Hay River (Western Australia)

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Hay River
Hay River flowing into Wilson Inlet
Country Australia
Physical characteristics
Main source West of Mount Barker
225 metres (738 ft)[2]
River mouth Wilson Inlet
sea level
Length 80 kilometres (50 mi)[1]
  • Average rate:
    69,400 ML/a (2.20 m3/s; 77.7 cu ft/s)
Basin features
Basin size 129,800 hectares (320,743 acres)

The Hay River is a river in the Great Southern region of Western Australia. The traditional owners of the area are the Noongar people who know the river as Genulup.[3]

The river was named in December 1829 by naval ship's surgeon Thomas Braidwood Wilson after Sir Robert William Hay, Permanent Under-secretary of State for the Colonies from 1825 to 1836. Wilson discovered the river while exploring the area in company with the native Mokare, John Kent (officer in charge of the Commissariat at King George Sound), two convicts and Private William Gough of the 39th Regiment, while his ship the Governor Phillips was being repaired at King George Sound.[4]

The Hay River is part of the Denmark Catchment, which comprises Wilson Inlet, Torbay Inlet and Lake Powell, together with the catchments of the Denmark, Hay and Sleeman-Cuppup Rivers and their tributaries.[5]

The river rises west of Mount Barker near Wilpuna Park and flows south east as far as Ungerup then flows in a south-south-westerly direction through the Mount Lindesay National Park then crossing the South Coast Highway and discharging into Wilson Inlet.[6]

The tidal influence is 5 kilometres (3 mi) upstream from where the river flows into the inlet. The Hay River flows all year and the water quality is marginally saline to brackish. It is estimated that 70% of the catchment area has been cleared for agricultural purposes but 42% of the riparian zone was pristine.

Tributaries of the river include Sleeman Creek and Mitchell River.


  1. ^ "South Coast River Care - Hay River". 2007. Retrieved 28 September 2007.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Bonzle Digital Atlas - Map of Hay River, WA". 2008. Retrieved 12 July 2016.
  3. ^ "Dual Naming Project" (PDF). Shire of Denmark. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  4. ^ Wilson, Thomas Braidwood (1835). Narrative of a Voyage Round the World. London: Sherwood Gilbert & Piper. p. 262.
  5. ^ "South Coast River Care - Denmark Catchment". 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  6. ^ Western Australian Land Information Authority. "History of river names". Archived from the original on 16 February 2015. Retrieved 4 August 2008.

Coordinates: 34°58′19″S 117°27′39″E / 34.97194°S 117.46083°E / -34.97194; 117.46083