Johnstone River

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Johnstone River
Johnstone River at Innisfail, 2006
Origin Atherton Tableland
Mouth between Flying Fish Point and Coquette Point
Basin countries Australia
Basin area 2325 km²[1]

The Johnstone River is a river in North Queensland, Australia. The river has two main branches, the North Johnstone River and the South Johnstone River. The town of Innisfail is the largest settlement in the catchment and is built on the banks of the lower Johnstone River where the two branches split. Other towns in the catchment include Millaa Millaa and Malanda.

There are no dams or reservoirs in the catchment area, however water is taken from the river for town water supply, dairy farming and sugar cane production.[1]

The junction of the two river branches is considered to be a sacred area to Mamu Aboriginals.[2]


The area was first explored by Europeans in 1872. Robert Johnstone was helping search for survivors of a shipwreck when it was named the Gladys, by Captain Morseby. Later the river was named after him by Dalrymple, in 1873, while he was assisting in a search for an alternative port for the Palmer River goldfields. Robert Johnstone was along on both trips as the sub-inspector in charge of the Native Mounted Police at Cardwell.[citation needed]

In 1881 the first sugar cane plantation and mill were established at Innisfail after G. E. Dalrymple reported suitable land on the Johnstone River.[3]

North Johnstone River[edit]

The Beatrice River is the main tributary of the North Johnstone River.[1] This branch is the longest and passes through the Malanda Falls Conservation Park, Wooroonooran National Park and Palmerston Rocks National Park.[citation needed] Malanda Falls is located on the upper North Johnstone River.


The Jubilee Bridge was built across the river at Innisfail in 1923, replacing a ferry service. The old Jubilee Bridge was closed on 21 May 2010 after a review found the bridge to be unsafe.[4] A new bridge was opened on 2 September 2011 with a ceremony attended by the then Premier, Anna Bligh, Queensland MP Curtis Pitt and local Mayor Bill Shannon.[5]

The opening of the railway bridge across the North Johnstone river at Daradgee in December 1924 provided the final link in the North Coast railway line from Townsville to Cairns.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Water resources - Overview - Queensland - Basin & Surface Water Management Area: Johnstone River". Australian Natural Resources Atlas. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  2. ^ John Flynn (24 July 2010). "Innisfail split in half". The Cairns Post (News Limited). Retrieved 17 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Munns, Cec F.; McLay, A.; Sparkes, J.; Logue, W.; Paul, S.; Short, B. (1987). The way we were 3 (2nd ed.). South Melbourne, Victoria: Brooks Waterlook Publicaters. p. 274. ISBN 0-85568-507-7. 
  4. ^ Jessica Mawer (21 May 2010). "Jubilee Bridge to close tonight". ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "Innisfail's Jubilee Bridge is Open to Traffic". Cassowary Coast Regional Council. 2 September 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2012. 
  6. ^ "A Chronology of Innisfail and District, Far North Queensland". Leslie's Legends. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 

Coordinates: 17°31′S 146°04′E / 17.517°S 146.067°E / -17.517; 146.067