2010 Fishing D Phibbs crooked edited
Photo by D Phibbs

River beds

Riverbeds can be a valuable form of access where water margin access is not available or not practicably usable.

Some form of public land bounds many riverbeds. In these cases, the river bed can be presumed to be owned by the Crown. Riverbeds may be publicly owned even when the land adjoining the river is privately owned. Crown ownership of riverbeds was clarified and extended by the Coal Mines Amendment Act 1903, which vested the beds of navigable rivers in the Crown.

In other circumstances, there is a Common Law presumption that the owner of the land adjoining a riverbed has ownership rights extending to the mid-point of the river (the ad medium filum aquae — AMF — rule).