Merri Creek Management Committee

In November 2012, a truck accident in Fawkner caused non-toxic iron oxide dye to spill into a tributary of Merri Creek and painted a wetland bright red.

The truck was exiting the Western Ring Rd on to Sydney Rd, Fawkner when 800 litres of iron oxide dye spilt into a drain leading to wetlands in the Campbellfield Creek retarding basin.  The retarding basin lies between the Upfield Railway line and the Northern Memorial Park in Fawkner.

Campbellfield Creek is a tributary of Merri Creek.  Melbourne Water has estimated that 17 million litres of contaminated water is contained within the wetland.  Barriers have been set up to contain the dye, but some contaminated water had entered Merri Creek by Thursday 29 November 2012.  Melbourne Water crews are working day and night to pump contaminated water from the wetland into a nearby sewer and are hopeful no more dyed water will enter Merri Creek.

Although the spill is non-toxic, the Leader newspaper has reported the Environmental Protection Authority will be testing to monitor potential impact.  The iron oxide is used to colour landscape mulch.

Merri Creek Management Committee Manager, Luisa Macmillan, said the incident highlights the extreme vulnerability of urban waterways to pollution spills.  It also shows the immense value of wetlands and other systems to filter and treat water from drains before discharge to local creeks. The wetlands on Campbellfield Creek are the only wetlands in the City of Moreland to treat road and roof runoff before it enters Merri Creek.

For the first time in over 100 years, local traditional owners have made a single sheet bark canoe at a site nearby the Merri catchment. MCMC worked with many partners to support this project.

In June, the Victorian Government released its final North Growth Corridor Plan, dedicating even more land in the Merri catchment to urban uses. This growth ‘planning’ leaves an indecently narrow corridor along much of Merri Creek, locates a major town centre (Lockerbie) straddling the creek, proposes a non-existent habitat link from Merri Creek to a yet to be defined Red Gum Woodland reserve in Wollert, and whittles away other proposed conservation areas.

Well done to Friends of Merri Creek for receiving a a Special Commendation, which was equivalent to coming second in the National Urban Landcare Award. The winner was Georges River Combined Councils’ Committee in NSW, which consists of nine Councils as well as agencies and community representatives within the catchment of Georges River, which runs into Botany Bay. It’s like a supersized version of MCMC.


Merri Creek Management Committee congratulates the Friends of Merri Creek President, David Redfearn, on being awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the General Division, in the 2012 Australia Day Awards.
David was honoured for his service to conservation and the environment, to local government, and to the community. Besides being President of Friends of Merri Creek since 2004, he was also President of Merri Creek Management Committee from 1990-99. Other organisations to which he has made a substantial contribution include: inaugural President of Yarra Riverkeeper Association from 2004-09; Mayor, City of Northcote from 1984-85 and 1986-87, and a Councillor from 1982-93. In 2000, David was also was awarded the City of Darebin Citizen of the Year.