Activities - Gellibrand River
The Gellibrand River snakes through Kangaroobie before opening into the Southern Ocean at Princetown and gives geography students the perfect opportunity to study a dynamic river system.
Gellibrand River’s catchment includes eucalypt forests and cleared agricultural land. Significantly, in a time of global warming and protracted droughts, the Gellibrand River catchment boasts the highest rainfall in Victoria.
Although the Gellibrand River has the reputation of being one of the most ecologically healthy rivers in Victoria, some people are concerned by increasing and further proposed extractions for rural and urban use, which could place significant pressure and stress on the system.
Kangaroobie’s Matt Bowker who spent much of his childhood swimming and fishing in the Gellibrand River, is actively involved in monitoring the health of the system as a volunteer member of EstuaryWatch.
A trained Environmental Science teacher, Matt writes practical education programs on the Gellibrand River System that meet key learning points for river study subjects aimed at students in years eight to 11.
“The Gellibrand River is a great place to see and study the basic geography and geology of a river system – we study erosion, siltation, seasonal flooding, deposition, and hydrology,” Matt said.
“Students have the opportunity to undertake water quality testing, including oxygen levels, salinity and temperature.”
Matt recalls how the Gellibrand in flood affected his childhood.
“Mum used to drop us off on one side of the flood and my sister and I would jump in a canoe, paddle to the other side and our neighbour would then drive us to the bus stop. It was a funny way of getting to school’’.
He has dozens of happy memories of the Gellibrand as a great spot for canoeing, swimming and catching eels.
“We’d make a little fire and cook them up on the riverbank. I’ve got a great affection for the river and it’s great to be able to pass that onto my three young children and the people who come and stay with us at Kangaroobie.
“There are Aboriginal middens there, which are archaeological deposits of kitchen refuse built up over hundreds of years, so the Koorie people obviously saw this as a pretty special place too’’.