It was named after James Kelly an early explorer of the Tasmanian coastline.
In the 1990s following the failure of the Franklin Dam project to proceed - parts of the Kelly Basin and Bird River area became part of reserves associated with the western boundary of the new South West World Heritage Wilderness area.
- (1993) Kelly Basin-Bird River area site plan Parks and Wildlife Service, Tasmania
- Blainey, Geoffrey (2000). The Peaks of Lyell (6th ed. ed.). Hobart: St. David's Park Publishing. ISBN 0-7246-2265-9.
- Rae, Lou (2001). The Abt Railway and Railways of the Lyell region. Sandy Bay: Lou Rae. ISBN 0-9592098-7-5.
- Whitham, Charles. Western Tasmania: A Land of Riches and Beauty.
- 2003 edition - Queenstown: Municipality of Queenstown.
- 1949 edition - Hobart: Davies Brothers. OCLC 48825404; ASIN B000FMPZ80
- 1924 edition - Queenstown: Mount Lyell Tourist Association. OCLC 35070001; ASIN B0008BM4XC
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