1624 September 2023

Riverfest is the Parramatta River Catchment Group’s annual, premier community event – celebrating the Parramatta River and surrounding creeks and environment!

This year’s festival is being held from Saturday, 16 September (World Clean Up Day) to Sunday, 24 September (World Rivers Day).

Coordinated by the Parramatta River Catchment Group, Riverfest events are run by community groups, councils and partner agencies across the catchment that focus on improving the health of our waterways, wildlife and their habitats and ways you can help.

See below for information on this year’s Event Program, hosting an event and how to get involved. 

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Event Program

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This year’s Riverfest program offers a wide range of events and activities for you to connect with the Parramatta River and its surrounding creeks and environment and help make a difference. More events will be added in coming weeks, so check back regularly to see what’s on!



National Biodiversity Month

Biodiversity is often described as ‘the web of life’, encompassing all living things and their ecosystems. This event is held each year to help promote the importance of protecting, conserving and improving biodiversity. Unfortunately, there are many threats to Australia’s biodiversity, including habitat destruction, introduced species, poor fire management and climate change. You can help protect Australia’s biodiversity in lots of ways, such as by taking part in National Wattle Day and National Threatened Species Day. Find out more.


September in Wistaria Gardens 2023

Dates: Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 September, Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 September
Time: 11:00am to 3:00pm
Location: Wistaria Gardens, Parramatta Park
Entry: FREE

September in Wistaria is back for another year, bringing two weekends full of sun, music and spring flowers at Parramatta Park! This year, take part in one of our many tours and guided walks to experience the park in new and interesting ways. Learn about First Nations’ culture and Wistaria Gardens spring plantings, explore one of Australia’s oldest buildings, take a self-guided tour along the Parramatta River, and much more! Find out more.



The River: Burramatta to Cockatoo exhibition

Date: Saturday, 4 March Sunday, 26 November 2023
Time: 10:00am 4:00pm
Venue: Old Government House, Parramatta Park, Pitt Street Entrance, Parramatta NSW 2150

The exhibition explores the complex and fascinating history of the Parramatta River and its ongoing cultural significance to First Nations people, the impacts of colonisation and industrialisation, its use for recreation and the current campaign to clean up the river to make it swimmable again.

The exhibition features objects from the National Trust collection and on loan from the Maritime Museum, Powerhouse Museum and Parramatta Council. Find out more.




World Clean Up Day

Since 2018, World Clean Up Day has brought together millions of people for the biggest waste collection day in human history. The annual event unites volunteers, governments and organisations in 191 countries to tackle the global waste problem and help create a more sustainable world. Check this page for clean-up events being organised across the catchment. Find out more.



Clean Up Together for Global Harmony

Date: Saturday, 16 September 2023
Time: 10:00am – 1:00pm
Location: Kissing Point Park, 87 Waterview St, Putney

Join the passionate volunteers from FITA (Fraternity In Truth Association) for a litter clean-up at Kissing Point Park. Dedicated to social justice, multicultural and religious harmony, and conserving the planet, this community group has been keeping the Parramatta River foreshore litter-free for more than 20 years! All rubbish bags and clean-up equipment will be provided. Please wear a sunhat, long-sleeved shirt and bring your own water bottle. 


Clean Up Parramatta River – Ermington

Date: Saturday, 16 September 2023
Time: 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Location: George Kendall Riverside Park, Broadoaks St Ermington – meet at Broadoaks St entrance (follow signs) 

Celebrate World Clean Up Day along the Parramatta River foreshore in Ermington. Join local volunteers with the help of Jerome Laxale, Federal MP for Bennelong, Donna Davis, State MP for Parramatta, Clean Up Australia, and the Parramatta River Catchment Group, to clean up the mangroves that trap rubbish and are a vital part of the ecosystem.

Since May 2020, we’ve removed 300 big bags of rubbish plus loads of large items – that’s over a tonne of rubbish no longer polluting our waterways, washing up on beaches, and harming wildlife!

Remember to wear enclosed shoes you’re happy to get dirty, a long-sleeved shirt and pants. All necessary equipment will be provided, including gloves and bags. Bookings are essential. Register for this event.


World Clean Up Day at Toongabbie Creek

Date: Saturday, 16 September 2023
Time: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Location: Reynolds Reserve, Chanel St Toongabbie NSW 2146

Come and join the awesome volunteers from The Plastic Pluckers and the Friends of Toongabbie Creek for a clean-up of this beautiful but often forgotten waterway. Toongabbie Creek is home to a diverse range of wildlife such as the Eastern-long Necked Turtle, and several species of birds including the Australian King Parrot and rare Spotted Pardalote.

