Palmer River

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For other meanings, see Palmer River (disambiguation).
Palmer River
StateLibQld 1 70879 Gold mining dredge on the Palmer River in Queensland.jpg
Gold mining dredge
Origin Sussex Range
Mouth confluence with the Mitchell River
Basin countries Australia

The Palmer River is a river southwest of Cooktown in northeastern Australia. It was the site of a gold rush in the late 19th century which started in 1873. The Palmer River flows west across Cape York to the Gulf of Carpentaria, via the Mitchell River. Its headwaters are the Sussex Range, near the Palmer River Roadhouse, south of Lakeland.

Palmer Goldfields[edit]

Palmer River was one of Australia's major gold rush locations. William Hann and geologist Norman Taylor found gold in a sandy bed of the river in 1872.[1] Hann named the river after Arthur Hunter Palmer the then Premier of Queensland.[2]

The main settlement of the gold field was Maytown. The settlement began as a camp in 1873, then grew into a town which served as the administration centre for the former Hann Local Government Area.[2]

There were several confrontations between the settlers and the Aborigines from the area, including one at Battle Camp.[citation needed]

The miners in the Palmer River included Chinese, mostly from the Guangdong Province in southern China.[3] The Chinese miners would re-work the diggings of Europeans as they moved on to find richer diggings.[4] In 1876, with the rush to the Hodgkinson River,[5] Chinese miners occupied most of the Palmer Gold Field.

As gold reserves were extracted, anti-Chinese sentiment grew.

Although most of the surface gold has long since been prospected, there remain a handful of deeper mine projects in the area.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gold!". Cairns Museum. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Palmer River". Queensland Places (entre for the Government of Queensland). Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  3. ^ Kirkman, Noreen (1993). From minority to majority: Chinese on the Palmer River Gold-field, 1873-1876, in Race Relations in North Queensland, edited by Henry Reynolds. Townsville: James Cook University. pp. 243–257. ISBN 978-0-86443-484-5. 
  4. ^ "Palmer Goldfield Resources Reserve: Nature, culture and history". Department of Environment and Resource Management. 9 June 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011. 
  5. ^ Kirkman, Noreen (1982). Mining on the Hodgkinson." In Readings in North Queensland Mining History, edited by K.H. Kennedy. Townsville: James Cook University. pp. 171–194. ISBN 0864430612. 

Coordinates: 16°05′10.9″S 144°18′16.26″E / 16.086361°S 144.3045167°E / -16.086361; 144.3045167