Summary A palynological investigation was conducted on sediments from three small floodplain swamps on upper Wollombi Brook in the Hunter Valley NSW in order to reconstruct pre-European riparian vegetation composition and community structure. Pre-European riparian plant communities on upper Wollombi Brook were characterized by wet sclerophyll forest associations with rainforest elements (most likely close to the channel). Major changes in both the nature and extent of riparian vegetation have been associated with European settlement. The pre-European pollen spectra assists the identification of a suite of native taxa potentially suitable for use in riparian revegetation operations, particularly in highly cleared streambank sites where protection of water quality and aquatic habitat is an important goal but where insufficient local remnants are available to indicate pre-existing plant species. The research emphasizes the use of palaeoenvironmental evidence as a tool for contemporary environmental management.