The Two Valley Trail Project

The Two-Valley Trail is a 13km walk through bushland, parkland and riverside from Bexley North to Campsie via the Wolli and Cooks River Valleys and their junction at Tempe. The Trail:

  • involves minimal road crossings and street usage
  • is well-serviced by rail and bus enabling it to be walked in sections
  • can be extended at either end: from Campsie via Cooks River Valley to Freshwater Park, Strathfield and beyond to the harbour foreshores; from Bexley North via the M5 Linear Park to Salt Pan Creek at Riverwood and the Georges River beyond.

We are working to:

  • ensure that the route is safely negotiable on foot and maintained, without detracting from natural bushland settings (Wolli), or river views and access ( Cooks River)
  • have the trail way-marked for the guidance of walkers (done in Wolli)
  • emphasise access by public transport, particularly rail and to promote it, in conjunction with CityRail, at access stations and other stations along the East Hills and Bankstown lines
  • produce a basic leaflet with guide map and basic directions re access and use, available in hard copy and via the internet (done)
  • produce a bookmark promoting the Trail for wide distribution (soon)
  • publish a booklet at low cost providing historical and environmental commentary on matters of interest along the Trail, including bushland, historical remnants such as quarries and market gardens, the SWOOS, Tempe House, the Sugar Mill
  • maintain an up-to-date on-line guide to picnic areas and nearby commercial and club outlets for food and refreshments
  • increase the number of shorter guided walks within and adjacent to the Trail
  • develop a set of educational resources indicating ways to use the Two Valley Trail as an outdoor classroom related to several areas of the K-6 syllabus requirements (under development)
  • run a photo exhibition (later to go to the web) showing positive aspects and emphasising the beauty and potential of the two Valleys (done – shown at four locations, available for display at, eg,major Libraries)
  • produce a calendar using relevant exhibition photos and items on particular flora, fauna and issues (such as stormwater, sewage, rubbish, dumping, sediments)
  • establish a website to provide access to the various materials and photographs produced (soon).

Who has organised the Trail?

The Trail is an initiative of five local community groups:

  • Cooks River Valley Association
  • Wolli Creek Preservation Society
  • Friends of Ewen Park
  • Mudcrabs – Ecovolunteers
  • RiverLife Interpretive Tours

Further information on the groups is provided below. While RiverLife Interpretive Tours are supported by Canterbury, Marrrickville, and Strathfield Councils, all of its guides, and all of the other groups, are wholly volunteer and welcome new members.

These groups seek to emphasise the positive values of the two valleys, which are part of Sydney’s multicultural heartland and are densely populated. The valleys have been subject to great environmental pressures since European arrival, but retain great charm and beauty, which is often overlooked and little known outside the surrounding suburbs.


Organisations of the Two Valley Trail

Cooks River Valley Association

The Cooks River Valley Association (CRVA) is an incorporated community group with the objectives of improving the health of the Cooks River and its environs; increasing and improving the amenity of open space and community resources and improving community connectedness in the Cooks River Valley. The CRVA formed in the 1950s, taking over the responsibilities of the Cooks River Improvement League, which had been in operation since the 1920s.

In recent years the CRVA has held three very successful Cooks River Community Forums. The 2007 Forum brought together local MPs, representatives of major political parties, council representatives and other key personnel with over 350 residents to discuss the Cooks River. The Forum was given an assurance that the removal and replacement of the sheet steel piling would commence in April 2007 but unfortunately there is still no sign of this work commencing. Plans are now underway for the 2008 Cooks River Forum which will attempt to showcase all of the positive work being undertaken by community groups, local and State government on the Cooks River and foreshores.

Two active community groups, the Mudcrabs - Cooks River Eco-volunteers and the Friends of Ewen Park, have officially affiliated with the CRVA this year, significantly increasing the CRVA’s membership and activity base. The CRVA has funded Conservation Volunteers Australia to work with the Mudcrabs to carry out weeding and bush regeneration on the Cooks River. The CRVA is a member of Streamwatch and conducts water testing in the Cooks River. The CRVA is a registered Landcare group and is a member of Waterkeepers Australia, sending a delegate to the National Waterkeepers Conference in Melbourne (July 2007).The Association’s website is at and it can be contacted via

Wolli Creek Preservation Society

The Wolli Creek Preservation Society (WCPS) was founded in 1984 to prevent motorway construction through the Wolli Valley. Over the years of this struggle, WCPS was also involved in many activities including interpretive bush walks, bird watching, schools’ programs and the publication of newsletters and books related to the natural environment and heritage of the area.

