NA­TURE’S WORK

Australian Geographic - - Wild Australia -

Be­fore 1893 the Ma­cleay River’s mouth was at Grassy Head, 8km north of its present po­si­tion. In the 1800s, Ma­cleay Val­ley set­tlers re­lied wholly on ships to bring in sup­plies and take out pro­duce. But seago­ing ves­sels could ne­go­ti­ate the Grassy Head mouth only at very high tide, and sand­bars in the river’s lower stretches some­times pre­vented them from reach­ing Kempsey.

Plans were put for­ward in 1890 to cre­ate a new mouth by cut­ting a chan­nel from the river to the sea closer to South West Rocks. But be­fore a de­ci­sion could be made, na­ture in­ter­vened. In 1893 two floods carved the re­quired chan­nel close to where engineers had been con­sid­er­ing build­ing one of their own.

In 1901 the old mouth was closed and the pi­lot sta­tion at Stu­arts Point moved to South West Rocks.

The end of the river mouth’s south­ern wall is a great fish­ing spot as well as a must-see for any­one in­ter­ested in the Ma­cleay’s his­tory and its jour­ney. Wa­ter­birds such as this pel­i­can are plen­ti­ful around here, as might be ex­pected in an en­vi­ron­ment rich in aquatic prey.

The river’s ex­ist­ing mouth, also known as the New En­trance, has been ti­died up by engineers since two floods carved it out in 1893.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.