Hawkesbury River

Physical characteristics

Latitude (ºS)-33.56
Longitude (ºE)151.31
Catchment area (km2)121624.1
Estuary area (km2)1,2114.5
Estuary volume (ML)31541412.0
Average depth (m)413.8
Roy et al. (2001) classification5II/3/C
Entrance condition6O
  1. Derived from DECCW (2010) NSW estuaries and coastal catchments spatial database.
  2. Includes area mapped as open water (see note 1), mangrove and saltmarsh areas (Creese R. G., Glasby T. M., West G. and Gallen C. (2009) Mapping the habitats of NSW estuaries. Industry & Investment NSW Fisheries Final Report Series 113. Port Stephens, NSW, Australia.
  3. Based on areas at 0.6 m AHD (Roper T., Creese B., Scanes P., Stephens K., Williams R., Dela-Cruz J., Coade G. and Coates B. (2011) Assessing the condition of estuaries and coastal lake ecosystems in NSW. Office of Environment and Heritage, Sydney).
  4. Estimated by dividing the total volume at 0.6 m AHD by the total surface area of the estuary including mangrove areas but excluding saltmarsh (Roper et al., 2011)
  5. Estuary group: I = oceanic embayment, II = tide dominated estuary, III = wave dominated estuary, IV = intermittently closed estuary V = freshwater bodies
    Estuary type: 1 = ocean embayments, 3 = drowned valley estuary, 5 = barrier estuary, 6 = barrier lagoon, 7 = interbarrier estuary, 8 = saline coastal lagoon, 9 = small coastal creeks, 11 = brackish barrier lake. Evolution stage: A=youthful, B=intermediate, C=semi-mature, D=mature.
    (P. S. Roy, R. J. Williams, A. R. Jones, I. Yassini, P. J. Gibbs, B. Coates, R. J. West, P. R. Scanes, J. P. Hudson and S. Nichol (2001) Structure and Function of South-east Australian Estuaries. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 53, 351-384)
  6. Entrance conditions: O = open, T = trained, I = intermittent.

Tidal prism

The volume of water moving past a fixed cross section during each flood tide or ebb tide (i.e. slack water to slack water), is referred to as the tidal prism of an estuary.

The following table shows the measured tidal prism at the location specified, along with the tidal range for near the measurement site and at Sydney Harbour.

Location:     between Barrenjoey Head and Box Head on 6/4/93

Tide stateFlow
(106 m3
tidal range (m)
Sydney Harbour
tidal range (m)
Ebb flow1911.61.53
Flood flow 1991.661.63

Tidal survey

Tidal surveys measure the hydrodynamic behaviour of an estuary during a full tidal cycle. The parameters measured include velocity, water levels, salinity, temperature and pH.

The following tidal surveys have been undertaken on this estuary. A map shows the location and plots of the flows and water levels for the most comprehensive survey.

