Degree Name

Master of Science (Hons.)


Department of Geography


The estuarine section of the Lower Gordon River is approximately 38km long and has been used as a navigable waterway since its discovery in 1815. Early usage was connected with the extraction of valuable timber growing in the area, but as that resource declined tourist cruises took over as the dominant use of the river. In the last decade the tourist industry expanded rapidly, resulting in new, larger and faster boats operating on the river at increased frequencies. This produced a sudden increase in both the size of waves and the frequency of impacts on the banks, which resulted in the rapid erosion of many kilometres of previously stable river bank. As the banks retreated the temperate rainforest lining the river toppled into the water, significantly degrading the aesthetic qualities of this World Heritage listed area. The aims of this thesis, using the Lower Gordon River as an example, were to investigate: Methods of assessing, monitoring and controlling bank erosion by boat-generated waves. The processes of wave erosion of different bank types. The relationship between various wave and sediment characteristics and bank erosion rates.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.