Oxley Creek

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Canoe Creek
Oxley Creek, Brisbane 1a.jpg
Oxley Creek seen from Sherwood Road
Country Australia
State Queensland
Region South East Queensland
Part of Brisbane River
Source Mount Perry, Queensland
Mouth confluence with the Brisbane River
 - location Tennyson
Pontoon in Oxley, 2010

Oxley Creek is situated in South East Queensland, Australia and is one of the major tributaries of the Brisbane River with an estimated 260 square kilometres in area. Water from the large catchment area flows into Oxley Creek as it flows through the low hills in Scenic Rim Region, through western parts of Logan City and into Brisbane. It is Brisbane's longest creek and the only sand-based one in the city.[1]

Oxley Creek is crossed by the Ipswich Motorway and Logan Motorway. The creek is tidal upstream to the Ipswich Motorway crossing.[2] In the suburbs of Oxley, Corinda and Tennyson the lower reaches of the creek contain the Oxley Creek Canoe Trail and are bordered by houses, parks, a driving range and sports fields. In these areas it is heavily polluted. These winding areas for the creek's catchment are prone to flooding, especially if there is an overflow on the Rocklea flood plains from the tributary Stable Swamp Creek.


The creek was named after John Oxley who first surveyed it in December 1823. Initially Oxley had called the creek the Canoe Creek.[3] This was in recognition of the first Europeans to reach the creek, Thomas Pamphlett, John Finnegan, Richard Parsons who reached the area after being shipwrecked on Stradbroke Island. At Oxley Creek the three found two canoe, one of which was used to cross the river and travel downstream.[4] By 1925 it had become known as Oxley Creek.[3]

As early as 1828, hoop pine was being felled near the mouth of Oxley Creek and in the area that is today[when?] known as Chelmer and Graceville.[4] In 1852, the first public bridge over the creek was built for the dray road that led to Ipswich.[4] By the 1860s timber cutters from Brisbane were entering the Oxley Creek flood plain.[4] The creek and tributaries were described as being surrounded by dense scrubland with patches of sub-tropical rainforest.

In 2006, the Brisbane City Council established the Lord Mayor's Oxley Creek Catchment Taskforce in an effort to rehabilitate the creek and its catchment.[1] In 2012, the taskforce was awarded 1st place in its category at the Healthy Waterways Awards.[5]


The upper catchment area of Stable Swamp Creek extends eastwards into Sunnybank

Tributaries of Oxley Creek include Crewes Creek, Blunder Creek, Sheep Station Gully, Stable Swamp Creek, Rocky Water Holes Creek, Little Doris Creek and Moolabin Creek.

The headwaters of Oxley Creek begin on the northern slopes of Mount Perry, south of Ipswich, in the Scenic Rim Region. From here, the creek flows northwards about 70 kilometres (43 mi), eventually discharging into the Brisbane River at Tennyson.

Oxley Creek's upper catchment is sparsely populated and largely natural, with forested hills and grazing land. However, in other parts of the catchment, urban development has had great impact. In the middle and lower catchment, Oxley Creek and its tributaries flow through 28 Brisbane suburbs including Algester, Corinda, Darra, Durack, Forest Lake, Moorooka, Salisbury, Sunnybank Hills, Graceville and Sherwood. Major industrial areas of Acacia Ridge, Coopers Plains and Rocklea are located in the catchment, as well as waste water treatment plants at Oxley and Inala, and the vicinity of Archerfield Airport.

Environmental concerns[edit]

Residential and industry development, sewage, sediment, land clearing and sand mining in the catchment have greatly affected the water quality of Oxley Creek, particularly in its lower reaches. At Larapinta sand mining converted the anabranch into the main stream, leaving a series of lagoons.[6]

Key environmental issues that face the catchment include rapid population increase and development, altered flow patterns of the creek causing active erosion, deteriorating water quality, increased noise and vehicle movements, waste disposal, invasion of bushland by exotic plants and animals, management of the extractive industries and the day-to-day behaviour of residents and workers of the catchment.

Local councils and bushcare groups have worked to reduce sediment entering the creek by planting vegetation. By 2008 improvements had resulted in water quality tests on the creek system's rating lifting from a F to a D.[7] However the rating returned to F in the following three years.[8]

Effluent from the Oxley Waste Treatment Centre was released into Oxley Creek during the 2010–2011 Queensland floods. Levels of bacteria 250 times higher than normal were recorded in the waterway.[9] Due to safety concerns parts of Oxley Creek were not immediately cleared of debris. Brisbane's Recovery Task Group has identified Oxley Creek along with a number of other waterways that are to be targeted in the recovery process that make take a number of years to restore.[10] According to the Queensland Minister for the Environment, Vicky Darling by January 2012, $16 million had been spent to remove more than 2,000 containers of hazardous materials from the catchment.[11] 500 tonnes of debris had also been collected from the banks of Oxley Creek.

Some locals want a groyne to be built at the mouth of the creek to aid flows and reduce sediment, while others want a halt to sand mining because it produces silt.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lord Mayor's Oxley Creek Catchment Taskforce". Brisbane City Council. 10 September 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "Calls for more information on Oxley Creek contamination". ABC Brisbane (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 13 February 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Place name details: Oxley Creek". Department of Environment and Resource Management. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d Fones, Ralph (2006). Oxley! A mind of its own:a history of a suburb with attitude. 1850 - 1950. Oxley-Chelmer History Group. pp. 4—10. ISBN 0-9751466-2-9. 
  5. ^ "Taskforce recognised for its efforts to preserve parts of Oxley Creek". Southern Star (Quest Community Newspapers). 5 July 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Mynott, Wicki (2009). 150 years: Richlands, Inala & neighbouring suburbs in Brisbane's South West. Richlands, Inala & Suburbs History Group. p. 157. 
  7. ^ "Oxley Creek Bonus", South West News, 28 October 2008: 2 
  8. ^ "Oxley Creek". Healthy Waterways. The University of Queensland. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  9. ^ Jamie Walker (29 January 2011). "Health alert as sewage spill becomes next threat for riverside homes". The Australian (News Limited). Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  10. ^ "Creek debris will be cleared soon". The Satellite (APN News & Media). 28 February 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2011. 
  11. ^ Vicky Darling (19 January 2012). "Communities to share in river cleanup grants". Ministerial Media Statement. Department of the Premier and Cabinet. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  12. ^ James Drew (28 March 2012). "Residents call for action on Oxley Creek in lead-up to council elections". South-West News (Quest Community Newspapers). Retrieved 7 April 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°31′53.32″S 152°59′37.26″E / 27.5314778°S 152.9936833°E / -27.5314778; 152.9936833