3216: Waurn Ponds Creek Walk

This project has been developed as a part of a broader project called ‘Knowing Your Place: Active Transport Project’.

Waurn Ponds creek rises on the slopes of Mount Moriac and flows eastwards for 20 kilometres through agricultural and urban land until it reaches the Barwon River at the Southern end of the Belmont Common.

Take this journey along the creek and discover the rich diversity of the native flora and the natural habitat it provides for many species of fauna, as well as how this area was a valuable resource for the Wadawurrung people.

From Pioneer Road to Rossack Drive
Distance: 1.4 kilometres (approximately)
Return loop: 2.8 kilometres (approximately)
Return loop - Ghazeepore Road and back
Distance: 5 kilometres (approximately)

Pause spots

Pause spot 1: Red River Gum – Eucalyptus Camaldulensis

Red river gums live for 200-300 years.

Many have died as a result of cattle grazing in the area. About 20 still survive in this area. Their roots are the same distance underground as above the ground.

Pause Stop 1

Pause spot 2: Flora along the creek

Along the river is a variety of plants of varying heights allowing protection for smaller birds and animals from the larger predators.

FofWPC plant in a flow pattern so birds like the wren have protection as they fly along the creek.

Pause Spot 3: Yellow Gum – Eucalyptus Leucoxylon subsp. Connate

Yellow gums grow to approximately 20 metres tall with yellowish white flowers and non-waxy leaves that grow up to 8 centimetres long. Juvenille leaves are often connated (joined together). 

Yellow Gums are vulnerable in Victoria due to clearing of the land.

Pause Spot 4: Yarra Pygmy Perch – Nannoperca obscura

Yarra Pygmy Perch is about the size of a thumb and have been sighted in this creek. 

The fish has is listed as vulnerable in Australia due to a drastic population decline as a result of habitat destruction. 

Pause Spot 5: Challenges for the Creek

Litter, weeds, introduced plants and animals and settlement and development around the creek continues to challenge the ecology of the area.

Pause Spot 6: Chain of Ponds Creek

Waurn Ponds Creek never dries out and forms a series of little ponds as the creek meanders from Mount Moriac to the Barwon River.

Pause Spot 7: Rabbits

From the introduction of 24 breeding pairs on a property near Geelong, rabbits have become a serious pest Australia wide.

They breed prolifically and excavate warrens that have many burrow entrances as seen in this photo.

Pause Spot 8: Deep Water Hole

This is the deepest water hole in the creek it is approximately 3 metres deep, very muddy on the bottom, but is usually clear if stormwater is not entering into the creek.

Pause Spot 9: Revegetation

FofWPC with the assistance of the City have planted almost 20,000 trees, shrubs and grasses along the creeks banks to ensure the survival of the natural habitat of the area.

Pause Spot 10: Introduced Plants – African Boxthorn – Lycium Ferocissimum

Boxthorn is an introduced plant that was used as a hedge plant.

It is a fast growing plant and seeds are eaten and distributed by birds.

As land is being developed it is gradually being removed.

Pause Spot 11: Reeds and Rushes

Reeds and rushes are a natural filtration system stopping unwanted particles from entering the water and continuing down the creek.

Microbes attach to the base of reeds and rushes and fish and worms feed on this.

Pause Spot 12: Walking/cycling track

This walk along the creek is on a walking/cycling shared track.

Seats are provided to rest and enjoy the ambiance of what the creek has to offer.

Cross Rossack Road to continue walking the creek to Ghazeepore Road.

About this project

The project purpose is to bring together local community groups, schools and residents to participate in a range of community-based activities.

With support from a project officer employed by the City of Greater Geelong, Year 10 students from Grovedale College identified the route, researched the area and developed the pause spots for this walk.

As well as the opportunity to build career pathways and improve community connections, the learning outcomes of this project include:

  • skill development in mapping, auditing, presenting
  • team work communicating, planning and problem solving
  • better understanding of concept of place, walkability, liveability and place attachment
  • increased physical activity.

The City of Greater Geelong wishes to acknowledge the efforts of teachers Lucy Maxwell and Amal Isac and the Year 10 students from Grovedale College.

Grovedale College

The Grovedale Community Services program is offered in Year 10 and is designed to broaden the students’ knowledge of the wider community in which they live and offer experiences that they would not have during a regular school day.  The students attend excursions that instill  the values of community involvement and exposes them to minority groups that exist and may need assistance.

By providing community connections the students build their confidence and skills to be an active citizen now and when they leave school.

This walk was created to highlight a wall/cycle path that runs parallel to Waurn Ponds, to create an awareness of the track and to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land and the native flora and fauna of the area.

They were also guided on this walk by a member of the Friends of Waurn Ponds Creek (FofWPC), Rhonda Kelly.  This community Organisation made up of volunteers, work together with the City to conserve the native flora and fauna surrounding the creek area.

Creating this walk has enabled the students to develop the following skills:

  • Mapping
  • Photography
  • Research
  • Communication and collaborative skills
  • An understanding of what it means for a place to be walkable

This has allowed them to connect to a place where we live.

Lucy Maxwell and Amal Isac and the Year 10 students from Grovedale College

The Wadawurrung connection

Wadawurrung logo

Wathaurung was made up of clans that lived in different areas within the Wathaurung boundary. Creeks and rivers were like roads, clans moved along them by walking or canoeing. Different creeks and rivers would provide different food sources at different times of the year. The Wadawurrung people were the traditional owners of this area and Waurn Ponds Creek was a significant place of living. The Wadawurrung were knowledgeable of land, water, plants and animals of their living environment. They cared and managed this land with the knowledge of fire, water, country and seasons. Traditional fire burning practices was vital in caring for country.

The connection to land or being on country for the Wadawurrung people was of great importance, it was essential to their survival. On country meant they had what they needed and they valued all the resources they had in any area they occupied.

Plants and animals not only provided food but the medicines and resources they needed, like bark from a tree to make a canoe or possum skins to make a cloak. Willem Baa Nip (King Billy), it is said he was named after a bunyip his father sighted on the day he was born at Waurn Ponds. During his time he defended his right to continue to live culturally on the land of his people.

Wadawurrung want all of us to care for country and to understand that we should value water and all our natural resources if we are to survive into the future.

The students would like to thank Corinna Eccles, Cultural Education Coordinator, Wathaurung Aboriginal Corporation, a descendant of the Wadawurrung people, who spoke to the students and provided the cultural information for this walk.

Friends of Waurn Ponds Creek (FofWPC)

The Friends of Waurn Ponds Creek have been an active group of community volunteers since 2002.

The Friends of Waurn Ponds Creek gather to:

  • Conserve our native plants, birds and fish
  • Create a corridor of green to link our southern suburbs
  • Connect our local community by working together

The Friends works closely with the City of Greater Geelong to select and prepare sites, plant trees, shrubs and grasses, do maintenance on sites and keep the waterway and surrounds clear of litter. They also raise plants from seeds and cuttings at the GenU nursery.

Contact the Friends for more information.

Page last updated: Tuesday, 9 June 2020