Mitchell River (Queensland)
View inland, up Mitchell River, at small waterfalls in between Dunbar and Koolatah Stations, North Queensland
|Origin||Great Dividing Range|
|Mouth||Gulf of Carpentaria|
|Length||750 kilometres (470 mi)|
|Avg. discharge||11.3 million megalitres (ML) a year|
|Basin area||71,757 km2 (27,706 sq mi)|
The Mitchell River is a river in the Far North Queensland region of Australia. The river begins on the Atherton Tableland about 50 kilometres (31 mi) northwest of Cairns, and flows about 750 kilometres (470 mi) northwest across Cape York Peninsula from Mareeba to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The river's watershed covers an area of 71,757 km2 (27,706 sq mi). The Mitchell River has the state's largest discharge, but is intermittent and may be dry for part of the year. Southedge Dam is the main water storage facility on the river.
It was named by Ludwig Leichhardt on the 16 June 1845 after Sir Thomas Mitchell while he was on his overland expedition from Moreton Bay to Port Essington. May have been previously named Vereenighde River in 1623 by a Dutch merchant and navigator, Jan Carstenz.
The Mitchell River and its tributaries have for a long time carved their way westwards through the rugged, weathered highlands of the Great Dividing Range, carrying away sediments to be deposited in the broad floodplains and wetlands of the Gulf Savannah country.
The rivers' waters 'pulse' annually with monsoonal rains, seasonally collecting water from across the local tropical rainforests in the highlands to the east; the wet sclerophyll forests in the central uplands; a variety of woodlands plus savannah in the western plains; annually flooding with freshwater, the tidal plains, wetlands, estuaries, and mangroves of the lower Mitchell and coastal plains.
Fauna and Flora
Being a large river system, the Mitchell River may contain within its catchment one of Australia's most ecologically diverse aquatic systems consisting of a rich variety of both wet and dry tropical monsoonal habitats.
The catchment ecology as a whole has been generally described as follows:
The vegetation in the Mitchell River Catchment area ranges from the World Heritage Wet Tropic rainforest on the eastern highlands to the open savannah on the western and lower Mitchell plains. The extensive mangroves and lagoon systems at the delta of the Mitchell River are recognised worldwide. The permanent waters in the upper catchment are associated with springs and water holes..
More specifically, while this ecologically diverse river system is relatively poorly studied, it is know to contain at least 18 rare, endangered or vulnerable animal species including the Golden Shouldered Parrot, the Gouldian Finch and the Northern Bettong. The mouth of the river lies in the Gulf Plains Important Bird Area.
- Hann Tableland National Park
- Mitchell-Alice Rivers National Park
- Chillagoe-Mungana Caves National Park
- Part of Bulleringa National Park to the South
- Most of the 40 Mile Scrub National Park
- Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Water (2008) Mitchell Water Resource Plan Consultation Report. Queensland State Government. Brisbane. Accessed 27 January 2009
- "Mitchell Basin: Wetland Summary Information". The State of Queensland (Environmental Protection Agency). Retrieved 2008-01-26.
- "Water resources - Overview - Queensland - Basin & Surface Water Management Area: Mitchell River (QLD)". Australian Natural Resources Atlas. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Retrieved 2009-12-06.
- Queensland Register of Place Names. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
- Mitchell Waterhed Management Groups webpage 'About the Mitchell River Catchment' Accessed 26 January 2009
- BirdLife International (2011) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Gulf Plains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/07/2011
- Mitchell River Watershed Management Group Map of Stations, Towns, Communities, Waterways & Roads Accessed 26 January 2009
- Mitchell River Watershed Management Group map of the Mitchell River catchment Accessed 26 January 2009
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mitchell River (Queensland).|
- Mitchell River Watershed Management Group's Map of the Mitchell River's catchment area
- Mitchell River Watershed Management Group's Map of Towns, Communities, Stations and Riverways in the Catchment
- Mitchell River Watershed Management Group's Map of the Biophysical Regions through which the Mitchell River passes
- Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Water Map of Mitchell River Catchment waterways (including Water Resource Plan boundaries)
- Our World 2 Video & Brief on local Aboriginal Knowledge of SeaLevel Rise in Mitchell River catchment, including footage and the telling of some traditional knowledge for Mitchell River Accessed 28 January 2009