Toowong Creek: The Last Jewel of Crescent Reach

crescent reach
Brisbane local Althea Fewings canoeing on Toowong Creek (Photo Credit: Brisbane John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

Have you ever heard about the Crescent Reach? It’s fascinating that Brisbane was once graced by the presence of four remarkable creeks: Western Creek, Boundary Creek, Langsville Creek, and Toowong Creek. 


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However, as time passed by, only one of these watercourses, Toowong Creek, managed to endure the test of time, standing as a reminder of Crescent Reach’s former glory.

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In 1824, explorer John Oxley’s expedition arrived at a location he referred to as the ‘Crescent Reach’, which corresponds to what we now know as the Milton reach. 

Crescent Reach
The bridge in the photograph according to McKellars Official Map of Brisbane and Suburbs Maps (1895) is Langsville Bridge. The bridge crosses Langsville Creek, also known as Saltwater Creek (Photo credit: Brisbane John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

It stretches from the point where Toowong Creek meets the river to North Quay. Oxley’s purpose in reaching this area was to locate a source of freshwater, where he planned to set up camp for the night.

Toowong Creek is at the base of Crescent Reach, followed by Langsville Creek, Western Creek, and ultimately Boundary Creek, which once served as the western boundary of Brisbane Town.

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Crescent Reach
Photo credit: oncewasacreek.org 

The existence of Crescent Reach is not merely a tale told through faded maps, but a testament to the captivating mysteries of Brisbane’s past. 

Close inspection of these aged cartographic relics, including a precious artefact from 1884, reveals the intricate pathways of these waterways. However, the precision of the boundaries is undeniably constrained by the data available at the time. 

A mere glance reveals that Boundary Creek, in all its charm, claims the title of the smallest watercourse. On the other hand, Toowong Creek emerged as one of the biggest ones. 

Fishing from the northern bank of the Brisbane River at Toowong, along Milton Reach, Brisbane, 1948 (Photo credit: Brisbane John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland)

Remarkably, all four catchments proudly shared their uppermost boundaries with Ithaca Creek, a testament to the interconnectedness of these natural wonders. 

Originating from the slopes of Mount Coot-tha, Ithaca Creek gracefully meanders through the neighbourhoods of Bardon, Ashgrove, and Red Hill, ultimately converging with its esteemed source, the Enoggera Creek.


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Currently, only Toowong Creek has survived within the Crescent Reach. Originating from the eastern side of Mt Coot-tha, Toowong Creek encompasses an area spanning 3.9 square kilometres. It meanders through the Botanic Gardens and the suburb of Toowong before eventually merging with the Brisbane River near Perrin Park.

Published 13-May-2023