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The Maribyrnong River is one of Melbourne’s largest rivers stretching 130 kilometres from the Macedon Ranges to Port Phillip Bay, and with a predominantly rural catchment of over 1400 square kilometres. The river valley cuts deeply through the lava flows of the Keilor and Werribee plains. This basalt rock was created by volcanic eruptions over two million years ago. Beginning as Deep Creek, the Maribyrnong gathers Emu Creek, Jacksons Creek (south of Bulla), Taylor’s Creek (near Keilor), and Steeles Creek (near Essendon) before joining the Yarra River at Footscray. As the Maribyrnong enters the built up area of Melbourne, it begins a dramatic transformation from a natural river to a highly urbanized working river.
The Maribyrnong River corridor is critical to the physical and emotional health of many communities in the west of Melbourne, and COVID-19 crisis has proved this. The river and surrounding parklands are biodiverse, home to many animal populations including the iconic platypus. The Maribyrnong valley contains over 290 plant species including remnant vegetation patches containing river red gums and a variety of kangaroo grasses. The river and its tributaries are corridors that allow plants and animals to move and adapt to changes in catchment and climate.
As the city continues to grow, the greatest challenge today is to protect the river from the pressures of continued urban sprawl of the city, and the attendant problems of pollution, loss of habitat and increases in population and usage.
The Yarra Riverkeepers will continue to celebrate and value the riverscape and landscape though educational activities and on ground revitalisation works.
Port Phillip Bay