What’s in a name

The river we live near and paddle on is officially named the Towamba River.

But from the bridge crossing the Princes Highway down to the mouth of the river , it is known (locally anyway) as the Kiah River (or “the Kiah”).

Why the 2 names? We don’t know but we have some theories:

  • Old navigational maps of Twofold Bay show the inlet to the river and name it “Kyer Inlet“.
  • European settlers arrived in the 1840s and established the small village of Towamba. It makes sense that they named the river after the village – or the village after the river. Either way…..
  • The river is 86 km long. It rises near Mount Marshall on the eastern foothills of the Great Dividing Range, only 42km ‘as the crow flies’ from our place.
  • But the roads meander as much as the river does. One local road that hugs the river through twists and turns from Kiah to Towamba is named ‘the Snake Track‘. Driving it is not for the faint-hearted.

Towamba was a long way from Kiah back in the early days!

So we think this may have happened:

  • someone in authority who was part of the European settlement upriver at Towamba, named the river the Towamba River.

And maybe around the same time…..

  • an early explorer described the river’s estuary as the Kyer or Kiah Inlet, or even Towamba or Walker River.

Beautiful in both fresh and saltwater sections

And neither party/group realised that they were talking about the same river!

We have absolutely no evidence to support our theory – except that we reckon it’s plausible!

Call it what you will, it’s a beautiful river along its entire length and we’re happy to show you some of the tidal section.

Book online here or give us a call 0429 961047. 


old map
map 3