The Warrego River is a broad expanse of water, but before the construction of the weir the river would sometimes be reduced to two deep permanent water holes during the dry times. Before the weir, more water also flowed and split into the two creeks below the weir –Cuttaburra Creek and the continuance of the Warrego that flows into the Darling River to form part of the great Murray-Darling Basin. The river is not as integrated into the town as in some of the other locations on the Indigenous Cultural Trail, because landowners have been able to purchase and fence land right down to the waterline. Despite the apparent separation of the town and river, the river is still an important place in Cunnamulla, and visitors are able to walk along the levy bank and see flocks of geese, corellas and galahs, and a proliferation of rainbow bee-eaters in summer. The River Walk takes the visitor through bushland to a scenic outlook beside the river, and the Cunnamulla Bushlands site which highlights a range of local ecosystems.
Aboriginal people who lived in the Bottom Camp remember that the now popular fishing spot at Sandy Point used to be a beach of soft sand, and a favourite cooling down swimming spot and barbeque area for Aboriginal children before it was flooded by the weir in 1991 - there was once a well-worn path from the Yumba to Sandy Point. People also remember that they could only go to the river with their dad’s permission, and somebody older or more experienced had to be there too. Because of the houses currently situated along the river, many of these places of importance to Aboriginal people can now only be accessed through thick bushland. One community member who lived at the Bottom Camp says that when, in recent times, he managed to beat a path through the bush, it became “like a highway”, there were so many Aboriginal people wanting to go back there. It has now become overgrown again and access is discouraged. The river in any case is very different today, with introduced species such as carp and lettuce weed jeopardising the health of the ecosystem.
Rainbow Bee-eater, Cunnamulla
Warrego River, Cunnamulla
Moonrise on the River Walk, Cunnamulla