- Fitzroy River (Queensland)
river_name = Fitzroy River
caption = Dawn breaks on the Fitzroy River as it passes through Rockhampton
origin = Confluence of Dawson and Mackenzie rivers
Pacific Oceannear Port Alma, Queensland
length = 480km
watershed = 150,000 km²
The Fitzroy River lies in
Central Queensland, Australia. Its catchment covers an area of 150,000 square kilometres, making it the second largest river catchment in Australia, after that of the Murray Darling system.The river is formed by the joining of the Mackenzie and Dawson rivers. The catchment stretches from the Carnarvon Ranges in the west to the rivermouth in Keppel Bay, near Rockhampton. It is bounded to the north by the Burdekin Rivercatchment area and to the south by the Burnett Rivercatchment area.
Predominant industries in the catchment are
coalmining, grazing and cotton.fact|date=January 2008
The lower reaches of the river are home to salt water crocodiles, a recently captured example (2003) being in excess of 4 metres long. The prized Australian fish, the
barramundi, also breeds in the river.
The Fitzroy was named by Charles and William Archer on
May 4, 1853in honour of Sir Charles FitzRoy, Governor of the Colony of New South Wales, as Queensland wasn't to become a separate colony until 1859.
The city of Rockhampton is situated 40 kilometres from the coast on the river. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, the city was a major port, however rocky bars in the river prevented the Fitzroy from being used for navigation any further inland. As ships became larger, the lower reaches became less viable for commercial traffic, and today only pleasure craft and small commercial fishing boats use the river. Wharves which once lined the town reach at Rockhampton have now almost all disintegrated or been removed.
Nowadays, the river has a number of dams and weirs along its length. The Fitzroy River barrage at Rockhampton provides fresh water to city and surrounds, while the
Fairbairn Dam, on the Nogoa River(a tributary), provides water for irrigating cotton and domestic use for the town of Emerald.
Tributaries of the Fitzroy include
* Mackenzie River
** Nogoa River
** Comet River
** Isaac River
** Don River
*** Dee River
* McDonald L. (1981) "Rockhampton: A History of City and District", University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Qld. ISBN 0-7022-1620-8
* [http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/brochures/fitzroy/map.shtml Map of the Fitzroy River catchment area, from Australia's Bureau of Meteorology]
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