Tweed River (New South Wales)

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For other uses, see Tweed River.
Coordinates: 28°10′10″S 153°33′23″E / 28.16944°S 153.55639°E / -28.16944; 153.55639
Tweed River
South Arm Tweed River, Jerrys Creek[1]
A mature wave dominated, barrier estuary[2]
Arieal7.jpg
View of Tweed River mouth and Duranbah Beach.
Name origin: River Tweed[citation needed]
Country Australia
State New South Wales
Regions NSW North Coast (IBRA), Northern Rivers
Local government area Tweed
Tributaries
 - left Byrrill Creek, Korrumbyn Creek, Oxley River, Rous River
 - right Doon Doon Creek, Smiths Creek (Tweed), Rolands Creek, Dunbible Creek
City Murwillumbah, Tweed Heads
Source McPherson, Burringbar, Condong and Tweed ranges
 - location near Lillian Rock
 - elevation 169 m (554 ft)
Mouth Coral Sea, South Pacific Ocean
 - location Point Danger
 - coordinates 28°10′10″S 153°33′23″E / 28.16944°S 153.55639°E / -28.16944; 153.55639
Length 78 km (48 mi)
Depth 2.6 m (9 ft)
Volume 56,955 m3 (2,011,347 cu ft)
Basin 1,055 km2 (407 sq mi)
Area 22.7 km2 (9 sq mi)
National park Mount Warning NP
Location of the Tweed River mouth
in New South Wales
Wikimedia Commons: Tweed River (New South Wales)
Website: NSW Environment and Heritage webpage
[3]

Tweed River, a mature wave dominated, barrier estuary,[2] is situated in the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales, Australia. From the middle reaches of its course, the state boundary between New South Wales and Queensland is located, approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) north of the Tweed River.

The river rises on the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range; with its watershed bordered by the McPherson, Burringbar, Condong and Tweed ranges and containing a catchment area of 1,055 km2 (407 sq mi).[4] The river flows generally north east, joined by eight tributaries including the Oxley and Rous rivers before reaching its mouth at its confluence with the Coral Sea of the South Pacific Ocean, south of Point Danger; descending 173 metres (568 ft) over its 78 kilometres (48 mi) course.[3][5]

On its journey it passes through the major urban centres of Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads.

The river's drainage basin consists mostly of the erosion caldera of the Tweed Volcano, a huge extinct volcano of which Mount Warning is the volcanic plug. The Tweed River area has a fine subtropical climate, high rainfall and fertile volcanic soils. It was originally covered by rainforest, much of which has been cleared. Some remains in several national parks and reserves. The lowlands along the river are used for farming sugar cane and other crops.

The surrounding Tweed Shire is a local government area of New South Wales. Each year the river hosts a number of major aquatic events.[5] The lower reaches of the Tweed River are a good recreational fishing site.[5] Waterskiing, pleasure boating and rowing are other popular activities on the lower reaches of the river.

History[edit]

Upper Tweed Valley
Stotts Island at Tumbulgum, 2012

Aboriginal history[edit]

The traditional custodians of the land surrounding the Tweed River are the Aboriginal people of the Minjungbal clan, who lived as hunter-gatherers.[6]

European discovery and naming[edit]

The river was first discovered by European explorer, John Oxley, in 1823.[1] As Surveyor General, Oxley made a close examination of the Tweed River and Port Curtis, and sources connected that investigation, principally the manuscript journal kept by Oxley, and the published Narrative of John Uniaeke, who accompanied Oxley. The following is an extract from Oxley's notebook entry for 31 October 1823:[7]

Fri.31 October

At 3[PM] made sail intending to anchor to the South of Point Danger. At 5[PM] passed close to a Bold Headland [present-day Point Danger] about 3 Miles North of Pt. D. [Cook's Point Danger - Fingal Head] On the South Side of this headland we had the satisfaction to discover a considerable river with an apparent clear entrance. Hove on for the purpose of anchoring between the Island and the Main land [Fingal Head]. At ½ past 5 passing too close to the Island we shoaled our "water to 2 ½ fms but almost instantly deepened to 5 fms. Anchored under the lee of the Island in 7 fms sandy Bottom being tolerably sheltered from the SSE round by the w to NE - the distance between the Island and the Main is about 50 chains, the point of the Main as well as the Island composed of regular Basaltic Pillars. To the South extends a Sandy Beach of about 3 ½ miles ending in a low sandy Point off which brakers seem to extend about ¾ of a mile. Soundings between the Island and the Main and found the deepest water 6 fms in mid channel rather including to the Mainland. Observed the River from the Mast head take a SW direction running through a moderately elevated country towards the Base of Mt. Warning.

John Uniack made the following relevant observations.[8][9]

Monday 27 October 1823: The wind being fair, we immediately got under way, and continued our course to the northward till Friday afternoon, when it shifted, and came on to blow so hard, that we determind to run in shore and look out for anchorage; this we found under the lee of a small island off Point Danger (so named by Captain Cook), about a mile from the land. While running down for this place, we perceived the mouth of a large river about a mile and a half to the northward; and next morning at daylight the master was dispatched in the whale-boat to ascertain the possibility of taking the vessel into it.

