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Fitzroy River (Western Australia): Wikis


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Fitzroy River
Fitzroy River at Fitzroy Crossing.JPG
Fitzroy River, looking north from bridge at Fitzroy Crossing
Origin King Leopold Ranges
Mouth King Sound
Basin countries Australia
Length 733 kilometres (455 mi)[1]
Source elevation 486 metres (1,594 ft)[2]
Basin area 93,829 square kilometres (36,228 sq mi)[3]

The Fitzroy River is located in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia.



The Fitzroy River was discovered by the West in 1837 by George Grey in the H.M.S. Beagle. The river was subsequently named by Lt J L Stokes on 26/2/1838 after Captain Robert FitzRoy R.N. The Fitzroy River flows for 733 kilometres (455 mi) from the King Leopold and Mueller Ranges into King Sound south of Derby, and has a catchment area of 93,829 square kilometres (36,228 sq mi)


The surrounding area is also known as the Fitzroy Valley and is a distinct physiographic section of the larger Canning Basin province, which in turn is part of the larger West Australian Shield division.


The Fitzroy has 20 tributaries including Margaret River, Christmas Creek, Hann River, Sandy Creek, Geegully Creek, Little Fitzroy River, Collis Creek, Adcock River, Cunninghame River, Yeeda River, Mudjalla Gully and Minnie River.


Extensive flooding during the wet season created a need for an adequate crossing. It was because of this that the town of Fitzroy Crossing was founded. When it floods the Fitzroy River is an awesome sight. In 1935, the Fitzroy got its first bridge - a low level concrete structure, which was built up into a wider structure in 1958. This bridge could be closed for several months at a time during the wet weather and travellers were then forced to use a flying fox, which operated about 200 metres south of the crossing. When a new bridge was erected in 1974, the focus of the town grew away from its original site. The current town of Fitzroy Crossing is one of the fastest growing in the Kimberley region.

Record floods occurred in 1983, 1986 and 2002 [4] with approximately 13 metres of water over the old concrete crossing. The flow rate down the 15 kilometre wide flood plain at Fitzroy Crossing was estimated to be 30,000 cubic metres per second. In flood, it is probably the largest river in Australia.

Damming of the Fitzroy

One channel of the Fitzroy River, looking north from Willare Bridge, dry season 2006

The Fitzroy River was diverted in the 1950s as part of the failed Camballin Irrigation Scheme to store the water to irrigate crops of cotton, sorghum and other feed crops.

This part of the river covers an area of 12ha when full.

There have been other proposals over time to dam the river at Dimond Gorge.

In April 2007 W.A. opposition leader Colin Barnett announced plans to dam the river, should he become elected, in order to provide a water source for a new irrigation venture to replace the Murray-Darling Basin which has experienced significant water shortages as a result of the drought. His 20 year plan also included piping the water further south as an additional source for the Perth Integrated Water Supply Scheme.

Coordinates: 17°25′39″S 123°33′52″E / 17.4275°S 123.56444°E / -17.4275; 123.56444


  1. ^ "Landgate - History of River names". 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-26.  
  2. ^ "Bonzle Digital Atlas - Map of Fitzroy River, WA". 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-26.  
  3. ^ "Australian Natural Resources Atlas - Landscape - carbon, nutrients, water and productivity - Fitzroy River (WA)". 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-26.  
  4. ^ Mason, Flur-Elise.(2002) River peaks at 88-year high.(Peaked at Willare at more than 13 metres; its highest level since 1914).Broome advertiser, 7 March 2002, p.3,

Further reading

  • History of the flooding of the Fitzroy River Boab babbler, 12 March 1993, p.25

External links



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