This event is ideal for adults and kids aged 7 years and older. All bags, gloves, sunscreen, hand sanitiser, and insurance provided. Wear sturdy shoes, long pants, a hat and bring a refillable water bottle.

Registrations are essential so you can be contacted about any event changes. Join the Friends of Toongabbie Facebook group for regular information about this and other events. Find out more.


Spotlight on Biodiversity – Tour 1

Date: Saturday, 16 September 2023 (Tour 2 being held on Friday, 22 September from 5:45-7:45pm)
Time: 5:45pm – 7:45pm
Location: Pearce Reserve, Joseph Banks Drive, Kings Langley NSW 2147

Ready, set, spotlight! Register for Blacktown City Council’s guided ‘Spotlight on Biodiversity’ Tour this September to find out more about the city’s thriving plant and animal life.

Visit local biodiversity hotspots in search of nocturnal animals to learn about their important roles in maintaining the health of our waterways and surrounding environment. It will be a hoot! 

This FREE event is organised by Blacktown City Council as part of Riverfest 2023. Bookings are essential as tour spots are strictly limited. Register for this event.




Citizen Science on Duck River

Date: Sunday, 17 September 2023
Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm
Auburn Botanic Gardens, Chiswick Road, Auburn NSW 2144

At this event, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the fascinating biodiversity of Duck River and how you can use citizen science apps to contribute to data collection and scientific research. Meet fellow enthusiasts and educators who are passionate about understanding and preserving this important green corridor.

Our presenters include:

  • Riverkeeper Ambassador Charlene Bordley who is a bird observer and an avid cyclist from Addventageous. She will share her skills with Birdlife apps and show you how to combine outdoor pursuits with scientific observations.
  • Natalie Gray organises Biodiversity programs for Cumberland City Council and has a wealth of knowledge about native plants. She will explain how to use the app PlantNet.
  • Jasmine Payget, Riverkeeper with the Parramatta River Catchment Group, will share information on the river’s icon species and the reasons why it’s important to have more people observing and reporting on nature in our region.

This event is hosted by Cumberland City Council in partnership with the Parramatta River Catchment Group. Bookings are essential as places are strictly limited. Register for this event.




Milson Park Wetland Tour (for industry professionals)

Date: Wednesday, 20 September 2023
Time: 10:00am – 12:00pm
Milson Park, Darcy Road, Westmead NSW 2145

The recently completed Milson Park Wetland was funded by Sydney Water’s Waterway Health Improvement Program. It forms part of City of Parramatta Council’s Masterplan for the Westmead Health and Education Precinct. The aim of the project is to improve waterway and catchment health, pedestrian and cycleway connection and provide a diverse range of recreational activities for the local community.

Council is planning an official opening of the park in late 2023. This tour is for interested professionals who would like to learn more about the constructed wetland from an engineering, urban design, and treatment performance perspective. Bookings are essential as places are strictly limited. Register for this event.


Youth Eco Summit (YES) Primary 2023

Date: 20 & 21 September 2023
Time: 9:45am – 1:30pm
Newington Armory, Jamieson St, Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127

Youth EcoSummit (YES) is a two-day, outdoor youth event held by Sydney Olympic Park Authority at Newington Armory, Sydney Olympic Park. Now in its 13th year, it’s a wonderful way for schools to experience sustainability in action!

Students will be able to engage with a range of sustainability providers, including Murama Indigenous Youth, NRMA, Sydney Zoo, Bingo Industries, GWS Giants, Cleanaway, Birdlife Australia, Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre, and Greater Sydney Parklands. Bookings are essential. Register for this event.



Spotlight on Biodiversity – Tour 2 

Date: Friday, 22 September (Tour 1 being held on Friday, 22 September from 5:45-7:45pm)
Time: 5:45pm – 7:45pm
Location: Pearce Reserve, Joseph Banks Drive, Kings Langley NSW 2147

See above for more information. Register for this event.








World Rivers Day

World Rivers Day celebrates the world’s waterways, highlighting the many values of our rivers and encouraging greater public awareness and improved management and protection. Find out more.




Spring Clean for Shorebirds Community Clean Up at Halliday Park

Date: Sunday, 24 September
Time: 8:30am – 12:30pm
Location: Halliday Park McGrath Avenue Five Dock, NSW 2046

This Riverfest, come and help City of Canada Bay Council clean up the Parramatta River foreshore as we prepare for the return of migratory shorebirds like the Bar-tailed Godwit from their epic annual migration to the northern hemisphere!

