Rocky Ck Dam, Big Scrub Flora Reserve, Gibbergunyah Roadside Reserve, Rosebank Recreation Reserve

Rocky Creek Dam


Rocky Creek Dam 2012

Rocky Dam & Spillway

Shelter & Ficnic facilities

Rocky Creek Dam is located within the Whian Whian State Conservation Area approximately 9.5kms west of Rosebank and 20km north of Lismore. It can be accessed from the sealed Rocky Ck Dam Road which turns off Dunoon Road.

Great efforts have been made to preserve the site around the dam including the Big Scrub Remnant that is within easy walking distance of the picnic area. There’s plenty to do and see out at the dam and its well worth setting aside a day to visit, picnic and bushwalk. It is a day use area only (no camping) and provides bbqs, plenty of large undercover shelters, a children’s playground, toilets,ample parking and lots of interesting interpretive signs including the cultural heritage of the region. There are great views of the dam and spillway, some excellent short walks and a boardwalk through the rainforest. No swimming, fishing or boating is permitted but if you love wildlife, birds of the forest and rainforest trees this is the place to bring the family.

The Big Scrub Field Day is held annually at Rocky Creek Dam in September and is a great family day that showcases the regions environmental features. The field day boasts being the largest Landcare event held in Australia and provides guest speakers, stalls, walks, Aboriginal dancing and cultural talks. The Big Scrub Field Day has been successfully running for 13 years (2011).

Dam wall

The Platypus pond

The Rocky Creek Dam water supply scheme was commenced in 1949 followed by the Nightcap water treatment plant on Middleton Road being commissioned in 1992. The dam wall is 27m high and when full the dam holds 14000 megalitres. The dam has a 29km2 water catchment located in the Nightcap (31%) and Whian Whian SCA (61%).The original farm that was located where Rocky Creek Dam now sits was shared farmed by the Everingham Family who cleared the scrub for the owner, Allan Crofton.

In more recent years Rous Water has worked closely with the Widjabul people who have put together informative signs and stories at suitable sites around the picnic area above the Dam. For example, the Watering Hole story, by the Widjabul custodians, teaches us how to look after our waterways and local ecosystems.

Dam Walks

Floating bridge

Boardwalk through palm forest


Land Mullet

There are several main walks around the dam area and all are easy. Visit the website for full details and factsheets on recreational facilities, bushwalks, maps and the amazing history of the Dam. or refer to the bushwalking section of this website for more details.

The walks are listed briefly below;

The Water Walk Is 60m from the picnic area to the lookout over the dam. It wanders on a wheelchair friendly path past colourful interpretive signs complete with illustrations and photos about the forest creatures and water cycle. Great for kids who like looking for the land mullets-these are shiny black harmless lizards which frequent the undergrowth.

The Dam Spillway Walk takes an easy 10 mins, This is a pretty walk where you can walk across the spillway if there is no water flowing over it. Watch for water dragons, echidnas. water lilies and white fringed lilies along the sides of the spillway.

The Platypus Boardwalk is an easy 30 mins (1.5km) but you will want to take longer to spot the platypus, turtles and pacific black ducks from the floating pontoon and the rainforest birds from the extensive elevated boardwalk. The tail returns via the Dam spillway where echidnas and water dragons are plentiful. You can take a side track to the base of the spillway and see the beautiful cascades if they are flowing. This is where you often see the tiny white fringed lily and numerous waterbirds in the rainforest pools in Rocky Creek.

Scrub Turkey Track (3km one way, 1hr to Rocky Creek Dam Picnic Area from Gibbergunyah Rd) This track is also known as the Northern Boundary Trail and it takes you through several forest types and the Big Scrub remnant. Initially through tall regrowth flooded gum (Eucalyptus grandis) and tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys) forest, then through the magnificent 'old growth’ eucalypt forest, and the lowland subtropical rainforest of the Big Scrub. The final kilometre of the walk passes through the Rous Water rainforest regeneration area, and across the spillway and dam wall to the picnic area. Refer to bushwalk section for more detail

The Big Scrub Loop Walk (1.5 km, 45–60mins medium) This walk is a unique opportunity to view and experience the largest remaining remnant of the Big Scrub lowland sub-tropical rainforest. Originally covering more than 75,000 ha, the Big Scrub was the largest continuous area of lowland sub-tropical rainforest in Australia. Today, only a few hundred hectares remain as upwards of 99.7% of the rainforest on these deep red soils was cleared for agriculture.

