Dawson River (Queensland)

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Dawson River
Dawson River near Moura.jpg
Dawson River near Moura
Origin Carnarvon Range
Mouth confluence with the Mackenzie River
Basin countries Australia
Length 400 miles
Basin area 50,800 km²

Dawson River is a river in eastern Queensland, Australia.


Dawson River, Theodore, 2014

It originates in the Carnarvon Range and flows southeast for approximately 400 miles[citation needed] where it meets the Mackenzie River to become the Fitzroy River, north of Duaringa.

The towns of Baralaba, Theodore and Taroom lie on the banks of the Dawson River. Several weirs have been constructed along the river to provide water for cotton and dairy farming in the region. The river catchment, including the Don River and its tributaries, covers an area of 50,800 km².[1]

Both the Capricorn Highway, Leichhardt Highway and the Dawson Highway cross this river. Expedition National Park and the Precipice National Park are protected areas along the Dawson River.


The area was explored in 1844 by Ludwig Leichhardt, and the river was named for Robert Dawson, one of the expedition's backers.

In the 1920s, shortly after the First World War, Australian Labor Party politician Ted Theodore (1884-1950) launched an irrigation program on the Dawson River for returning soldiers.[2] His intentions was to provide them with arable land along the river for them to take up farming, thus eschewing a post-war recession.[2] After the 1922 Irrigation Act was passed, he started irrigation schemes on the Dawson River, for an initial 8,000 new farmers.[2] However, the scheme was abandoned after he realized the soil was unsuitable for farming and the returning soldiers had no agrarian skills.[2]

2010–2011 Queensland floods[edit]

The Dawson River was one of a number of Queensland rivers involved in the 2010–2011 Queensland floods. As the river inundated the town of Theodore it was completely evacuated, a first in Queensland's history.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dawson River". Department of Environment and Resource Management. 28 September 2009. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d Bob Katter, An Incredible Race of People: A Passionate History of Australia, Millers Point, New South Wales: Murdoch Books Australia, 2012, p. 52
  3. ^ Roseanne Barrett (8 January 2011). "Returning home to mud and memories lost". The Australian (News Limited). Retrieved 27 September 2011. 

Coordinates: 24°57′50.05″S 150°04′22.87″E / 24.9639028°S 150.0730194°E / -24.9639028; 150.0730194