The Bar-tailed Godwit is a feature and mascot for the Parramatta River a small migratory shorebird that arrives around spring each year to feed along our waters. In recent years, the number of Godwits that return to our shores have been in steady decline. Some of the key threats to migratory shorebirds are off-leash dogs in breeding areas and litter and pollution in the river.

There will be plenty of activities for everyone, including free refreshments and a chance to hear from Birdlife Australia about the migratory birds that visit our area each year.

Anyone can participate and all cleaning materials will be provided! For more information, email council@canadabay.nsw.gov.au or call 9911 6555. Register for this event.


DSA Dragon Boat Club Open Day on World Rivers Day

Date: Sunday, 24 September
Time: 9:30am – 1:00pm
Location: Uhrs Point Reserve, Rhodes

To celebrate this year’s Riverfest and World Rivers Day, join DSA for a special Open Day. Riverfest is all about celebrating the Parramatta River and its surrounding creeks and environment, and what better way to do that than on the water in a dragon boat! 

Take part in a free dragon boat session and get a feel for what this competitive, adrenaline-filled water sport is all about. There will also be a special dragon boat eye dotting ceremony and free sausage sizzle. The Parramatta River Catchment Group will also be around on the day to share more about what’s happening in and around our local river catchment area, including the development of local swimming sites, improving the health of our waterways, wildlife and their habitats and ways that you can help. Places are limited so get in early! Register for this event.


World Rivers Day at Parramatta Park 

Date: Sunday, 24 September
Time: 10:00am – 3:00pm
Location: Old Government House, Parramatta Park, Cnr Pitt & Macquarie Streets, Parramatta NSW 2150

Come and celebrate World Rivers Day beside the Parramatta River at Parramatta Park! This is a great opportunity to learn more about our wonderful waterways and how we can protect them.

There will be a range of fun and interesting activities happening throughout the park and at Old Government House, including:

  • Discover the beautiful Wistaria Gardens on a self-guided tour.
  • Learn about frogs and turtles and sign up for a workshop on nature noises with Australian Environmental Education.
  • Take part in citizen science activities about invertebrates and workshops on nature photography with The Young Naturalist Australia.
  • Find out more about the Parramatta River and where you can swim at the Parramatta River Catchment Group’s Our Living River stall.
  • If you’re interested in cycling, talk to Riverkeeper Ambassador Charlene Bordley from the Parramatta Bike Tours who runs fish ladder cycling tours along the river!
  • Meet the passionate team from Friends of Toongabbie Creek and The Plastic Pluckers (Public) to learn more about problem plastic and waste to art activities. Look out for the Waste Art Angel Wings in courtyard and meet Neil the Eel!
  • Enjoy live performances by Nic Macken.
It will be a fabulous day of celebration, conversation, and community to recognise one of Sydney’s most iconic waterways. We look forward to seeing you there!

Volunteer for Riverfest

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A key goal of Riverfest is to provide opportunities for the community to connect with their local waterways, environment and each other. Volunteers play a vital role in helping to run many of the events and activities.

Volunteering is a great way to meet like-minded people and have fun, learn more about your local area or support a cause you’re passionate about.

Riverfest offers many ways to volunteer, such as participating in citizen science activities, litter clean-ups or helping out at community events. Your contribution, no matter how small, makes a big difference to the success of Riverfest and allows more people to learn about and connect with the Parramatta River and its surrounds.

If you would like to learn more about ways you can volunteer for Riverfest, please contact the Riverkeeper, Jasmine Payget, at: riverkeeper@ourlivingriver.com.au.

Hosting an Event

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Riverfest is an opportunity for community groups, councils, state government agencies and other organisations to showcase the work being done in the Parramatta River catchment to improve the health of our local waterways and provide opportunities for the community to connect with and support their local environment.


Expressions of Interest

We are seeking expressions of interest from relevant organisations and community groups who would like to run an event as part of this year’s Riverfest (16-24 September 2023).

The event can be in-person or online and include activities such as talks, workshops, seminars, walks, working bees or clean-ups.

To register your expression of interest, click here and complete the form.

The closing date for expressions of interest has been extended to  Monday, 31st July 2023.

All expressions of interest will be reviewed by PRCG  and a response provided by early August, 2023. 

If you would like more information, please contact the Riverkeeper, Jasmine Payget, at: riverkeeper@ourlivingriver.com.au.