farmland north of Dumbalk where the river is up to 12m wide with slow flowing water when not in flood. The river continues south until it meets up with the West Branch forming the Tarwin River.
Tarwin River West extends far to the north, rising as a number of tributaries at 500m altitude on the southern slopes of the Strzelecki Ranges at the south of Mount Worth State Park. It flows 18 km through mostly steep, cleared farmlands with the small Watkins Ck flowing through steep scrub-covered farmland and joining the river at Allambee South. Tarwin River West is further fed by Berrys, Toomey, Wilkur, Ruby and Coalition Creeks on its way south. Allambee South to Meeniyan is 35 km in length and generally flows through flat and rolling farmland.
Berry’s Creek is a major tributary of the West Branch flowing through moderately sloping farmland in its upper and middle reaches onto flat farmland near the Leongatha/Mirboo Highway, the river varies from a 2-6m channel width upstream to a 3-8m width downstream and joins the West Branch just west of Berrys Creek township.
Wilkur Ck has a low flow in summer and may dry up completely.
Ruby Ck has four domestic water reservoirs (including Sir Herbert Hyland Dam and Western Reservoir) situated in steep gullies in open hilly country and totalling 2,235ML. Ruby Ck flows into Coalition Ck just north of Leongatha.
Coalition Ck has two domestic water reservoirs on stream which influence flow and are controlled by South Gippsland Water.
The confluence of the East & West Branches occurs near the town of Meeniyan, from which the main Tarwin River continues for another 30 km through flat farmland to the estuary. It is fed by Stony, Bridge, Fish and Bald Hill Creeks.
Fish Creek is a major contributor to Tarwin River passing around the township of Fish Creek and through open farmland until it joins Bald Hill Creek just east of the confluence between Bald Hill Creek and Tarwin River between Tarwin Middle and Tarwin Lower.
The river then heads west through flat open river flats, passing around Tarwin Lower, flooding many local roads and then flowing into an extensive estuary Andersons Inlet and eventually into Bass Strait. The lower reaches of the Tarwin and other waterways that outfall into the bays can be affected by tidal influences.
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