Bowen River (Queensland)

The Bowen River is a river located in North Queensland, Australia.

Bowen River Weir, 2010
Location of Bowen River mouth in Queensland
EtymologySir George Bowen[1]
RegionNorth Queensland
Physical characteristics
SourceNormanby Range, Great Dividing Range
  locationnear Turrawulla
  coordinates21°09′27″S 148°13′59″E
  elevation260 m (850 ft)
Source confluenceBroken River and Little Bowen River
  coordinates20°48′39″S 148°05′00″E
  elevation148 m (486 ft)
MouthBurdekin River
south southeast of Ravenswood
20°23′40″S 147°20′55″E
50 m (160 ft)
Length129 km (80 mi)
Basin size9,452 km2 (3,649 sq mi)
Basin features
River systemBurdekin River
  leftRosella Creek, Parrot Creek, Ten Mile Creek (Queensland), Oaky Creek (Queensland), Sandalwood Creek
  rightFlagstaff Creek, Basin Creek, Jack Creek (Queensland), Twelve Mile Creek (Queensland), Pelican Creek (Queensland)

Course and features

Formed by the confluence of the Broken River and the Little Bowen River near Tent Hill in the Normanby Range, part of the Great Dividing Range, the Bowen River flows in a north-westerly direction along the base of the range then flows west across Emu Plains and is crossed by the Bowen Developmental Road just north of Havilah. The river then flows north-west again between the Herbert Range and Leichhardt Range then discharges into the Burdekin River, south southeast of Ravenswood. The river descends 98 metres (322 ft) over its 129-kilometre (80 mi) course.[2]

The catchment area of the river occupies 9,452 square kilometres (3,649 sq mi) of which an area of 236 square kilometres (91 sq mi) is composed of riverine wetlands.[3] The catchment is in poor condition with much of the riparian habitat having been cleared and prone to erosion. The area is mostly used for cattle grazing with the towns of Collinsville and Glendon both drawing their town water supply from the Bowen River Weir. The river has a mean annual discharge of 1,618 gigalitres (3.56×1011 imp gal; 4.27×1011 US gal).[4]

The Bowen River Weir supplies water to a coal mine, power station and the township of Collinsville.[5]


Bowen boating party, 1910s

The river was named in 1861 by the Queensland Government, derived from the name of the town Bowen which was named in honour of Sir George Bowen, a Governor of Queensland.[1]

In the 1860s, Richard Daintree made mineral discoveries along the river.[6] Daintree made the first systematic examination of the Bowen River coal seams near Collinsville.[7]

Circa 1865, the Bowen River Hotel was built at the top of a steep bank of the river (20.534°S 147.5562°E / -20.534; 147.5562 (Bowen River Hotel)). The hotel is now listed on the Queensland Heritage Register.[8]

Construction of the Bowen River Weir commenced in April 1982 and was completed in August 1983. The A$6.5 million project is situated approximately 25 kilometres (16 mi) south of Collinsville and delivers water to the Newlands Coal Mine.[9]

See also


  1. "BowenRiver (entry 4113)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  2. "Map of Bowen River Qld". Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  3. "Bowen River drainage basin". WetlandInfo. Queensland Government. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  4. "Bowen River". NQ Dry Tropic. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  5. Ghassemi, Fereidoun; Ian White (2007). Inter-Basin Water Transfer: Case Studies from Australia, United States, Canada, China and India. Cambridge University Press. p. 189. ISBN 978-1139463041. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  6. Jack, Felicity (2008). Putting Queensland on the Map: The Life of Robert Logan Jack, Geologist & Explorer. UNSW Press. p. 126. ISBN 978-1921410260. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  7. "Daintree, Richard (1832–1878)". Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  8. "Bowen River Hotel (entry 600042)". Queensland Heritage Register. Queensland Heritage Council. Retrieved 1 August 2014.
  9. "Bowen River Pump Station". Thiess. Archived from the original on 21 July 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2015.

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