Hutt River (Western Australia)

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Hutt River
Country Australia
Physical characteristics
Main source 23 kilometres (14 mi) north-east of Northampton, Western Australia
284 metres (932 ft)
River mouth Broken Anchor Bay, Indian Ocean
Length 60 kilometres (37 mi)
  • Average rate:
    10,660 ML/a (0.338 m3/s; 11.93 cu ft/s)
Basin features
Basin size 1,078.43 square kilometres (416 sq mi)

Hutt River is a river in the Mid West region of Western Australia.

The river rises 20 km east of the North West Coastal Highway, between the towns of Northampton and Binnu. It flows in a westerly direction until reaching Broken Anchor Bay on the Indian Ocean 6 kilometres (4 mi) south-east of Port Gregory. The main tributary for the Hutt River is Kennedy Creek. Others are Yarder Gully and Swamp Gully, which are important contributors of fresh water to the river.[1]

Under normal flow, the Hutt River runs to the north for a short distance (<500 metres) before breaking through the final dune and flowing to the sea. Under heavy flow it breaks straight through.[2]

Hutt Lagoon, 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of the river mouth, is a marginal marine salina. Similar to Lake MacLeod, north of Carnarvon, Hutt Lagoon is fed by marine waters through a barrier ridge and by meteoric waters through springs. Due to the salina’s below sea-level position seepage of seawater into the salina is continuous year round.[3]


The first European to discover the river was probably Francisco Pelsaert, who hove to in Broken Anchor Bay at the mouth of the Hutt River on 9 June 1629, following the sinking of the Batavia on the Houtman Abrolhos. He probably returned to the mouth of the Hutt River in the Sardam on 16 November 1629. His crew explored the area and two mutineers, Wouter Loos and Jan Pelgrom de Bye, appear to have been abandoned here, becoming Australia's first European residents.[4][5]

The first British explorer to encounter Hutt River was Lieutenant (later Sir) George Grey on 5 April 1839, naming the river after his friend Sir William Hutt.[6] Hutt was a British Liberal politician who was heavily involved in the colonization of Western Australia, New Zealand and South Australia, and the brother of John Hutt, the second Governor of Western Australia. Hutt was for a time chairman of the Western Australian Land Company.[7] Sir William Hutt was a member with Grey of the 1836 Select Committee on Disposal of Lands in the British Colonies.[8] The next day, Grey named the nearby Bowes River after Hutt's wife, Mary Bowes.[6]

The Principality of Hutt River is a micronation located midway along the river. The Principality covers an area of 18,500 acres (75 km2) and claims to be an independent sovereign state that seceded from Australia in 1970 as a result of a dispute over wheat production quotas.[9] It is not recognised by Australian state or federal governments, or any other country.


  1. ^ "The Hutt River". Rivers of Western Australia. Greening Australia Ltd. 2008. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  2. ^ Brearley, Anne (2005). Ernest Hodgkin's Swanland: Estuaries and coastal lagoons of Southwestern Australia. University of Western Australia Press. pp. 272–274. ISBN 1-920694-38-2. 
  3. ^ Handford, C . Robertson (1991). "Marginal Marine Halite: Sabkhas and Salinas". In Judith L Melvin. Evaporites, Petroleum and Mineral Resources. Developments in Sedimentology. 50. Amsterdam: Elsevier. p. 47. ISBN 0-444-88680-X. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  4. ^ Gerritsen, Rupert (2007). "The debate over where Australia's first European residents were marooned in 1629 – Part 1'". Hydrographic Journal. 126: 20–25. 
  5. ^ Gerritsen, Rupert (2009). "The debate over where Australia's first European residents were marooned in 1629 – Part 2'". Hydrographic Journal. 128-129: 35–41. 
  6. ^ a b Grey, George (1841). Journals of two expeditions of discovery in North-West and Western Australia, during the years 1837, 38, and 39, describing many newly discovered, important, and fertile districts, with observations on the moral and physical condition of the aboriginal inhabitants, etc. etc. 2. London: T. and W. Boone. p. 239. Retrieved 17 March 2012. 
  7. ^ "The Australind Settlement - Its Foundation Inaugurated". The West Australian. 24 Dec 1919. pp. 7–8. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  8. ^ Mills, Richard Charles (1915). The Colonization of Australia (1829-1842) - The Wakefield Experiment in Empire Building. London: Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd. p. 216. Retrieved 22 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "Principality of Hutt River - Official website". 2008. Retrieved 28 October 2008. 

Coordinates: 28°18′42″S 114°18′1″E / 28.31167°S 114.30028°E / -28.31167; 114.30028