The Werribee River Association (WRIVA) began its life in Werribee Township in 1981, with a view to protect and enhance the natural environment of the Werribee River. WRIVA understood that the whole of the river was important, and has acted strategically and practically, in an effort to gain support for the whole of the Werribee catchment. Based in Werribee, WRIVA works locally with Wyndham City Council, Melbourne Water, and Parks Victoria.
The Werribee River
The Werribee River’s name “Werribee” is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘backbone’ or ‘spine.’ This name has survived from the days of early white settlement even though various names were given to the river in the early white history of the area. 1
The river’s catchment is at the western edge of the greater Melbourne area, and occupies land which is noted for its Otway Coastal Plain to the south, its Victorian Volcanic Plains Grasslands across the bulk of the centre and to the north, the forested foothills of the Great Dividing Range.
In the foothills twenty kilometres to the north of Ballan, land to the west of Korweinguboora slopes away into the Moorabool river catchment, while land to the east slopes away to the Werribee catchment. It’s here that the Werribee River begins life as a couple of small creeks within a kilometre or two of Korweinguboora in the hills and gullies of cleared land or the Wombat Forest.
From there the Werribee flows south to Ballan where it turns south-east and carves its way through the magnificent Werribee Gorge and passes through Bacchus Marsh to meet the Lerderderg River. The Lerderderg River also began its journey in the Wombat Forest, but in more heavily wooded country only a little further to the east of the Werribee River headwaters. Eventually the Lerderderg joins the Werribee a little downstream of Bacchus Marsh.
The Werribee flows further south-east where some of its gorges are filled by the waters held in the Melton reservoir, with its dam wall at Exford. From Melton reservoir the river flows in a more southerly direction through beautiful gorge country to Cobbledick’s Ford Reserve.
Then the river continues south through flat delta land until it meets the Werribee Diversion Weir which holds back a pool of water stored for diversion into irrigation channels, bound for Werribee South farms.
Flowing south through Werribee, the river reaches tidal influences downstream of the Werribee Park Mansion, adjacent to Werribee River Park. From that point on the river forms its estuary and flows into Port Phillip Bay, having travelled about one hundred and ten kilometres from its starting point.
Click to view our Natureshare Google Map for the Werribee River. Click on the zoom in/Zoom out scale on the right side of the map, and use the arrows or drag your mouse across the map to follow the length of the river
1. James, K & Pritchard, L. Werribee The First 100 Years, Werribee District Historical Society Inc., 2008