Sullivans Creek

Sullivans Creek, a partly perennial stream of the Murrumbidgee catchment within the Murray-Darling basin, is located in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.

Sullivans Creek
Canberry Creek, Canburry Creek[1]
Part of Sullivans Creek in the grounds of the Australian National University
EtymologyIn honour of William Sulivan, an early settler[1][2]
StateAustralian Capital Territory
IBRASouth Eastern Highlands
DistrictCapital Country
Physical characteristics
SourceRunoff from Mount Majura, Mount Ainslie, O'Connor Ridge and Black Mountain
  locationnear Kenny and Watson
Mouthconfluence with Molonglo River, into Lake Burley Griffin
near Acton
Length13 km (8.1 mi)
Basin size52 km2 (20 sq mi)
Basin features
River systemMurrumbidgee River, Murray–Darling basin
ReservoirLake Burley Griffin

Location and features

Sullivans Creek rises close to the border between the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and New South Wales, north-east of Kenny, and north-west of Watson. The creek is formed by runoff from Mount Majura, Mount Ainslie, O'Connor Ridge and Black Mountain.[3] Sullivans Creek flows generally south-west, through a small channel within a much larger older gully system in its upper reaches; and through a series of urban sealed stormwater channels in its middle reaches; before reaching the grounds of the Australian National University, towards its confluence with the Molonglo River near Acton. Molonglo River is now dammed as Lake Burley Griffin. The creek has a catchment area of 52 square kilometres (20 sq mi)[4] and is approximately 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) long.[1]

The creek was originally called Canberry (or Canburry) Creek, since early European settlement in the area, from 1823. During the 1850s, William Sullivan and his family acquired grazing land surrounding the creek, and at some stage thereafter, the creek name was changed to Sullivans Creek. Within the grounds of the Australian National University, the creek's original course has been altered to accommodate growth of the campus and enhance the natural landscape. Within the Acton campus, two bridges cross Sullivans Creek; MacPherson's Bridge, that was named after the original landowner, John MacPherson, and Canberry Bridge.[1]

Following heavy rains during 2012 that caused minor flooding of Sullivans Creek, it was reported that people were rafting along the course of the creek, within the grounds of the Australian National University.[5]

After flooding was caused by heavy rains in 2018, all of the books on the lower levels of the ANU's Chifley Library were destroyed by the overflow.[6][7]

See also


  1. "Sullivans Creek". Heritage. The Australian National University. 9 July 2007. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  2. "Sullivans Creek". Place name search. Government of the Australian Capital Territory. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  3. Dyer, F. (2000). "Nutrients in Sullivan's Creek" (PDF). Technical Report 2/00. Canberra, Australia: CSIRO Land and Water.
  4. Maher, W. A; Norris, R. H; Curran, S; et al. (1992). "Zinc in the sediments, water and biota of Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra". The Science of the Total Environment. 125: 235–252. doi:10.1016/0048-9697(92)90394-8. ISSN 0048-9697.
  5. Williams, Jacqueline (2 March 2012). "'Irresponsible' rafters take on swollen Sullivans Creek". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  6. Evans, Jake (2 March 2018). "ANU librarians begin urgent salvage job after precious books, documents damaged in Canberra flood". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  7. Thornton, Jacob (19 March 2018). "When it Loses 100,000 Books, What Does a Library Do?". Woroni. Retrieved 22 April 2018.

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