Copies of tidal survey reports are available from the Estuary Management Program

DateData collectedFigureReport
Feb 1966The effect of speed boat activities on bank erosion.-MHL106
May 1975Current metering between Long Island and Spectacle Island over a half tide cycle, five tideboards.-MHL339
Apr 1976Current metering between Long Island and Spectacle Island over a half tide cycle, five tideboards.-MHL339
Sep 1976Current metering between Long and Spectacle Islands and at The Gut, over a half tide cycle, five tideboards.-MHL339
Sep 1976Current metering between Long Island and Spectacle Island and at The Gut over a half tide cycle, five tideboards.-MHL339
Feb 1981Current metering at three lines at Lower Portland. Two in the Hawkesbury River and one in the Colo.-MHL450
Apr 1981Current metering on four lines at Windsor (Liverpool, Clarence, Wilberforce and Windsor Reaches), temp/salinity, suspended sediments and a tideboard at Lower Portland.-MHL369
May 1981Current metering on three lines at Wisemans Ferry (Trollope Reach, Bathurst Reach and McDonald River), temp/salinity, suspended sediments and a tideboard at Lower Portland.-MHL369
Jun 1981Current metering at three lines at Spencer (Big Jims Point, Caurangra Point and Mangrove Creek), temp/salinity, suspended sediments and a tideboard at Lower Portland.-MHL369
Aug 1981Current metering at three lines at Mooney Mooney. One line at Peat Island, one at Peat Island bridge and one at Mooney Mooney Creek., plus temp/salinity and suspended sediments.-MHL369
Oct 1982Current metering at Broken Bay (Commodore Heights), two tideboards (one at the entrance and one at Wisemans Ferry), velocities and temp/salinity.-MHL358
Nov 1982Current metering on three lines at Lower Portland, one on the Colo and one upstream, one downstream of Lower Portland.-MHL450
Oct 1984Tideboard readings taken at six tideboards including: Colo, Richmond, Central McDonald and Lower Mangrove for tidal plane analysis.-PWD85044
Apr 1986Current metering at nine lines upstream from Windsor Bridge to Grose/Nepean confluence. Velocities at nine lines; temp/salinity, dissolved oxygen and turbidity at seven lines; tideboards on five lines.-MHL459
Apr 1987Current metering at Milson Island at one line, echo-sounding at four lines, one tideboard and core samples.-MHL497
Jun to Dec 1990Long term deployment of S4 current meters at nine sites between Richmond and Wisemans Ferry.-MHL594
Apr 1993ADCP velocity and discharge measurements at four lines: Middle Head to West Head; West Head to Barrenjoey; Barrenjoey to Box Head; and Box Head to Middle Head (Brisbane Water). Data not formally reduced but discharge curves plotted.--
Jun 1995Extensive data collection in Berowra Creek: water levels at four sites, velocities at four sites, in situ water quality at three sites, water quality profiles at seventeen sites.-MHL745
Nov 1997 to Feb 1998Berowra Creek Water Quality 1997-98.-MHL917
Aug to Nov 2001Berowra Creek Chlorophyl Trial 2001-02.-MHL1162
Oct 2001Extensive data collection in vicinity of Brooklyn, including Mullet Creek, Mooney Mooney Creek and Sandbrook Inlet: water levels at nine sites, velocities at four sites, in situ water quality at two sites and water quality profiles at twenty-one sites.-MHL1158

Hydrographic survey

The hydrographic survey provides the depth and physical characteristics of the estuary.

The metadata associated with the survey can be found on the map sheets provided.

Map sheet number DescriptionScale    Size
8493sh1.pdfHawkesbury River (Freemans Reach Rd)1:2000180.0kb
8493sh2.pdfHawkesbury River (Freemans Reach Rd)1:2000139.4kb
8493sh3.pdfHawkesbury River (Windsor)1:2000180.9kb
8493sh4.pdfHawkesbury River (South Creek)1:2000155.3kb
8493sh5.pdfHawkesbury River (Putty Rd & Pitt Town Bottoms Road)1:2000153.0kb
8493sh6.pdfHawkesbury River (Putty Rd & Pitt Town Bottoms Road)1:2000153.6kb
8493sh7.pdfHawkesbury River (Buttsworth Creek)1:2000157.3kb
8493sh8.pdfHawkesbury River (Bardenarang Gully)1:2000143.8kb
8493sh9.pdfHawkesbury River (Halls Point)1:2000166.9kb
8493sh10.pdfHawkesbury River (Gronos Point)1:2000163.5kb
8493sh11.pdfStation recovery diagramsN/A203.4kb
8493sh12.pdfStation recovery diagramsN/A195.3kb
8493.txtHawkesbury River xyz dataN/A409.2kb
52647S1.pdfIndex plan1:25000414.6kb
52647S2.pdfBerowra Creek lower section1:10000387.0kb
52647S3.pdfBerowra Creek mid section1:10000351.9kb
52647S4.pdfBerowra Creek upper section1:10000191.7kb
52647S5.pdfBerowra Creek & Marramarra Creek1:4000594.0kb
52647S6.pdfMarramarra Creek1:4000366.8kb
52647S7.pdfBerowra Creek, Donnybrook Bay & Kimmerikong Bay1:4000698.0kb
52647S8.pdfCoba Bay1:4000187.1kb
52647S9.pdfBerowra Creek, Bujwa Bay & Square Bay1:4000615.4kb
52647S10.pdfBerowra Creek, Calabash Bay & Joe Crafts Bay1:4000519.1kb
52647S11.pdfBerowra Creek & Dusthole Bay1:4000359.2kb
52647S12.pdfBerowra Creek (Crosslands)1:4000260.4kb
52647.txtBerowra Creek xyz dataN/A533.5kb
55382s01.pdfSandbrook Inlet1:20001357.2kb
55382s02.pdfSandbrook Inlet1:20001205.5kb
55382.txtSandbrook Inlet xyz dataN/A414.5kb
Page last updated: 26 April 2012