top of page

Mudcrabs: the famous Cooks River clean-up crew

By Izzy Edwards

The Mudcrabs began as a small community river clean-up group in 2004, and has now grown into a massive collective of over 530 passionate volunteers. We caught up with long-time Mudcrab Peter Munro to learn more.


Many locals will recognise The Mudcrabs from their scurrying around on the Cooks River foreshore, performing important river clean-ups and environmental surveys. You might even recognise their logo and t-shirts, which have become quite a local icon.


For those not in the know, the return of actual mudcrabs (as in the small marine creatures) to the Cooks River is a sign of ecological improvement in the area and their namesake is certainly living up to the claim. Their work includes removal of garbage and weeds from the Cooks River and the planting of restorative native trees and shrubs at bush restoration sites.

 “The Mudcrabs have removed tens of thousands of bags of litter from the Cooks River and have established 13 bush regeneration sites along the river that are maintained at monthly working bees,” Peter told Neighbourhood Media. “We have planted and nurtured thousands of native plants into the riparian zone of the river.” This includes sites around the Inner West, such as Marrickville Golf Club and the Thornley St Children’s Garden.


The Mudcrabs have received support for their work from local councils, including Canterbury-Bankstown Council (pre and post amalgamation) and the Inner West Council, by way of providing equipment and funds for morning tea and t-shirts.


But the most encouraging support has been from the local communities, living along the river. “The community response has been fantastic,” Peter said. “We have an active group of volunteers that work at the various bushcare sites every month and many Mudcrabs who focus their energy on removing litter from the River.”


Local Businesses have even backed the cause with The Bob Hawke Beer and Leisure Centre hosting the Marrickville Mudcrab Raffle on Wednesday nights, where locals can win prizes like meat and prawn trays with the funds being donated to The Mudcrabs.


But it’s not just rubbish removal and bushcare for the Mudcrabs; thanks to their growing list of volunteers, the group has been able to broaden their ecological research in the area.

“We also run a bird survey every month,” Peter revealed, “and we’ve built up 5 years of valuable data about bird numbers and habitat.” The data collected by the Mudcrabs will help monitor bird health and populations in the area, all important factors to improving the Cooks River ecosystem.


At their heart, The Mudcrabs are a grassroots environmental group passionate about cleaning up Cooks River, a notion that benefits everyone in our local communities and greater Sydney. This incredible organisation will be celebrating their 20th anniversary later this year, with a booklet to be released documenting their fantastic work in the Cooks River area over the last two decades.


To get involved with The Mudcrabs head to their website and click the “Subscribe” to join their email list, or simply choose an event on their event calendar and turn-up! No need to RSVP.

You can also keep up-to-date with what The Mudcrabs are up to by following their socials @the.mudcrabs on Instagram and “The Mudcrabs” on Facebook.


bottom of page