Starting off Gibbergunyah Range Road, you can stroll among some of the best examples of remnant rainforest in NSW. See large figs, abundant birdlife and crystal clear creeks.

Refer to the bushwalking section of this website for further details on the above walks.

Other Points of Interest include

Big Scrub giant fig

The Big Scrub Flora Reserve is located on Gibbergunyah Rd which turns left (1.4km) off Rocky Ck Dam Rd. It is the largest surviving remnant of the “Big Scrub” rainforests. These great rainforest stands originally covered much of the low basalt country of the Richmond Valley and at the time of European settlement, the area that is now north-east NSW and south-east Qld supported one of the largest expanses of rainforest on the continent. The Big Scrub was one of the largest stands of lowland sub-tropical rainforest stands in the world. Many of these rainforests are now World Heritage listed due their beauty and diversity of species.

The early settlers also referred to the Big Scrub as ´Brush´ or ´Scrub´ as they were thickly vegetated areas that were difficult to penetrate on foot or on horseback.

Most of the original rainforest species of the “Big Scrub” are represented in this 196 hectare Big Scrub Flora Reserve.

Refer to the flora and fauna section of this website for the species lists of birds that can be seen in the Reserve and the bushwalking section of this website for the 2 walks through the Big Scrub Remnant.

Gibbergunyah Roadside Reserve

Giant tallowwood

Giant Fig

(17.4km return, 8hrs, easy-moderate)

It is believed that the name ‘Gibbergunyah’ originated from a stone and timber hut used by early timber cutters.

The Gibbergunyah Roadside Reserve is a 40m wide strip of spectacular forest either side of the road that was reserved from logging. This Reserve contains fine examples of large old giants such as brush box, blackbutt, tallowwood, white mahogany and turpentine. Some individual trees are labelled to help with identification of the different species.

To reach the Reserve you can walk in from the Park entrance gates located on Gibbergunyah Road, 1.4km off Rocky Creek Dam Road. Park your car at the gates and walk down the road, across Rocky Creek causeway (take your boots off) and continue along the road for 8.7km. This is a great trail to cycle or mountain bike.

Along the way you will pass The Big Scrub Remnant and its walking trail and the Scrub Turkey walking track that leads down to Rocky Creek Dam. Both of these walks are detailed in the bushwalking section of this website.

As you walk or cycle along this road keep an eye out for massive buttressed strangle figs on the left hand side which are set back about 50m off the road. If you spy them its worth having a closer look. Giant stinging trees are also common so learn how to identify their bright green leaves so as to avoid them. Their sting is very nasty and can last from days-weeks.

The tiny pademelons frequent this area during early mornings and just on dusk as do potoroos. It is always a treat to see them dart across the road ahead of you. This is a bird watchers paradise as all the rainforest birds can be seen and heard as well.

Natural Attractions

Reserve entrance

Picnic tables

Grassed walking trails

Yankee Creek

Reserve Toilet

Wood Duck family

Eastern Water Dragons frequent the reserve

Wood Duck family

Rosebank Recreation Reserve

Rosebank Recreation Reserve ( formerly known as the Armstrong Roadside Reserve)

The Community of Rosebank have created a delightful shady place to stop and have a picnic beside Yankee Creek. The local school and the Community have spent many hours, replanting this pretty little reserve with the flora of the Big Scrub which once covered this region. A beautiful backdrop of large eucalypts is home to several koalas, making this an ideal spot to stop and watch the wildlife. Now an oasis surrounded by farms, the reserve is located on Armstrong Road which turns off Rosebank Road opposite the Rosebank PS. It is located just 200m down Armstrong Road on the right and is signposted.

