What are The Religious Places of the Molonglo River?

Embracing Diversity: Sacred Sanctuaries Along the Molonglo River's Banks

Molonglo River

Molonglo River

The Molonglo River is a perennial river that is a part of the Murray-Darling basin’s Murrumbidgee watershed. It is located in the Australian Capital Territory as well as the New South Wales regions of Monaro and Capital Country. The river winds its way through valleys, forests, and plains, carrying with it a rich tapestry of natural beauty and cultural heritage. Beyond its physical attributes, the Molonglo River holds significance as a spiritual and sacred space for various religious communities. In this exploration, we delve into the religious places that grace the banks of the Molonglo, each with its own stories, traditions, and connections to the divine.

Indigenous Sacred Sites:

Long before European settlement, the Molonglo River basin was home to Indigenous Australian communities who revered the land as a sacred and spiritual entity. Along the river’s banks lie sites of cultural significance, where ancient rituals, ceremonies, and dreamtime stories intertwine with the natural landscape. These sacred places serve as markers of connection to country and ancestors, embodying the spiritual essence of the land.

One such site is Ngambri Country, where the traditional custodians, the Ngambri people, have maintained a deep spiritual connection to the Molonglo River for countless generations. Here, ceremonial grounds, rock art sites, and ancestral pathways bear witness to the enduring presence of Indigenous spirituality in the region. The Molonglo River, known as Ginninderra in Ngunnawal language, is revered as a living entity, embodying the creative forces of the Dreaming.

Christian Heritage:

With the arrival of European settlers in the 19th century, Christian traditions began to leave their mark on the landscape along the Molonglo River. Churches, chapels, and monasteries were established, serving as places of worship, reflection, and community for the faithful. These religious institutions stand as testaments to the enduring presence of Christianity in the region and its role in shaping the cultural fabric of the Molonglo River basin.

One notable religious landmark along the Molonglo is St. John the Baptist Anglican Church, nestled in the historic village of Reid. Built-in 1841, this charming stone church overlooks the river, offering a serene setting for prayer and contemplation. Its timeless architecture and tranquil surroundings evoke a sense of spiritual reverence, inviting visitors to pause and connect with the divine.

Islamic Centers and Mosques:

In more recent times, the Molonglo River basin has become home to a diverse array of religious communities, including followers of Islam who have established mosques and Islamic centers along its banks. These sacred spaces serve as focal points for prayer, community gatherings, and cultural exchange, enriching the spiritual landscape of the region with their distinctive architectural styles and religious practices.

One such mosque is the Canberra Islamic Centre, located in the suburb of Monash. Overlooking the Molonglo River, this modern mosque provides a place of worship and education for the local Muslim community. Its elegant design and tranquil surroundings offer a sanctuary for reflection and spiritual growth, fostering a sense of unity and belonging among believers.

Jewish Synagogues:

The Jewish community has also left its mark on the religious tapestry of the Molonglo River basin, with synagogues and cultural centers serving as hubs of worship, learning, and celebration. These vibrant institutions provide a space for Jewish families to connect with their faith, heritage, and community, preserving traditions and fostering a sense of belonging in the modern world.

One such synagogue is the Canberra Jewish Community Centre, located near the banks of the Molonglo in the suburb of Forrest. This bustling center offers a range of religious, cultural, and social programs for members of the Jewish community, from Shabbat services to holiday celebrations. Its welcoming atmosphere and strong sense of community reflect the enduring spirit of Jewish tradition along the banks of the Molonglo.

Buddhist Temples and Meditation Centers:

In recent years, the Molonglo River basin has also become home to Buddhist temples and meditation centers, offering seekers of all backgrounds a space for inner peace, mindfulness, and spiritual growth. These tranquil sanctuaries blend harmoniously with the natural beauty of the landscape, providing a refuge from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

One such temple is the Sri Lanka Buddhist Vihara Canberra, nestled in the suburb of Kambah. Surrounded by lush gardens and overlooking the Molonglo, this traditional temple offers a place for meditation, prayer, and community gatherings. Its serene ambiance and teachings of compassion and wisdom inspire visitors to cultivate mindfulness and lead meaningful lives in harmony with nature.


The Molonglo River basin is not merely a geographical feature but a spiritual landscape rich in religious diversity and heritage. From ancient Indigenous sacred sites to modern places of worship and reflection, the banks of the Molonglo are adorned with the sacred footprints of countless faith traditions. As we journey through this sacred land, may we honor its spiritual legacy and seek to cultivate a deeper reverence for the interconnectedness of all living beings.

Know More about the Molonglo River.

When Did The Molonglo River Basin Become a Focus?
Where is The Molonglo River Located?
Who Were The Key Historical Figures and Civilizations of The Molonglo River?
How to Reach Molonglo River?
Why is The Molonglo River Culturally Important?

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