Creek Names

Jeremy Steele

The principal waterway in the Berowra Valley Regional Park is Berowra Creek. This stream rises in the vicinity of Boundary Road, Pennant Hills, and flows more or less directly northwards, being joined by many other streams on the way, including Waitara Creek, Pyes Creek, Tunks Creek, Charltons Creek, Still Creek, Calna Creek, and Sams Creek. It is a substantial waterway by the time it reaches Berowra Waters, and larger still when it meets the Hawkesbury River.

Berowra Creek gives the Park its name

Street directories in the 1990s showed other creeks with names, but just as many unidentified and more again not recorded. In 1996 the Berowra Catchment Management Committee completed a project to devise ten new creek names.

The policy of the Geographical Names Board is for the longest tributary of a watercourse to bear the name of the main stream. The creeks concerned, with explanations for the new names, follow.

Nyrippin Creek, West Pennant Hills

Nyrippin is reputedly an Aboriginal word for ‘clear’, although it does not appear to be from a local language. In their submission for the name of this tributary under stress, Michael Burrough and Ben Scott, students at John Purchase Public School, said ‘we want clear water’.

Tedbury Creek, Pennant Hills

Tedbury was a member of the Bidjigal clan (sometimes spelt ‘Bediagal’), the son of Pemulwuy (or Pim-el-wi). Both father and son fought as guerillas against the British colony. This resistance began with the fatal spearing by Pemulwuy of John McIntyre, Governor Arthur Phillip’s convict gamekeeper, who was hated by the Aboriginals, in November 1790. It included attacks on Toongabbie and Parramatta. He was outlawed, with a price for his capture or killing. He was wounded and escaped. A bounty hunter finally killed him in 1802, and his head was sent to London. Tedbury continued the resistance, to be arrested at Pendant (Pennant) Hills in 1805. Tedbury’s last appearance in the records was in 1810. His name has been Anglicised and was probably more like Da-ba-ri, or Dada-ba-ri. Name suggested by Denise J. Thompson of Cherrybrook.

Zig Zag Creek, Pennant Hills

This creek flows next to the little known but remarkable Thornleigh zigzag, one of only three such railways built in New South Wales. Name suggested by Lee Macquarie Smith of Westleigh.

Larool Creek, Thornleigh

Larool, the name of a nearby street, is the word for ‘laughing jackass’ in an Aboriginal language. This is not the Sydney language, for which the word recorded by David Collins, Judge-Advocate on the First Fleet, was ‘go-gan-ne-gine’.

Jimmy Bancks Creek, Old Mans Valley

This creek was the route taken by Jimmy Bancks from his home when raiding the Higgins orchard in Old Mans Valley, the bush providing concealment when carrying off watermelons and other fruit. Bancks lived at the top of the catchment, where his father, a railwayman, operated gates at the level crossing opposite where the Hornsby R.S.L. Club now stands. His route in summer extended down to Fishponds for swimming, and ‘refreshments’ on the return trip. Bancks devised the comic strip character Ginger Meggs to describe his childhood.

Provest Creek, Hornsby Heights

The Provests are a pioneer family of the Hornsby district for five generations. John William Provest settled first at Pearces Corner with his wife Maria in 1881. Their ten children produced numerous descendants, some seventy-seven of whom attended a reunion over a century later. Name suggested by Julianne Reid, great-grand-daughter of John Provest.

George Hall Creek, Galston

George Hall, who died in 1840, was the first pioneering settler in the area, having received a land grant of 600 acres (243 ha) from Governor Macquarie in 1819. He prospered, eventually owning over a million acres (450 000 ha) in New South Wales and Queensland, including farmland around Ebenezer, Pitt Town and Windsor, and acquiring Governor Bligh’s ‘Model Farm’ after Bligh’s removal from office. Name suggested by R. G. Mathews of North Epping on whose notes this information is based.

Gleeson Creek, Mt Colah

Bernard Gleeson, 1925-91, environmentalist and humanitarian of Mt Kuring-gai, ran a landscaping business in Hornsby. He was a central figure in the construction activities of the Roman Catholic church in Berowra and Asquith, and similarly assisted the Spastic Centre of NSW at Mosman and Allambie Heights. He frequently led his family of nine, many of whom live in the Hornsby shire, on bushwalks along Gleeson Creek towards Calna Creek and Berowra Waters. Name suggested by John H. Burke of Asquith.

Banggarai Creek, Berowra

A group known as the Berowra Bushrunners crosses this creek as part of its regular Sunday morning activities, occasionally sighting Swamp Wallabies Wallabia bicolor, causing them to dub the route ‘the wallaby run’. Banggarai (bag-gar-ray, ban-ga-ray, bag-ga-ree, baggory, pagore) is the Sydney Aboriginal language word for swamp wallaby, a species common in the Park although it generally keeps to dense cover and is seldom seen. Name suggested by Paul Gunning, one of the Berowra Bushrunners.

Racemosa Creek, Berowra

The Narrow-leaved Scribbly Gum Eucalyptus racemosa, with its characteristic insect-larvae scribbles, favours the sandy and silty soils of the Hawkesbury sandstone, and is common between the Pacific Highway and Berowra Creek