Bulimba Creek

Bulimba Creek, originally known as Doboy Creek or Doughboy Creek,[3][4] is a perennial stream that is a tributary of the Brisbane River, located in suburban Brisbane in the South East region of Queensland, Australia.

Bulimba Creek
Doboy Creek, Doughboy Creek
Bulimba Creek at Mansfield, 2014
Location of the Bulimba Creek mouth in Queensland
EtymologyAboriginal: Boolimbah meaning a place of the magpie lark[1]
RegionSouth East Queenseland
Physical characteristics
SourceMount Gravatt via Bulimba Creek West
  coordinates27°32′48″S 153°4′20″E
2nd sourceBulimba Creek East
  coordinates27°36′30″S 153°3′50″E
Source confluenceEast and West branches
  locationEight Mile Plains
  coordinates27°34′23″S 153°4′37″E
Mouthconfluence with the Brisbane River
East Brisbane
27°25′46″S 153°7′46″E
0 m (0 ft)
Basin size122 km2 (47 sq mi)
Basin features
River systemBrisbane River

Course and features

The Bulimba Creek catchment has it sources in the low plateaus and marshy parts of the suburbs of Sunnybank and Runcorn (west catchment) and Kuraby (east catchment) in the south of Brisbane. It then flows in a northerly direction through the suburbs of Mansfield, Mackenzie, Carindale, Murarrie and Lytton, before meeting the Brisbane River via the Aquarium Passage along the Lytton Reach. The creek has six tributaries: Mimosa Creek, Spring Creek, Salvin Creek, Phillips Creek, Tingalpa Creek and Lindum Creek. There are also a number of significant wetlands systems in the catchment, including Runcorn Wetlands in the upper catchment and Numgubbah, Tingalpa, Doboy and Lindum Wetlands in the lower catchment.[2]

The creek is currently impacted primarily by urban and industrial development. In the past the creek corridor was extensively cleared for cropping and then grazing in the early part of the last century with some remnant vegetation remaining. In some areas the reduction in rural industries has allowed riparian vegetation to regrow.[1]

The catchment has a nature reserve network, mainly of protected hills, including Karawatha Forest, Toohey Forest Conservation Park and Mt Gravatt Outlook, Belmont Hills, Whites Hill and Pine Mountain, Seven Hills and Oates Hill. The creek feeds the Runcorn Water Reserve, Tingalpa Wetlands, Nungubba Swamp, Dairy Swamp, Lyndon Wetlands, Iona Wetlands, The Bulimba Creek Oxbow and Minnippi Parklands.

Fauna and flora


The invasive fish species tilapia is present in the waterway.[5] The creek suffers from the introduction of the waterway weed called salvinia first identified in the catchment in 1953.[6]


Many of the nature reserves have threatened species. For example, is Whites Hill the powerful owl, grey-headed flying fox, velvet gecko and grey goshawk are all threatened. Flora at risk includes Shirley's tuckeroo and Macadamia integrifolia.

Karawatha Forest is the reserve with the highest number of species and has five different species of glider possums. It also has a fauna overpass constructed over the four lane road, along with underpasses, rope ladders and exclusion funnelling fencing. The project was undertaken by The Griffith University Fauna Unit and Dr Darryl Jones.


The indigenous clans of the Yuggera and Turrbal people lived in or traversed parts of the Bulimba Creek catchment for at least twenty thousand years. It is believed that a locality on the creek was called boolimbah, meaning a place of the magpie lark and thought to refer specifically to what is now known as Whites Hill. The first recorded use of the name Bulimba Creek occurred in 1888.[1]

Bulimba Creek at Belmont in 1931

In the late 1860s the Walrus, a large paddle steamer built at Cleveland, was converted to Australia's first floating distillery with the addition of a steam driven sugar mill on board.[7] The Walrus navigated the lower reaches of Bulimba Creek and the Brisbane River before servicing areas along the Nerang, Albert and the Logan Rivers to the south.

