Annan River

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For the river in Scotland, see River Annan.
Annan River
(aka Yuku Baja[1])
UpperAnnanWaterfall Oct08.jpg
Waterfall in the Upper Annan catchment
Origin Yorkey Range, Wet Tropics of Queensland[2][3]
Mouth Walker Bay, Coral Sea[4]
Basin countries Australia
Length 13.2 km (8.2 mi)[3]
Source elevation 184 m (604 ft)[3]
Basin area 750 km2 (290 sq mi)[2]

The Annan River (aka Yuku Baja)[5] is a river that begins in the Yorkey Range, north-north-west of Wujal Wujal in the Wet Tropics of Far North Queensland. Being in a wet-dry tropical climate the river receives the majority of its approximately 1800 mm rainfall per year between the months of December and April, a period known as the wet season.[4]

The river was given its gazetted name by an early Australian pastoralist and magistrate, John Jardine, who, on 11 November 1865, named it after the River Annan in Scotland, while on passage in the HMS Salamander.[6]


The river begins in Rossville at Mount Romeo (568 m),[3] flowing in a north-westerly direction catching waters from the Trevethan Range before finally heading eastwards to empty into the Coral Sea,[4] 4 km south of Cooktown.[7]


Much of Yuku Baja (i.e. its waterfalls, waterholes, and waters) hold locally indigenous names, inspire locally indigenous religious beliefs, and have been a primary source of life, sustenance, foods, and water for many thousands of generations of predecessors to the Kuku Nyungkal people (also known as the Annan River Tribe),[8] for many thousands of years.[9]

Towards the end of the 19th century non-Aboriginal peoples had started to colonize the Far North Queensland region, and with the shift from predominantly gold mining activity (especially at Palmer River) to tin, lead, silver and copper mining, they started to move into the Annan River catchment and Kuku Nyungkal country.[10]

By 1885, one person, Charles Ross, discovered tin in the upper Annan River area (first Mount Amos, then Mounts Hartley, Leswell and Romeo). Sluicing began that year, leading to a small-scale tin mining rush into Kuku Nyungkal country during 1886. Following this rush, for a number of years, a small but vibrant tin mining industry was able to mine lucrative tin deposits directly from underground lodes, creek beds and banks. Later, the industry had to adapt to exhausted supplies by consolidating and building water channels (races) through the Upper Annan River ranges to access higher, more difficult to reach deposits.[10]

One such 11 km long race, known as the Annan River Company Water Race, was first built at the cost of an Adelaide based company in 1902 and is now cultural heritage listed and protected as Queensland heritage.[10] The tin mining and other 'disturbance' history of the otherwise more pristine Annan River catchment can be briefly summarized as follows:[4]

"This catchment has been quite extensively mined for tin since the late 19th century. Some small alluvial tin mining leases may still ... contribute significant sediment loads to the river. Other disturbances in the Annan catchment include unsealed roads and fords, grazing, and a number of small residential developments."

Heritage listings[edit]

Annan River has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:


The Australian Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, in its Natural Resource Atlas, categorizes the Annan River catchment as "Low Development", with less than 30% of its total catchment area being developed.[2] The catchment as a whole has been described as being " the pristine end of the disturbance spectrum...", extensively forested as follows:[4]

"...the southern and eastern portions [are] predominantly rainforest and open eucalypt forest. The western and northern parts are more sparsely vegetated consisting of open eucalypt forest and woodland with pockets of rainforest along Oaky Creek. The alluvial plains are covered by tall shrubland. The estuarine portion of the river comprises large areas of ephemeral and tidal wetlands..."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kuku Nyungkal people's name for the Annan River
  2. ^ a b c Australian Government's Natural Resource Atlas. Accessed 24 February 2009
  3. ^ a b c d Bonzle "Map of Annan River, QLD". Accessed 16 March 2009
  4. ^ a b c d e Davies,P.L.& Eyre,B.D. (2005) Estuarine modification of nutrient and sediment exports to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park from the Daintree and Annan River catchments Marine Pollution Bulletin 51. Pp 174–185 . Accessed 24 February 2009
  5. ^ "Bama Way" map. Accessed 13 March 2009
  6. ^ Department of Natural Resources and Water Place Names Register Entry for Annan River. Accessed 24 February 2009
  7. ^ Marine News (2002) "Discover Cooktown - North Queensland" . Accessed 25 February 2009
  8. ^ Tindale, Norman (1974) "Kokobujundji (QLD)" in his Catalogue of Australian Aboriginal Tribes. South Australian Museum. Accessed 23 February 2009
  9. ^ Horsfall, N & Hall, J (1990) "People and the Rainforest: an Archaeological Perspective" in L.J. Webb & J. Kikkawa (eds) Australian Tropical Rainforest: Science - Values - Meaning CSIRO, Melbourne.
  10. ^ a b c "Collingwood Water Race (entry 602257)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 25 February 2009. 
  11. ^ "Annan River Bridge (entry 600417)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 7 July 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 15°32′S 145°15′E / 15.533°S 145.250°E / -15.533; 145.250