Woronora River

The Woronora River is a perennial river of the Sydney Basin, located in the Sutherland Shire local government area of Greater Metropolitan Sydney, approximately 22 kilometres (14 mi) south of the Sydney central business district, in New South Wales, Australia.

Woronora River
NASA satellite view of Greater Metropolitan Sydney, with the location of the mouth of the Woronora River, as marked
EtymologyAboriginal (Dharug): "black rocks"[1]
StateNew South Wales
RegionGreater Metropolitan Sydney
LGASutherland Shire
Physical characteristics
SourceIllawarra escarpment
2nd sourceWaratah Rivulet
  locationnear Darkes Forest
  coordinates34°23′17″S 150°54′18″E
  elevation353 m (1,158 ft)
Mouthconfluence with the Georges River
between Como and Illawong
33°59′40″S 151°4′3″E
0 m (0 ft)
Length36 km (22 mi)
Basin size174 km2 (67 sq mi)
Basin features
River systemGeorges River catchment
  leftStill Creek (New South Wales)
  rightHeathcote Creek, Forbes Creek (New South Wales)
DamWoronora (1941)

Location and features

The Woronora River rises on the northwestern slopes of the Illawarra escarpment and has its origin from Waratah Rivulet, near Darkes Forest, and flows generally north for approximately 36 kilometres (22 mi), joined by three minor tributaries, before reaching its confluence with the Georges River, between Como and Illawong. The total catchment area of the river is approximately 174 square kilometres (67 sq mi) and the area is generally administered by the Sydney Catchment Authority in its upper reaches and the Sutherland Shire Council in its lower reaches.[3] Much of the course of the river is through the Dharawal State Conservation Area, Heathcote National Park and the Royal National Park as it descends 354 metres (1,161 ft) from source to mouth.[2]

The river is impounded by the Woronora Dam, opened in 1941. The 71,790-megalitre (2,535×10^6 cu ft) impoundment is Lake Woronora, formed to augment water supply for southern Sydney and the northern Illawarra region.[2]

The Woronora River is traversed by high level and low level road bridges and a footbridge in the suburb of Woronora. A road bridge on Heathcote Road, linking Heathcote and Holsworthy also provides a crossing over the river. At the area known as "The Needles", near Woronora Road in Engadine, a footbridge links the suburb to Barden Ridge. Comment from an ex resident: "The Needles" were considered the "head of navigation" where there was relatively deep water with pointed vertical rocks, mostly just below the surface, hence the name. There was a causeway there which was part of "The Old Illawarra Rd". This area is below the Heathcote Rd bridge by about 3/4 km. Just above this road bridge was "Woronora Wier" which was demolished in the mid 1900s for safety reasons.


In the Australian Aboriginal Dharug language the river draws its name, meaning "black rocks".[1] 'Woronora' is an Aboriginal place name. Records show the spelling of the name has varied since it first appeared in the 19th century, the earliest being Wooloonora (Dixon, 1827, quoted in Walker 1974:66, followed by Wolonora (Dixon, 1837, and Woronora Mitchell, 1835). The name was first applied to the Woronora River, a tributary of the Georges River, before being given to an electoral district, a local road east of the river, and finally the suburb itself.[3]

See also


  1. "Woronora River". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  2. "Map of Woronora River, NSW". Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  3. Acer Wargon Chapman (September 1995). "Woronora River Floodplain Management Study" (PDF). Sutherland Shire Council. Retrieved 5 January 2013.

Further reading

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