River me this: Push to upgrade part of Prospect Creek

Community advocate Lachlan Hyde standing on the banks of the proposed Lennox River and which runs under the Lansdowne Bridge which was designed by David Lennox. Picture: Thanh Luong
Community advocate Lachlan Hyde standing on the banks of the proposed Lennox River and which runs under the Lansdowne Bridge which was designed by David Lennox. Picture: Thanh Luong

When is a creek in fact not a creek, but a river?

Lansvale resident Lachlan Hyde thinks a six-kilometre stretch of Prospect Creek deserves river status and is pushing for an upgrade from the Geographical Names Board (GNB).

The 19-year-old submitted a proposal to the board which met on Tuesday for the section of the creek which flows through the suburbs of Carramar, Canley Vale, Lansdowne and Lansvale.

The former Patrician Brothers' College Fairfield proposes the section be named the Lennox River to honour Scottish-Australian stonemason David Lennox who designed and oversaw the construction of the Lansdowne Bridge which crosses this waterway.

The Lennox River flowing under the Lansdowne Bridge. Inset: A diagram of the new river route.

The Lennox River flowing under the Lansdowne Bridge. Inset: A diagram of the new river route.

"This creek is very much in name only with the waterway being navigable by boats, jet skis, and other watercraft, it's also wide (averaging 25-metre) and deep. Because of these features I have advocated and pushed the NSW state government to recognise and upgrade this creek to river status," Mr Hyde said.

"For anyone who has ever seen or spent time around this local waterway would agree that this is very much a thriving river system matching the legal definition of a river which the GNB defines as a 'major natural stream in a large catchment basin, carrying water to another river, a lake or the sea'. This six-kilometre section of Prospect Creek does just this.

"Should the Geographic Names Board adopt the proposed 'Lennox River' name then this would apply from the junction with Orphan School and Prospect Creeks located on the border of Carramar and Canley Vale. The new river would then flow downstream through Lansdowne and Lansvale before opening up at Dhurawal Bay in the Georges River. This proposal makes note that the two existing names of the tributaries will remain in place for the upstream catchment preserving them in their 'creek-like' environment and also the historic Prospect Creek name."

The community advocate said the proposal has the added benefit of bringing this 'hidden gem' of south-west Sydney to the attention of of the community.

"Hopefully it will become the mechanism for getting people out and about exploring local green space as there are walkways, pathways, and cycle tracks along the majority of this river route," he said.

"Also being quite a central figure in the history and development of roads in the early days of NSW as a colony, Lennox should be a person known by many with his legacy of bridges still carrying both motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic today. I was inspired to use his name for the proposed river upgrade, a way to acknowledge his links to western Sydney while also leaving him a legacy, a living memorial through a thriving river system."

"This is very much a thriving river system matching the legal definition of a river." Picture: Thanh Luong

"This is very much a thriving river system matching the legal definition of a river." Picture: Thanh Luong

A spokesperson for the Geographical Names Board said the board met on Tuesday to review proposals and applicants will be informed before the outcome is made public. If the proposal is successful it will move to the public consultation phase.

"Requests for changing a place name are dealt with on a case by case basis," the spokesperson said.

"The GNB is responsible for the naming of features only and not responsible for the definition of each feature type.

"The designation values (i.e. river, creek, beach etc.) held by the GNB are used to categorise features that may be named, and are applied to the entirety of the feature."

The spokesperson said as per GNB naming policy the following designation values have been defined as:

Creek: A natural watercourse that is usually a tributary of a river or another creek. It may be perennial or non-perennial and in some areas its course may become indefinite or even peter out.

River: A major natural stream in a large catchment basin, carrying water to another river, a lake or the sea. Usually perennial, but not necessarily so in arid areas.