Shoalhaven Riverwatch volunteers do their bit for Clean Up Australia

Close to 30 shopping trolleys, a bedframe, pushbikes, scooters, fencing and more than half a kilometre of fishing line were just some of the items collected by Shoalhaven Riverwatch volunteers on Tuesday as part of their Clean Up Australia activities.

Around 20 volunteers scoured the banks of the Shoalhaven River while others took to the water in boats as part of the annual clean up.

In a morning’s work the teams covered a wide area from near the Nowra Golf Course down past Pig Island to Numbaa Island.

Riverwatch project manager Peter Jirgens said the group collected 10 bags of rubbish, hauled numerous trolleys from the water as well as two truck tyres and numerous plastic bags.

“With our group on the water all the time working on erosion issues it was only appropriate we do a clean up of the Shoalhaven River,” he said.

The group also collected a three cubic metre bin full of plastic items.

“In a lead up to Clean Up Australia Day one of our members was snorkelling around the old Nowra Sailing Club wharf on another project and noticed how many items, particularly trolleys were dumped in the water,” Mr Jirgens said.

“There was even a 25 horsepower outboard engine in there.

“Unfortunately the rain of late had muddied up the river which made it hard to spot the abandoned items so we probably didn't get as many as we would have hoped.”

But not to be outdone, and know as one to always think outside the square,  Mr Jirgens came up with a plan and crafted a number of grappling hooks on long ropes, which members launched into the water from the banks to try and haul in items.

“It worked pretty well,” he said.

“However hauling in a trolley or a truck tyre full of mud was quite a job.”

One hook launch near Paringa Park actually snagged two trolleys in one go.

Teams also used boats to work under the walkways of both bridges finding a bag of discarded electrical items and numerous pieces of clothing.

They even managed to find a shopping trolley and a pushbike near the floating pontoon at Greys Beach.

A warning was also issued to be aware of needles, after finding two on the riverbanks, one at Paringa Park and the other under the Shoalhaven River bridge.

Despite the big haul Mr Jirgens said the clean up was far less than previous efforts.

“Last year we collected more than six cubic metres from a 10 kilometre stretch of the river, so this is a significant reduction,” he said.

Shoalhaven Riverwatch holds a working bee every three weeks. Work lasts for around three hours and is followed by a barbecue. There is no commitment to be a permanent volunteer.

If you are interested in helping email or if you would like more information on the organisation go to

The Shoalhaven Riverwatch clean up recovered

  • 30 shopping trolleys
  • Three pushbikes
  • A scooter
  • A bed frame
  • Fencing
  • More than half a kilometre of fishing line
  • Fishing rods
  • Two truck tyres
  • Three bags of plastic rubbish from, under the Nowra Sailing Club
  • 10 bags of rubbish
  • A three metre cubic bin of plastic items
  • 2 used syringes
  • Clothing
  • A bag of electrical items


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