Oxley Creek, a tributary of the Brisbane River, drains a catchment area of approximately 26 000 ha in the local government areas of Logan City and Brisbane City, and a small area of Ipswich City.
Oxley Creek has its headwaters on the northern slopes of Mt Perry in the Flinders Peak area. The creek stretches some 70 km and eventually discharges into the Brisbane River at Tennyson. The eastern tributaries are Stable Swamp Creek, Moolabin Creek, Rocky Water Holes and Sheep Station Gully. From the west, the waterways of Crewes, Blunder, Hanleys, and Little Doris carry their water to the main creek.
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In the south, elevated land in the headwaters of the catchment is largely covered by dry forest, and in parts is relatively sparsely populated. However, rural residential land uses and more intense urban development pressures are increasing and some grazing and turf farms are being replaced. More infrastructure for traffic, power and water distribution is being imposed but fortunately, the substantial areas of undisturbed vegetation, particularly within the Greenbank Military Training Area, remains.
The mid catchment area, north of Johnson Road contains the tenuous vegetated linkages of the Flinders to Greenbank-Karawatha (FGK) Corridor. This corridor includes a mosaic of lands under a variety of ownerships, tenures and jurisdictions including the major bushland areas of Flinders Peak, Mount Perry, White Rock, Greenbank Military Reserve, Forestdale, Larapinta and Parkinson together with the residential and industrial lands of Heathwood and Forest Lake. From Parkinson, the FGK Corridor has to cross Logan Motorway and Beaudesert Road before it reaches Karawatha Forest. Vegetation links exist between Blunder and Oxley Creeks in the rural areas of Pallara and Willawong and in these areas this vegetation is extremely important, not only for connections but to stabilise these fragile edges. The Willawong landfill remediation site and Transfer Station, the current and exhausted sand extraction sites, (now becoming new sites for development), the decommissioned (2005) Inala sewage treatment plant, landfills, the ecologically valuable Archerfield Wetland, and Archerfield Airport on the east complete the middle portion.
The more northerly part of the catchment stretching from the junction of Oxley and Blunder creeks to the mouth of Oxley, has vitally important flood plain areas with golf courses, the Oxley Creek Common (120 ha section of the old Rocklea Research Farm), Brisbane Markets, and the augmented (2005-06) Oxley sewage treatment plant plus the major industrialised area of Rocklea Junction. To the east, the highly urbanised areas of Coopers Plains, Salisbury, Rocklea, Acacia Ridge, Archerfield and Moorooka complete the catchment.
Oxley Creek and its tributaries are recognised for their significant riparian vegetation, which form important local linkages as well as to the Brisbane River. The connections via the tributaries of Moolabin and Rocky Water Holes to Toohey Forest give a link to Norman and Bulimba creeks on the southside of Brisbane. As well, the potential for a wider regional west to east corridor, ‘Peaks to Points’ was celebrated with the P2P Festival in 2008 and 2012 when many of the catchments on the south side of the Brisbane River joined together. Following the redrawing of local government boundaries in March 2008, the Flinders to Greenbank-Karawatha Conservation Partnership was recognised recently with a new Memorandum of Understanding, and it is hoped that arrangements more conducive to protection of the vegetation may be designed forthwith.
Residential and industrial development, land clearing and sand mining in the catchment have greatly affected the water quality of Oxley Creek, particularly in its lower reaches.