In 1999, the NSW government abandoned a surface road through the valley, building the M5 East tunnel instead. At the same time, it committed to taking the valley’s natural areas into a 50-hectare regional park under the NPWS (underway, but yet to be completed). The Society is now able to do more community environmental education, bush regeneration, bird surveying, and promotion of the use of the valley as a valuable resource for schools and community groups.

The Society is committed to the conservation, enhancement and expansion of bushland in the Wolli Creek and (the tributary) Bardwell Creek catchments and seeks to improve community behaviours to protect bushland and creek quality. It also seeks to retain the best of the area’s built environment. The Society is wholly voluntary and works cooperatively with State agencies and local Councils to achieve its aims. It has received State and local grants to support its work on major bush restoration projects along the Wolli Valley. The Society has also gained valuable corporate support from Westpac and Price Waterhouse Coopers though its membership of Landcare Australia.

The Society can be contacted via PO Box 270 Earlwood 2206 or Its website is It currently has 300 members.

Friends of Ewen Park

Ewen Park, in the suburb of Hurlstone Park, combines a landscaped picnic and play area with two sporting fields. Situated on a particularly beautiful stretch of the Cooks River, it has been used for a variety of recreational purposes by local residents for the last ninety years.

Active since the year 2000, the Friends of Ewen Park are committed to the balanced use of the resources of Ewen Park for varying community needs. They believe that the environmental capacity of this flood plain area must not be over-stretched.

Their objectives include raising environmental awareness through the organisation of community activities in Ewen Park. The showcase annual event is the Spring Community Picnic. As well as offering children's art and craft activities with an environmental theme, the Ewen Park Picnic has a major focus on children's literature, with guest appearances by many award-winning children's authors and illustrators, and signed book prizes.

Email newsletters are regularly sent to over 400 Friends of Ewen Park, and there are a further 400 local people on the snail mail list. The Friends of Ewen Park can be contacted via or PO Box 172 Hurlstone Park, 2193.

The Mudcrabs - Cooks River Eco Volunteers

The Mudcrabs are a local community group which cares for The Cooks River and its foreshore environment by regularly collecting rubbish and restoring the bush along the Cooks River. The group grew out of the interest and involvement of two people, Chris Bartlett and Ian Bruce, who were involved in the 2005 Clean-Up Australia Day along the Cooks River. These two people then became disappointed that the River was still full of rubbish after the big clean up. They decided to take action into their own hands and begin a regular clean up of the River themselves. Other people noticed them working along the river and stopped to talk, then offered to help.

As more people became interested, Canterbury Council became involved and assisted by supplying, bags, rubbish grabbers, boots, gloves etc. Initially, Chris Bartlett had to individually phone all the volunteers to tell them when and where the cleanups would be. This became onerous and expensive as more & more people wanted to help, so an email contact list was formed which now has more than 400 people on it.

The Mudcrabs name was chosen because the presence of mudcrabs in the river would be a sign of the health of the river and because of the visual image of individuals moving about the foreshores with pincer-like rubbish pullers, being very active. A logo was designed and T-shirts printed. People's interest in Mudcrab activities started to grow quickly as members wore their Mudcrabs’ T-shirts to the clean-ups. Both Marrickville and Canterbury Councils became keen to use Mudcrabs’ services and were prepared to provide equipment, pay for the T-shirts, provide morning tea etc.

The Mudcrabs run an annual Environmental Sculpture Competition on the Cooks River, called Riverworks using only recycled material. The inaugural Riverworks event held in March 2006 was very successful with over 220 entries. This annual event continues to highlight the Cooks River and focus attention on the health of the river.

In the 3 years from July 2005, the group has removed more than 2000 bags of litter from the Cooks River – this is estimated to be more than 400 cubic metres. They have also removed 350 bags of weeds and planted about 3000 native trees and shrubs at a bush restoration site at Rosedale Reserve initiated by the Mudcrabs.

The Mudcrabs’ goal is to remain a 'grass roots' group, but it also realizes that we must become more politically active to reduce the flow of pollution at its source. The fight continues and they have recently joined the Cooks River Valley Association to assist in joint endeavours.

Riverlife Interpretive Tours

The Riverlife Interpretive Tour Program supports a group of volunteers who guide tours in the Cooks River catchment area. The Program provides a variety of free tours for the community, covering themes on history, ecology and sustainability. The program is supported by Canterbury, Marrickville and Strathfield Councils and also received funding from the ‘Our Environment: It’s a Living Thing’ Program from the then NSW Department of Environment and Conservation. Tour information can be found via the Environment tab on the Marrickville Council website at



© 2008 TVT. This page last updated 20 August, 2008
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