In order to provide a straighter deeper channel in the lower reaches Brisbane River, it was decided in 1889 to relocate the mouths of creeks and eliminate all of islands by a combination of removal by dredging and incorporation as part of the river bank.[8] In the case of Doughboy Creek (now Bulimba Creek) and Gibson Island, it was decided to relocate the creek mouth then at approximately 27.4440°S 153.1096°E / -27.4440; 153.1096 (Bulimba Creek (original creek mouth)) (to the west of Gibson Island) to the eastern end of Gibson Island (its current mouth) by closing the original mouth with a training wall diverting the flow of the creek into Aquarium Passage (27.4394°S 153.125562°E / -27.4394; 153.125562 (Aquarium Passage)) which separated Gibson Island from the southern bank of the Brisbane River.[9] The Doughboy training wall was built from 1900 to June 1902 and was 7,040 feet (2,150 m) long.[10] As a result of the training wall, an isthmus (approximately 104 metres (341 ft) wide as at 2020) formed at the original mouth of the creek permanently connecting Gibson Island to Murarrie.[11]

In August 2008 the Bulimba Creek valley was polluted by a vast 100,000-litre (22,000 imp gal; 26,000 US gal) oil leak from the 1964-laid Santos-owned Moomba to Brisbane pipeline adjacent to Bulimba Creek at Carindale, requiring the removal of hundreds of truckloads of contaminated soil from the suburb's recreation reserve.[1]

Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee

The Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee is associated with the Landcare Group and is run by volunteers. Formed in 1997 and incorporated in 1999, it supports smaller groups and individuals involved in Bushcare, Catchment Care, Nature conservation and environmental education and awareness.

Known as the B4C, the group is involved in protecting and rehabilitating waterways, corridors, remnant bushlands and wetlands. It was the first urban Queensland group to win a State Landcare award in 2000. In 2005 the B4C won the prestigious Thiess National Riverprize.[12] Recent successes in protecting the environment by the B4C include securing the Weekes Road, Carindale Bushlands and Oates Hill Reserve from the Queensland Government, saving the Wishart Bushlands from development, saving the Bulimba Creek Oxbow and negotiating a major rehabilitation project to restore this 30-hectare (74-acre) saline wetland.[2][13]

The B4C has its own foundation "the Bulimba Creek Environment Fund", which provides small grants to members of the community to get involved in environmental issues, education and training. B4C has its own catchment centre and community nursery. It is in the process of developing a 2-hectare (4.9-acre) site together with its corporate partner, Powerlink, into a sustainability centre, inclusive of a sustainable home (office),community nursery, with waterwise gardens and through the use of permaculture methods and sustainable technologies.[2]

See also


  1. Godfrey, John, ed. (1998). "A History of Bulimba Creek Valley". Bulimba Creek Protection Society and Belmont & Bulimba Creek Heritage Institute. Brisbane City Council. Archived from the original on 22 April 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  2. "Bulimba Creek" (PDF). Know your creek and catchment. City of Brisbane. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 March 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  3. "History of Brisbane's Murarrie". Archived from the original on 31 December 2008. Retrieved 24 May 2008.
  4. Duke, Norman C; Lawn, P.; Roelfsema, C. M.; Phinn, S.; Zahmel, K.N.; Pedersen, D.; Harris, C.; Steggles, N.; Tack, C. (2003), Assessing historical change in coastal environments : Port Curtis, Fitzroy River Estuary and Moreton Bay regions, CRC for Coastal Zone, Estuary and Waterway Management (Australia), p. 160, archived from the original on 24 July 2019, retrieved 9 April 2020
  5. Matt Watson (12 August 2016). "Authorities powerless to stop tilapia infestation in south-east Queensland". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Authority. Archived from the original on 12 August 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  6. Parsons, W. T.; E. G. Cuthbertson (2001). Noxious Weeds of Australia. Csiro Publishing. p. 20. ISBN 0643065148. Archived from the original on 11 September 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  7. Roberts, Beryl (1991). Stories of the Southside. Archerfield, Queensland: Aussie Books. p. 73. ISBN 0-947336-01-X.
  8. "Brisbane River Improvements" (Map). Queensland Government. 1889. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  9. "Aquarium Passage – passage in the City of Brisbane (entry 713)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  10. Duke, Norman C; Lawn, P.; Roelfsema, C. M.; Phinn, S.; Zahmel, K.N.; Pedersen, D.; Harris, C.; Steggles, N.; Tack, C. (2003), Assessing historical change in coastal environments : Port Curtis, Fitzroy River Estuary and Moreton Bay regions, CRC for Coastal Zone, Estuary and Waterway Management (Australia), pp. 27, 29, 153, 157, 160, 164, archived from the original on 24 July 2019, retrieved 9 April 2020
  11. Google (10 April 2020). "Isthmus connecting Gibson Island to Murarrie" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  12. "Creek committee takes $50,000 national prize". South East Advertiser. Brisbane. 14 September 2005. p. 3. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  13. Elvery, Hannah (October 2011). "Bulimba Creek Oxbow Nekton Research Report 2011" (PDF). Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 March 2015.
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