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[en] Highlights: • Species on transplanted pavers change most on rocky reefs close to the CBD. • Away from the CBD, point source pollution has effects compared to controls. • Restoration may not be possible in long-polluted parts of estuaries. - Abstract: Populations of macro-algae and sessile invertebrates have precipitously declined in urbanised coastal waters in Australia since European occupation. Responses of healthy subtidal sessile assemblages to cumulative impacts and types of urban impacts were measured in one of the most polluted estuaries in Australia - the Derwent Estuary - by transplanting sessile communities established on pavers to locations adjacent to marinas, sewerage outfalls, fish farm cages, and stormwater discharges, each with associated controls. Reef communities translocated to sites adjacent to central urban pollution sources (within 5 km of Hobart) lost canopy-forming algae. Fish farms, marinas, and storm water drains were all characterised by higher filamentous algal cover than their controls. Marinas were associated with losses in canopy and foliose algae. Restoration of subtidal reef near highly urbanised areas is unlikely to be successful until current pollution levels are dramatically reduced.