The wildlife you can expect to see are Bearded Dragons, Water Dragons, Skinks, Pacific Black Ducks, Rainforest pigeons, Bush Turkey, Swamphens, Kingfishers, Koalas and Platypus which play near the creek.

To ID wildlife species correctly why not look up the WIRES website at

History of the Reserve

In the 1950’s, the students at Rosebank Public School used to walk down to Yankee Creek to have swimming lessons. In 1963 Mr and Mrs H.C. Elford donated 1.6 acres of their land (bordering Armstrong Road and straddling Yankee Creek) to the community, with the intention of providing a safe place for the local school children to learn to swim.

The land and adjoining field was a central site for the early white settlers to picnic and was the site of Rosebank’s original cricket ground. There is a concrete pitch in the centre of the field which is said to date back to the beginning of last century. This little reserve has considerable historical significance for the local community.

The land was approved as a Crown Reserve for public recreation in 1965 and trustees appointed – the local council at the time was Terania Shire. The Reserve was formerly gazetted in 1966.

In 1968 Terania Shire was subsumed by Lismore City Council who then took control of the Reserve. Unfortunately all council records of the Reserve were lost during the changeover and or through the 1974 floods.

In 1983 there was considerable effort put into extending the Reserve another 5 acres when Peter Creagh was willing to donate the land which included the old cricket pitch to the local school. After some consideration the Principal Bill Collier declined the offer realising they were not able to maintain this amount of land. Although the donation didn’t eventuate, in 1988, the new Principal Mary Catley (now Hughes) decided to take an interest in the old Reserve after finding an old folder with details of the Reserve. With renewed community participation some 554 trees were planted including ironbark, tallowwood, yellow stringbark, gympie messmate. The local school children participated in the planting of these Bi-centenary trees which are still present today and provide a home for several koalas.

In 1999 a new trust was formed on behalf of the Rosebank Community, by local residents who took over care, control and maintenance of the Reserve from Lismore City Council. Working bees commenced with creekside plantings on the eastern side of Yankee Ck and Council was invited to assist the community in creating a park.

In 2005, some 40 years on after the Reserve was first gazetted, the Rosebank Recreation Reserve Trust was formed under the Department of Lands.

In 2005 things really kicked off when the community organised a Little Scrub Field Day at the Reserve and planted another 300 trees. The school children did another big plant out for National Tree Day and once again the Reserve proved to be a great natural venue for enjoyment.

Also in 2005 a NewTrain Green Corps team came down to lend a hand with weeding and the first picnic table was constructed. This was followed by another two picnic tables in 2007–08, constructed by EnviTE Work for the Dole teams. Both Teams helped maintain the Reserve plantings over the years, encouraged by the Community who were always down at the Reserve doing odd jobs.

In 2010 a surveyor determined the exact boundaries of the Reserve.

As part of a Natural Heritage Trust Australian Government Envirofund grant, a huge amount of weed removal and planting occurred on the Reserve with another 1300 trees, shrubs and groundcovers planted, representing 120 local native species. In addition a short walking track was put in place and in 2010 a Farrallones style compost toilet was constructed. This was made possible by a Reconnecting to Country grant and Department of Lands funding. Works are currently being undertaken to enable wheelchair access for the disabled with the construction of an earthen/wooden ramp.

Today in 2012, the adjoining field is still used every year for the annual combined schools cross country running event and community fun days and the students from Rosebank School join in planting every November. The senior school children are also actively engaged in native tree identification as part of their environmental education.

Rosebank Landcare holds their regular working bees at the Reserve on the third Saturday of every month undertaking weed control, planting and occasionally other tasks. Why not come along and join in and learn about the plants that once dominated the ´Big Scrub´. Its easy as many of the plants are identified with name plaques. For further enquiries please contact Benny Glasman on 6688 2294 or Garth Kindred on 66882220, email

Alas no swimming lessons take place at the Reserves waterhole anymore but a wonderful natural creekside environment provides the school kids, the community and visitors with a restful place to watch and learn about our environment, wildlife and birds and its still a great place to have a paddle on hot summer days.