The Molonglo River, a
perennial river A perennial stream or perennial river is a stream or river (channel) which has a flow of water throughout the year through at least parts of its stream bed during years of normal rainfall. Water Supply Paper 494. In the absence of irregular, pro ...
that is part of the Murrumbidgee catchment within the
Murray–Darling basin The Murray–Darling basin is a large geographical area in the interior of southeastern Australia, encompassing the drainage basin of the tributaries of the Murray River, list of rivers of Australia#Longest rivers nationally, Australia's longes ...
, is located in the Monaro and
Capital Country Capital Country was the name of one of the sixteen tourism regions of New South Wales, Australia. This geographical division is made for improving commerce, specifically tourism, in the state. The Capital area is one of the oldest settled area ...
regions of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, in Australia.

Location and features

The river rises on the western side of the Great Dividing Range, in Tallaganda State Forest at and flows generally from south to north before turning northwest, through Carwoola, New South Wales, Carwoola and the outskirts of Queanbeyan, where it has confluence with its major tributary, the Queanbeyan River, and then continues through Canberra, where it has been dammed by the Scrivener Dam to form Lake Burley Griffin. The river then flows to its river mouth, mouth with the Murrumbidgee River, near Uriarra, Australian Capital Territory, Uriarra Crossing. Over its Watercourse, course the Molonglo River alternates between long broad floodplains and narrow rocky gorges several times. One of these floodplains is called the Molonglo Plain. From source to mouth, the river is traversed by the Captains Flat Road at , Briars-Sharrow Road in Carwoola, New South Wales, Carwoola, the Kings Highway (Australia), Kings Highway between Queanbeyan and , the Yass Road, north of Queanbeyan, the Monaro Highway at , the Commonwealth Avenue, Canberra, Commonwealth and Kings Avenue, Canberra, Kings Avenues as Lake Burley Griffin between and , Lady Denman Drive at Scrivener Dam, and the Tuggeranong Parkway north of the Glenloch Interchange.


The river's name was recorded as the "Yeal-am-bid-gie" in 1820 by the explorer Charles Throsby. This was probably the collective local Moolinggolah name for the river. (The suffix "bidgee" was common in Australian Aboriginal languages, Aboriginal languages for rivers in the Canberra area and presumably means "water" or "river".) The Moolinggolah people of the district around Captains Flat, New South Wales, Captains Flat probably gave the Molonglo its name. Where the river flowed through what is now Canberra, it was probably known after the Ngambri people, transcribed as ''Kembury'', ''Canberry'', and other transcription variations. The word ''molongolo'' is derived from an Aboriginal word meaning "like the sound of thunder".


The first name given to the River by Westerners was Limestone River, Subsequently, in the early years of European settlement both the Molonglo and the Queanbeyan were known as the "Fish River" for the abundance of native fish in them. The Molonglo was renowned as a beautiful river with excellent fishing for native Murray cod, Macquarie perch and Bidyanus bidyanus, silver perch. This abundance of native fish did not last. Upon commencement of mining operations at Captains Flat, New South Wales, Captains Flat (and contrary to NSW Government assurances), mine tailings continually severely polluted the river, including several mass tailings collapses into the river between the 1930s and 1950s, eradicating all native fish and most other aquatic life downstream from the site. Despite government funded rehabilitation programs in 1976, some toxic leachates still enter the river from the Captain's Flat mine site. Consequently, when Lake Burley Griffin was built upon the Molonglo and filled in 1964, the waters were devoid of native fish. Restocking commenced in the 1970s and continued through 1980s have re-established Murray Cod and Golden Perch in the lake and a short stretch of river upstream. A large stretch of the Molonglo still holds nothing but introduced fish species and is still waiting for the native fish species to be re-established by stockings.


Significant natural restoration work has been undertaken downstream of Scrivener Dam in conjunction with the housing development in the Molonglo Valley during the 2010s.https://www.environment.act.gov.au/parks-conservation/environmental-offsets/connections-with-rivers/molonglo-valley-offset-areas

See also

* History of Lake Burley Griffin * List of rivers of Australia * London Bridge (New South Wales) * Rivers of New South Wales * Scott's Crossing Road

Selected references

External links

* * {{Rivers of the Australian Capital Territory , state=autocollapse Rivers of the Australian Capital Territory Rivers of New South Wales Tributaries of the Murrumbidgee River Borders of the Australian Capital Territory