Shortly afterwards, Mr. Stirling and I landed on the island with our guns. The rocks which formed the base was evidently of volcanic origin: it was of dark colour, full of small holes and extremely hard, while on the western side many regular circular cavities, some of which were about four or five yards in diameter at top, and tapered down gradually towards the bottom, which was usually filled with round stones.

One of these holes, in particular, had a communication underneath with the sea, and at every returning surf threw up considerable quantities of water with a loud noise. The superincumbent rocks were basaltic, and those of a small rock to the N.W. of the island, as well as those of a bluff headland, immediately opposite on the main, were inferior only in extent to the Giant’s Causeway in the north of Ireland.

John Uniack also noted:[10]

"The little island under which we lay received the name of Turtle Island, in gratitude for the abundant supply of that fish which we procured from it. We also gave the name of ‘Tweed’ to the river. The latitude of our anchorage is 28° 8' S. and its longitude 153° 31'"

The Tweed was named after the River Tweed in Scotland.[citation needed]

Colloquial use[edit]

Even though parts of the river are a few kilometres within the New South Wales side of the border, the expression "North of the Tweed" is used to refer to the people and places of Queensland; likewise, "South of the Tweed" is a term used by Queenslanders regarding the southern states of Australia. The term probably originates from southern Australians' summer vacation trips driving along the Pacific Highway through the scenic New South Wales North Coast. The highway crosses many rivers along its route, with the Tweed being the last one before reaching the holiday destinations of the Gold Coast, just on the other side of the Queensland border.[citation needed]

Course[edit]

Upper Tweed Valley showing the caldera wall
Lower Tweed Valley viewed from Duranbah

The river begins northwest of the village called Lillian Rock. The upper reaches pass through the small villages of Kunghur, Terragon and Uki.[11] South of Mount Warning, Doon Doon Creek and Perch Creek enter the Tweed from its southern banks, and Byrill Creek joins on the northern side near Terragon. Downstream, Korumbyn Creek and then the Oxley River enters the river at Byangum, before it flows through Murwillumbah.[11] At Tumbulgum, the Rous River joins the Tweed. The Terranora and Cobaki creeks enter the Tweed about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) upstream from the mouth. South of Banora Point, the Pacific Highway crosses the river.

The river's tidal influence reaches beyond Murwillumbah to Bray Park Weir. The estuary of the Tweed River is an important shorebird habitat.[5]

Flooding[edit]

During the 2013 Eastern Australia floods, the Tweed River was subject to major[12] flooding, brought about due to the residual effects of Tropical Cyclone Oswald and associated monsoon trough that passed over parts of Queensland and New South Wales. The river peaked at 3.3 metres (11 ft), the highest level recorded in 30 years.[13]

Mouth[edit]

There is a sand bypassing system operating at the mouth of the Tweed River. A jetty on the northern end of Letitia Spit that collects sand and then pumps it under the Tweed River to beaches in the neighbouring state of Queensland. Outlets for the Tweed River Entrance Sand Bypassing System include Duranbah Beach, Snapper Rocks East, Snapper Rocks West, Greenmount and Kirra. Dredging of the navigation entrance is also undertaken regularly as part of the overall sand bypassing program. The width of Tweed River mouth is about 150 metres (490 ft).[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Tweed River". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Roy, P. S; Williams, R. J; Jones, A. R; Yassini, I; et al. (2001). "Structure and Function of South-east Australian Estuaries". Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 53: 351–384. doi:10.1006/ecss.2001.0796. 
  3. ^ a b "Map of Tweed River, NSW". Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Water resources - Overview - Queensland - Basin & Surface Water Management Area: Tweed River". Australian Natural Resources Atlas. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Tweed Estuary Boating Plan: Part Two: Contains overview, Tweed estuary and environs, community consultation, management plan structure and estuary-wide concepts and strategies". NSW Maritime. Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  6. ^ "The Tweed, A Short History". Tweed Tourism. Destination Tweed. 2013. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Oxley, John (31 October 1823). Notebook. Archives Office of New South Wales. 
  8. ^ Uniack, John (1825). "John Uniack's first-hand account of that experdition entitled Narrative of Mr. Oxly’s Expedition To Survey Port Curtis and Moreton Bay With a View to form Convict Establishment There". In Pusuance of the Recommendation of the Commissioner of Ineuiry (Barron Field’s Geographical Memoirs on New South Wales). 
  9. ^ Field. Geographical Memoirs. pp. 33–34. 
  10. ^ Field. Geographical Memoirs. pp. 40–41. 
  11. ^ a b NRMA (1998). NSW Northern Rivers & South-East Queensland (Map). 1 : 550,000. Cartography by Auslig (2 ed.). Ballina to Tweed Heads inset.
  12. ^ http://www.goldcoast.com.au/article/2013/01/30/446338_tweed-byron-news.html
  13. ^ Westthorp, Tanya; Case, Ben (30 January 2013). "Floods cut off thousands across Tweed". goldcoast.com.au (News Limited). Retrieved 30 January 2013. 

External links[edit]