Some facts about the Field River
The catchment area includes the Happy Valley Reservoir, Main South Road, and
the Southern Expressway and covers a total area of 55.3sq kms. Suburbs bordering
the river include Hallett Cove, Sheidow Park, Trott Park, Reynella, Happy Valley
The river was named after Lieutenant WG Field who served under Colonel Light
on his journey to South Australia in 1836 aboard the Brig "Rapid" and discovered
the river in 1837 while surveying the area.
After initially being named the Field River, the name was changed to Hallett
Creek due to the Onkaparinga River also being known as Fields River. It was
subsequently renamed Field River during the 20th century however in 1990
consideration was given to changing the name to Serpentine Creek.
In the 1840s the location around the Field River was used by smugglers to land
contraband goods for market in Adelaide. In 1850 a State Government Commission
examining locations for secure anchorage suggested that the mouth of the Field
River was a suitable site for a harbour.
The discovery of copper in the1840s at the Worthing mine (on the south eastern
side of the Lonsdale Road) promoted interest in using the Field River as a means
of transporting copper ore from the mine to the sea however by 1856 attempts at
mining ceased due to the lack of further investment money.
The importance of the coastline to the Kaurna people is clearly demonstrated,
with large quantities of cultural material previously collected from areas
adjacent to the outflow of the Field River.
In 1992 the fossil remains of the world's largest marsupial, the DIPROTODON,
were discovered on the bank of the Field River by Trevor Westlake (a committee
member of the Friends of the Lower Field River). Weighing about two tonnes and
living about 10,000 to 150,000 years ago, these rhino-sized plant eaters were
unique to Australia and New Guinea. The fossil, which is at least 60,000 years
old, is now in the care of the South Australian Museum.
A number of primary schools including Braeview, Reynella East and Hallett Cove
South have projects underway which involve revegetation and other environmental
studies of the Field River.
The stream flow of the Field River is highly seasonal and variable, with an
average annual runoff of 5,100 ML. Unfortunately in the past 5 years the Field
River has gained national attention due to 3 sewage spillages in surrounding
suburbs which found their way into the river and required access to the river
area to be off limits for several days.
The Field River flows through or is bordered by the City of Marion and Onkaparinga
Councils. The lower reaches of the Field River ran through private property
owned by the Sheidow family until 1993 when the land was sold for housing development
and became the Headland Estate. The stretch of Field River on the south eastern side
of the Lonsdale Road at Hallett Cove is presently in private hands however successful
negotiations by the City of Marion Council see the transfer some parts of the
land into public ownership then through its Marion South Plan create a publicly
accessible and vegetated walking area in the Field River Valley.