Monday 10 September 2018

Bow Bowing Creek

Back in the days before the public swimming pool at Bradbury was constructed, or Gordon Fetterplace Aquatic Centre as it is now known, most people either swam at The Woolwash or in the Nepean River at Menangle. There was however, another swimming hole that provided relief on a stinking hot Campbelltown day: Bow Bowing Creek.

Bow Bowing Creek's headwaters are found in Glen Alpine and the creek runs permanently, thanks to a natural freshwater spring. Fisher's Ghost Creek and Smith's Creek are two of its tributaries. It would once meander past the township on the western side of the railway line and be prone to flooding at Leumeah and Minto after heavy rain. The original course has altered greatly since a concrete channel was constructed in 1979. The channel cost $198,000 to build and was built to provide reasonable flood protection and to enable projected sales of council land adjacent to Campbelltown Road to proceed.

Many years ago, children from the southern end of Campbelltown would swim in Bow Bowing Creek in a hole known as "the Wattles". Kids from the north would swim in a hole known as the "Leg-o-Mutton". Alf Cooper, who lived most of his long life in Campbelltown, explained "When we came out of school we'd shout "Last to the Wattles is lousy". Across the public school we'd start undressing and by the time we ran down Sewer Lane (today's western end of Dumaresq Street) we'd be naked. The Wattles was a bonzer spot and I was a coot for diving."

It is difficult to imagine that fish were once caught in the creek! A fish called a gudgeon could be found in the creek, which grew to 20-25cms, had very little scale and was quite edible. It became extinct a very long time ago.

Old bridge on Redfern Road, Minto being flooded by Bow Bowing Creek (Jones Collection, Campbelltown City Library)

Written by Andrew Allen


McGILL, Jeff 1995
Campbelltown's Streets and Suburbs: How and why they got their names
Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society

Campbelltown- Ingleburn News, 22 May 1979, p18

FOWLER, Verlie
Reminiscences of Alf Cooper
In Grist Mills Vol. 10, No. 4, December 1997

FOWLER, Verlie
Mervyn and Kathleen Whitten: Living on the Farm
In Grist Mills Vol. 21, No. 2, July 2008

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