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A feast to honour the river gods

Thought to have derived its name from the Latin Deus, meaning deity or god, many Deua River locals really do feel like they’re living on God’s River, and why wouldn’t they? It’s nationally-recognised as a High Conservation Value Aquatic Ecosystem (HCVAE), acknowledging its exceptional diversity, its role in supporting threatened species and its ecological, cultural and social importance.

A river with two names, the lower estuarine reaches form the Moruya River, while the freshwater reaches above Kiora are named the Deua. It’s not unusual to be able to dip your toes in the Deua under a canopy of Casuarinas joined only by a gentle breeze and, if you’re lucky, a platypus.

It’s no surprise locals wanted to conserve and enhance this extraordinary ecosystem, joining together 10 years ago to form the Deua Rivercare group, whose hard work was showcased at this year’s Landcare Christmas bus tour.

Volunteers from Eurobodalla’s 27 Landcare groups come together for the annual party to share their successes, challenges and highlights. It is held at a different locations each year so each group can tell their Landcare story to a wider audience.

Deua Rivercare’s work sites span 42km of the Deua River, from the confluence of Araluen Creek down to the Burra. Council’s Landcare Coordinator Emma Patyus said they had achieved outstanding results over a massive area.

“The group works collectively to solve issues that affect the health and diversity of the Deua catchment, dealing with problems such as controlling feral pigs, dogs and foxes, treating invasive weeds including Tree of Heaven and Privet and remediating siltation and erosion concerns through revegetation and engineering. Put simply they are amazing,” she said.

Emma said those at the Christmas party heard from volunteers, contractors and Council staff who had worked tremendously hard in the area over the years, before feasting on locally-sourced food that celebrated the fertility and productivity of the Deua Valley.

Meals were inspired by local connection to the land, with a twist on traditional bush tucker, including salad with native spinach, bush pepper chutney, lemon myrtle glazed ham and wattle seed loaf. Citrus cake, made with freshly-harvested oranges from a volunteer’s orchard, topped off the meal, which boasted low food miles but many satisfied stomachs.

Emma said the Christmas bus trip was one of Eurobodalla Landcare’s calendar highlights.

“We know our volunteers love to share, learn, connect and draw inspiration from each other. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to gather over a meal, have a few laughs and make new friends,” she said.

“If you fancy joining us for next year’s bus tours, become a local Landcare volunteer.” For more information visit

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