Macleay River

Physical characteristics

Latitude (ºS)-30.87
Longitude (ºE)153.03
Catchment area (km2)111287.0
Estuary area (km2)1,231.6
Estuary volume (ML)370235.2
Average depth (m)42.6
Roy et al. (2001) classification5III/5/D
Entrance condition6O/T
  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:     500m upstream from the entrance on 16/4/03

Tide stateFlow
(106 m3
tidal range (m)
Sydney Harbour
tidal range (m)
Ebb flow16.481.391.68
Flood flow 16.651.381.71

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
Nov 1977Current metering at five lines: velocities, discharge, seven tideboards, cross sections, temperature and salinity, suspended sediment, bed and offshore samples, photos.-MHL229
Feb 1979Current metering at five lines, seven tideboards, velocities, cross sections, temp/salinity, suspended sediments.-MHL280
Feb 1979Sand sampling.-MHL280
Jan 1997Current metering near Frederickton. Velocities and water quality profiles at four sites, water and sediment samples plus biological sampling.-MHL853
Feb 1996 to Dec 1997Yarrahapinni Water Quality Monitoring 1999.-MHL986
Apr to Sep 2001Yarrahapinni Wetland Floodgate Trial Water Quality Monitoring 2002.-MHL1151
Apr 2003Extensive data collection: water levels at fifteen permanent sites and fourteen temporary sites, velocities measured with ADCP at seven sites and with S4 current meters at two sites, water quality profiles at fifty-nine sites.1988-17a.pdf 1988-17b.pdf 1988-17c.pdfMHL1250

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
54969s01.pdfIndex plan1:40000921.3kb
54969s02.pdfIndex plan - Macleay River entrance1:10000806.7kb
54969s03.pdfIndex plan & cross section locations - Macleay River lower estuary1:10000844.7kb
54969s04.pdfIndex plan & cross section locations - Macleay River mid estuary1:10000388.3kb
54969s05.pdfIndex plan & cross section locations - Belmore River & Kinchela Creek1:10000401.2kb
54969s06.pdfIndex plan & cross section locations - Macleay River & Belmore River1:10000426.1kb
54969s07.pdfIndex plan & cross section locations - Macleay River upper estuary1:10000462.8kb
54969s08.pdfTidal planes1:50000634.4kb
54969s09.pdfLegend notes & datum diagramN/A152.0kb
54969s10.pdfMacleay Arm1:200086.8kb
54969s11.pdfMacleay Arm1:2000269.9kb
54969s12.pdfMacleay Arm1:2000253.5kb
54969s13.pdfMacleay Arm1:2000662.9kb
54969s14.pdfSpencers Creek1:2000417.8kb
54969s15.pdfMacleay River offshore1:2000731.5kb
54969s16.pdfMacleay River entrance1:2000883.1kb
54969s17.pdfMacleay Arm & Andersons Inlet1:2000760.1kb
54969s18.pdfMacleay Arm & Macleay River New Entrance1:20001111.0kb
54969s19.pdfAndersons Inlet & Clybucca Creek1:2000339.2kb
54969s20.pdfMacleay River & Spencers Creek1:2000244.5kb
54969s21.pdfMacleay River1:2000828.8kb
54969s22.pdfMacleay River & Spencers Creek1:2000446.9kb
54969s23.pdfMacleay River1:2000619.8kb
54969s24.pdfMacleay River & Saltwater Inlet1:2000344.3kb
54969s25.pdfMacleay River upper estuary1:5000298.5kb
54969s26.pdfMacleay River upper estuary1:5000266.4kb
54969s27.pdfMacleay River upper estuary (Smithtown)1:5000384.2kb
54969s28.pdfMacleay River upper estuary1:5000275.8kb
54969s29.pdfMacleay River upper estuary (Kempsey)1:5000378.9kb
54969s30.pdfCross sections - Andersons Inlet1:1000 H 1:200 V245.0kb
54969s31.pdfCross sections - Andersons Inlet & Clybucca Creek1:1000 H 1:200 V288.8kb
54969s32.pdfCross sections - Clybucca Creek1:1000 H 1:200 V304.4kb
54969s33.pdfCross sections - Clybucca Creek & Kinchela Creek1:1000 H 1:200 V243.3kb
54969s34.pdfCross sections - Kinchela Creek & Belmore River1:1000 H 1:200 V235.2kb
54969s35.pdfCross sections - Belmore River1:1000 H 1:200 V250.0kb
54969s36.pdfCross sections - Belmore River, Darkwater Drain & Christmas Creek1:1000 H 1:200 V239.9kb
54969s37.pdfCross sections - Macleay River upper1:1000 H 1:200 V232.4kb
54969s38.pdfCross sections - Macleay River upper1:1000 H 1:200 V249.0kb
54969s39.pdfCross sections - Macleay River upper1:1000 H 1:200 V152.4kb
54969.txtMacleay River xyz dataN/A2467.2kb
Page last updated: 26 April 2012