Flooding of the Flinders River at Hughenden, January 1917
|- left||Cloncurry River, Corella River|
|- location||Reedy Springs, Burra Range, Australia|
|- elevation||816 m (2,677 ft)|
|- location||Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia|
|- elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|Length||1,004 km (624 mi)|
|Basin||109,000 km2 (42,085 sq mi)|
|- average||122 m3/s (4,308 cu ft/s)|
Location of river mouth in Queensland
The river rises in the Burra Range, part of the Great Dividing Range, 110 kilometres (68 mi) northeast of Hughenden and flows in a westerly direction past Hughenden, Richmond and Julia Creek then northwest to the Gulf of Carpentaria 25 km (16 mi) west of Karumba, Queensland. The south of the catchment is bordered by the Selwyn Range.
At 1,004 kilometres (624 mi) in length it is the eighth longest river in Australia.
A total of 36 tributaries flow into the Flinders, the principal tributaries are the Cloncurry River and the Corella River. Another major tributary of the Flinders River is Porcupine Creek. The creek has carved out a dramatic gorge which is located in the Porcupine Gorge National Park. There are two dams on the river - the Flinders River Dam and Corella Dam. Other smaller tributaries include; Range Creek, Morepork Creek, Oxley Creek, Canterbury Creek, Dutton River, Back Valley Creek, L-Tree Creek, Gorman Creek, Hazlewood Creek, Nonda Creek, Eurimpy Creek, Yambore Creek, Saxby River, Bynoe River and Armstrong Creek. The river flows through one permanent waterhole; Flagstone waterhole.
The riverbed is composed of Silt with clay and sand, sand and gravel and gravel with cobble.
Vegetation along the river in the upper catchment include riparian woodlands composed of paperbarks including; Melaleuca argentea, Melaleuca bracteata and Melaleuca fluviatilis and sub-dominant eucalypts including River Red Gum, Coolabah, with minor Bauhinia. Other species found include the wattle. Infestations of Weeds such as Prickly acacia, Noogoora burr , Rubber vine and Chonky apple are also found. The understorey is dominated by a closed cover of riparian grasses including native couch on the sandy loams adjacent the stream channels.
The traditional owners of the area are the Kalkadoon, Mitakoodi, Kukatj, Guthaarn, Mayi-Yapi, Mayi-Kulan, Mayi-Thakurti, Ngawun, Wanamara, Mbara, Yirandali and Gugu-Badhun peoples who have inhabited the area for thousands of years.
The Flinders was named after the explorer Matthew Flinders by Captain Wickham and Lieutenant John Lort Stokes of the HMS Beagle in 1841. Stokes chartered and surveyed the estuary of the Flinders and albert rivers and named many other features in the area including Disaster Inlet, Morning Inlet and Van Deiman River.
Robert O'Hara Burke, William John Wills and Charles Gray reached the river delta in 1861 completing the goal of their expedition. Gray died on the journey back to Cooper Creek and both Burke and Wills died after reaching the creek to find their depot abandoned.
The first pastoralist to stock country along the Flinders was James Gibson who established Prairie Station in 1861. In 1864 more cattle stations were established by Gibson including Millungera and Taldora Stations.
Massive flooding occurred along the river in July 1870. One station lost over 4,000 sheep and roads were cut. In 1917 even larger floods were recorded with Hughenden inundated several people drowned. More heavy flooding occurred in 1955, 1960, 1974, 1991 and 2000.
In 2003 water licences to take water from the river were fist released when a pastoralist, Corbett Tritton, applied for an irrigation licence. He successfully grew crops like sorghum and cotton on his cattle station and soon other graziers were interested. A moratorium on licence issuing followed but was later lifted in 2013.
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Media related to Flinders River at Wikimedia Commons