Coleman River (Queensland)

The Coleman River is a river on the Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland, Australia.[2]

Location of Coleman River mouth in Queensland
RegionFar North Queensland
Physical characteristics
SourceGreat Dividing Range
Source confluenceLittle Coleman River and Big Coleman River
  locationunder Lapunya Mount
  elevation229 m (751 ft)
MouthGulf of Carpentaria
south of Pormpuraaw, Cape York
15°04′20″S 141°38′59″E
0 m (0 ft)
Basin features
  rightKing River (Queensland), Lukin River

Course and features

Formed by the confluence of the Little Coleman River and Big Coleman River, the headwaters of the river rise under Lapunya Mount near The Lagoons in the Great Dividing Range and initially flows south. It flows past the Curlew Range and then turns west across the Boomerang Plain eventually discharging into the Gulf of Carpentaria between the mouth of the Mitchell River to the south and the settlement of Pormpuraaw to the north. From source to mouth, the Coleman River is joined by six tributaries including the King River and the Lukin River, and descends 234 metres (768 ft) over its 399-kilometre (248 mi) course.[1]

The catchment includes the Edward River sub-basin, and area occupies 737.6 square kilometres (285 sq mi). It contains the towns of Bamboo, Edward River, Glen Garland, Strath-Haven, Strathgordon, Strathmay and Yarraden, which includes the abandoned locale of Ebagoola.[3] The Archer River drainage basin bounds the catchment to the north and the Mitchell River Catchment to the south The river has a mean annual discharge of 520 gigalitres (680,100,000 cu yd).[4]

A total of 46 species of fish have been found in the river, including: the sailfin glassfish, barred grunter, shovel-nosed catfish, bigeye trevelly, fly-specked hardyhead, golden gudgeon, pPennyfish, mouth almighty, barramundi, oxeye herring, rainbowfish and seven-spot archerfish.[5]


The Olkola people inhabited the basin for thousands of years.[6]

Yir Yiront is an Australian Aboriginal language. Its traditional language region is in Western Cape York within the local government areas of Aboriginal Shire of Kowanyama and Shire of Cook, in the catchments of the Coleman River and Mitchell River. Following the removal of Aboriginal people from their traditional lands, it is also spoken in Pormpuraaw and Kowanyama.[7]

The river was named by the explorer William Hann in 1872.[8]

At the turn of the 20th century, a gold rush led to conflict with colonial Australians, resulting in several massacres of the Olkola. Between 2011 and 2014, the Olkola people negotiated a handback of traditionally held lands, part of which became Olkola National Park.[9]

See also


  1. "Map of Coleman River". Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  2. Science, jurisdiction=Queensland; sector=government; corporateName=Department of Environment and. "Coleman River drainage sub-basin — facts and maps". Retrieved 22 January 2023.
  3. "Coleman drainage basin". WetlandInfo. Queensland Government. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  4. "Coleman River sub-basin within the Mitchell - Gilbert Fans sub-bioregion". WetlandInfo. Queensland Government. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  5. "Coleman River catchment". Fish Atlas of North Australia. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  6. "Olkola Country". Olkola Aboriginal Corporation. Archived from the original on 29 October 2018. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
  7. This Wikipedia article incorporates CC-BY-4.0 licensed text from: "Yir Yiront". Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages map. State Library of Queensland. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  8. "Coleman River (entry 7710)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  9. "Olkola Aboriginal Corporation". Olkola Aboriginal Corporation. Retrieved 28 October 2018.
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