Balla Balla River

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Balla Balla River
Country Australia
Basin features
Main source near Whim Creek
68 metres (223 ft)[1]
River mouth Indian Ocean
sea level
Physical characteristics
Length 30 kilometres (19 mi)

Balla Balla River is a river in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The river rises on the southern side of Yirrakulanna Hills and flows in a north-easterly direction crossing the North West Coastal Highway near the Stranger mine at Whim Creek then finally discharging into Balla Balla harbour, near Depuch Island in the Indian Ocean.

The river is ephemeral and can be completely dry in the summer months, but during periodic flood events the water level can rise over 5.5 metres (18 ft).[2] The riparian vegetation is dominated by River Red Gums.

The river has three tributaries including; Whim Creek, Louden Creek and Caporn Creek.

The river name was recorded in 1878 by John Forrest, who was surveying the area at the time. The name is believed to be aboriginal in origin and is thought to come from the Kanyarra word Parla which means mud.[3]

The traditional owners of the area are the Ngarluma peoples, who inhabited the region around the Balla Balla, the Maitland and the Sherlock Rivers.[4]

The area to the west of the river contains potentially economic deposits of magnetite.

The town of Balla Balla, gazetted in 1898, was once located near the river mouth. It acted as a port for the Whim Creek Copper Mine.[5]


  1. ^ "Bonzle Digital Atlas – Map of Balla Balla River". 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "EPA Report - Balla Balla Magnetite Project" (PDF). 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of river names". Archived from the original on 16 February 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "Ausanthrop tribal database - Ngarluma". 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  5. ^ "Morowa Historical Society - Ghosttowns of Western Australia" (PDF). 2000. Retrieved 7 November 2010. 

Coordinates: 20°41′53″S 117°47′57″E / 20.69806°S 117.79917°E / -20.69806; 117.79917