8 August 2020
Jerrabomberra Creek, 2020, Wouter Van de Voorde
Jerrabomberra Creek rises in the hills near Royalla, NSW, and runs north for around 35 kilometres before crossing into the ACT at Hume. The wetlands at the creek’s confluence with the Molonglo are a Canberra attraction and a globally significant habitat for migratory birds, yet most of the creek’s reaches remain out of sight in the peri-urban fringes.
Ngunnawal people named the waterway Girimbombery or Giridombera. It was a ceremonial pathway guiding visitors from the south to the central corroboree ground on the floodplain (now under Lake Burley Griffin).
Settlers built Limestone Cottage, the first homestead in the area, in 1833, and a century later closer settlement saw dairy and market gardens established. In the 1920s, Henry Halloran tried to turn the paddocks south of the creek into ‘Environa’ - a fantastical suburb featuring Parisian-style boulevards.
Nearby remnant grasslands still provide habitat for endangered reptiles and insects, but widespread clearing of native vegetation has significantly degraded the creek’s ecology. Today, its waters cut through a deep gully, circling feral willows and silver poplar. New suburbs are planned for the area.