Victoria River (Northern Territory)

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Victoria River
Victoria River.JPG
Victoria River Access, near Roadhouse Victoria River Crossing
Origin Mount Farquharson
Mouth Joseph Bonaparte Gulf
Basin countries Australia
Length 560 kilometres (348 mi)
Source elevation 364 metres (1,194 ft)[1]
Mouth elevation sea level
Basin area 87,900 square kilometres (33,938 sq mi)[2]
Killing an Alligator, Victoria River from Volume 2 of John Lort Stokes' 1846 book Discoveries in Australia.

Victoria River is a river in the Northern Territory, Australia. Flowing for 560 kilometres (348 mi) from its source, south of the Gregory National Park, until it enters Joseph Bonaparte Gulf in the Timor Sea, the Victoria River is the longest singularly named permanent river in the Northern Territory.[3] Part of the area adjoining the river mouth has been identified as the Legune (Joseph Bonaparte Bay) Important Bird Area because of its importance for waterbirds.[4]

However, the longest permanent river in the Northern Territory, as defined by international standards, is the Katherine/Daly River. This is a single river with two separating (at the Flora River tributary) European names. This great river was, until recently, deemed as two separate rivers due to the European naming conventions of the time. Its journey begins just south of Jabiru, high in the Arnhem Land escarpment as a trickle until it flows into the Timor Sea some 690 kilometres later, thus making it 130 kilometres longer than the Victoria River.

On 12 September 1819, Philip Parker King discovered the mouth of the Victoria and, twenty years later, in 1839, Captain J. C. Wickham arrived at the same spot in the HMS Beagle and named the river after Queen Victoria. Crew members of the Beagle followed the river upstream into the interior for more than 200 kilometres.[5]

In August 1855 Augustus Gregory sailed from Moreton Bay and at the end of September reached the estuary of the Victoria River. He sailed up the river and carried out extensive exploration.[6]

In 1847 Edmund Kennedy went on an expedition to trace the route of the "River Victoria" of Thomas Mitchell with a view to finding whether there was a practical route to the Gulf of Carpentaria. This "River Victoria" was later renamed the Barcoo River.[7]

The river has 56 tributaries including the Camfield River, Wickham River, Battle Creek, Angalarri River, Gidyea Creek and Armstrong River. The river also flows through several waterholes such as Catfish waterhole and Four Mile Waterhole.[1]

Several large cattle stations are found along the length of the river including Victoria River Downs, Wave Hill[8] and Coolibah Station.[9]


  1. ^ a b "Map of Victoria River, NT". Bonzle Digital Atlas. 2013. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Overview of the Victoria River Catchment". Top End Waterways Project. 2005. Retrieved 29 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "Longest rivers by State and Territory". Geoscience Australia. Retrieved 17 Feb 2013. 
  4. ^ "IBA: Legune (Joseph Bonaparte Bay)". Birdata. Birds Australia. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  5. ^ "Discovery of Victoria River". South Australian History site. Retrieved 2 Sep 2013. 
  6. ^ Refer to entry for Augustus Charles Gregory
  7. ^ See entry for Barcoo River
  8. ^ "National Heritage Places - Wave Hill Walk-Off Route". Government of Australia. 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Its our chopper and we'll ski if we want to". NT News. March 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2013. 

Coordinates: 14°56′50″S 129°33′15″E / 14.94722°S 129.55417°E / -14.94722; 129.55417