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Plants and Animals of the Georges River


The Georges River flows through a very varied landscape from the almost fully urbanised lower coastal reaches through to the steep sided heavily wooded upper reaches near Appin.  Vegetation communities in the catchment are primarily influenced by the distribution of shale (Cumberland Plain) and sandstone (Woronora Plateau) geologies.  Many of these communities have been listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995), particularly those communities located on the Cumberland Plain.

The vegetation of the Georges River catchment can be grouped into the following categories based on their underlying soils:Angophora Costata on rock Georges River National Park

  • Shale communities - Frequently dominated by Eucalyptus moluccana, Eucalyptus tereticornis, Eucalyptus saligna, Eucalyptus pilularis and Eucalyptus crebra.  A good example of a shale community can be found at Lansdowne.
  • Shale/sandstone transitional communities - dominated by Eucalyptus punctata, Eucalyptus fibrosa, Eucalyptus paniculata, Angophora bakeri and Melaleuca nodosa.  Some examples of shale/sandstone transition communities can be seen at Ingleburn and Minto Heights in the upper reaches of the Georges River Catchment.
  • Communities on Tertiary Alluvium - dominated by Eucalyptus moluccana, Eucalyptus fibrosa, Eucalyptus longifolia, Eucalyptus eugenioides and Melaleuca nodosa.
  • Riparian communities - dominated by Casuarina glauca, Angophora floribunda, Eucalyptus amplifolia, Eucalyptus botryoides, and various Melaleuca spp.  A good example of a riparian community can be found at Deepwater Park.
  • Sandstone communities - dominated by Angophora costata, Eucalyptus piperita,  Corymbia gummifera, and Eucalyptus sclerophylla, and Banksia serrataA good example of a sandstone community can be found in the Georges River National Park. 
  • Estuarine communities - These include mangrove and Salt Marsh communities.  Dominated by Avicennia marina, and Sarcocornia quinqueflora.  Excellent mangrove and slat marsh ecosystems can be found right along the lower reaches of the river to Botany Bay.
  • Freshwater Communities - Melaleuca linariifolia, Melaleuca. styphelioides and Casuarina glauca, and ground species including Juncus usitatus and Persicaria spp are dominant in occasionally inundated areas, with Eleocharis sphacelata and Ludwigia peploides in permanent wetlands.  Some good examples can be found around Voyager Point and Hammondville.




















These different vegetation associations provide a wide range of habitats for native animals.  There are 352 species of fauna (both aquatic and terrestrial) recorded within the Georges River Catchment, many of which have been listed under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act (1995).  The diversity and richness of fauna varies considerably from the coastal areas, to the urban fringes, to the relative wilderness of some of the upstream areas of the catchment.

Some species of note that have been found in surveys include Koala, Green and Golden Bell Frog, Turquoise Parrot, Squirrel Glider, Eastern Horseshoe-bat, and the Glossy Black-Cockatoo.

For more information on the terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity of the Georges River visit NSW Department of Planning.  The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service also have an online Atlas of NSW Wildlife that contains recorded sightings of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and endangered invertebrates in New South Wales.

Threatened Flora and Fauna of the Georges River Catchment

Within NSW there are two pieces of legislation governing the listing of species' as endangered.  The Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. Additionally, the NSW Fisheries Act 1994 provides for the protection of aquatic habitats which includes Mangroves.


There are approximately 135 threatened plant species found in the Georges River catchment including the native Rice Flower (Pimelea spicata), a Geebung (Persoonia nutans), White Cynanchum (Cynanchum elegans), and the Sydney Plains Greenhood Orchid (Pterostylis saxicola).

Endangered Ecological Communities

Several Endangered Ecological Communities (EEC's) are found in the Georges River Catchment.

  • Agnes Banks Woodland
  • Blue Gum High Forest
  • Castlereagh Swamp Woodland
  • Coastal Salt MarshMangrove
  • Cumberland Plain Woodland
  • Mangroves
  • Moist Shale Woodland in the Sydney Basin Bioregion
  • O’Hares Creek Shale Forest
  • Sandstone Transition Forest
  • Shale Gravel Transition Forest
  • Shale/Sandstone Transition Forest
  • Southern Sydney sheltered Forest
  • Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest
  • Swamp sclerophyll Forest
  • Sydney Coastal River Flat Forest
  • Sydney Freshwater wetlands
  • Sydney Turpentine–Ironbark Forest


A large number of endangered animals can also be found within the Georges River Catchment.  Below is a list of most of the threatened fauna.



Common Bent-wing Bat

Miniopterus schreibersii


Eastern Freetail-bat

Mormopterus norfolkensis


Eastern False Pipistrelle

Falsistrellus tasmaniensis


Greater Broad-nosed Bat

Scoteanax rueppellii


Grey-headed Flying Fox

Pteropus poliocephalus


Large-eared Pied Bat

Chalinolobus dwyeri


Large-footed Myotis

Myotis macropus


Yellow-bellied Sheath-tail-bat

Saccolaimus flaviventris


Australasian Bittern

Botaurus poiciloptilus


Barking Owl

Ninox connivens


Beach Stone-curlew

Esacus neglectus


Black-tailed Godwit

Limosa limosa


Broad-billed Sandpiper

Limicola falcinellus


Bush Stone-curlew

Burhinus grallarius


Glossy Black-Cockatoo

Calyptorhynchus lathami


Great Knot

Calidris tenuirostris


Greater Sand Plover

Charadrius leschenaultii


Little Tern

Sterna albifrons


Masked Owl

Tyto novaehollandiae


Pied Oystercatcher

Haematopus longirostris


Powerful owl

Ninox strenua


Regent Honeyeater

Xanthomyza phrygia


Sooty Owl

Tyto tenebricosa


Sooty Oystercatcher

Haematopus fuliginosus


Striated Field Wren

Calamanthus fuliginosus


Swift Parrot

Lathamus discolor


Turquoise Parrot

Neophema pulchella


Giant Burrowing Frog

Heleioporus australiacus


Green & Golden Bell Frog

Litoria aurea


Heath Frog

Litoria Littlejohni


Red-crowned Toadlet

Pseudophryne australis


Eastern Pygmy Possum

Cercartetus nanus



Phascolarctos cinereus


Squirrel Glider

Petaurus norfolcensis


Spotted-tailed Quoll

Dasyurus maculatus


Yellow-bellied Glider

Petaurus australis


Broad-headed Snake

Hoplocephalus bungaroides


Rosenberg's Goanna

Varanus rosenbergi


Tawny Frogmouth