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North West Queensland is also referred to as the Gulf Country
|Area||186,000 km2 (71,815.0 sq mi)|
|LGA(s)||Burke, Carpentaria, Cloncurry, Croydon, Flinders, McKinlay, Mount Isa, Richmond|
|State electorate(s)||Traeger, Cook|
The Gulf Country is the region of woodland and savanna grassland surrounding the Gulf of Carpentaria in north western Queensland and eastern Northern Territory on the north coast of Australia. The region is also called the Gulf Savannah. It contains large reserves of zinc, lead and silver. The Gulf Country is crossed by the Savannah Way highway.
The Gulf Country is a block of dry savanna between the wetter areas of Arnhem Land and the Top End of the Northern territory to the west and the Cape York Peninsula of Far North Queensland to the east, while to the south and east lie upland plains of Mitchell grasses and the Einasleigh Uplands. The Northern Territory side of the area is the Gulf Fall area of sandstone slopes and gorges draining the interior uplands into the gulf. The main land uses in the Gulf Country are beef cattle and mining.
The region covers an area of 186,000 km2 (72,000 sq mi). The landscape is generally flat and low-lying tropical savannah cut through with rivers that carry the monsoon rains to the gulf and feed coastal mudflats and patches of rainforest. The Sir Edward Pellew Group of Islands and the Wellesley Islands lie off the gulf coast.
The main settlements in the region include the city of Mount Isa and the towns of Doomadgee, Cloncurry, Camooweal, Kowanyama, Karumba, Normanton and Burketown. The port at Karumba is one of Australia's main live cattle exporting ports.The oldest building in the region is the Burketown Hotel.
The climate is hot with a dry season and a monsoon. The dry season lasts from about April until November and is characterized by very dry southeast to east winds, generated by migratory winter high pressure systems to the south. The wet season lasts from December to March and is characterised by humid northerly monsoonal airflows. This wet season can be very erratic: at Burketown, which is typical of the region, the rainfall of various wet seasons has ranged from as little as 150 millimetres (5.9 in) to as much as 2,000 millimetres (79 in). Overall rainfall is low (from 750 mm on the coast to 500 mm inland) but if the wet season is at all strong, low-lying areas are flooded and even the few sealed roads are cut. The Gulf is also a breeding ground for cyclones during the period between November and April.
In September and October the Morning Glory Cloud appears in the Southern Gulf. The best vantage point to see this phenomenon is in the Burketown area shortly after dawn.
Jirandali (also known as Yirandali, Warungu, and Yirandhali) is an Australian Aboriginal language of the Gulf Country, particularly the Hughenden area. The language region includes the local government area of the Shire of Flinders, including Dutton River, Flinders River, Mount Sturgeon, Caledonia, Richmond, Corfield, Winton, Torrens, Tower Hill, Landsborough Creek, Lammermoor Station, Hughenden, and Tangorin.
Waanyi (also known as Wanyi, Wanyee, Wanee, Waangyee, Wonyee, Garawa, and Wanji) is an Australian Aboriginal language of the Gulf Country. The language region includes the western parts of Lawn Hill Creek and Nicholson River, from about the boundary between the Northern Territory and Queensland, westwards towards Alexandria station, Doomadgee, and Nicholson River. It includes the local government area of the Aboriginal Shire of Doomadgee.
Wanamarra (also known as Maykulan and Wunumura is an Australian Aboriginal language in North West Queensland. The language region includes areas within the Shire of McKinlay, Shire of Cloncurry and Shire of Richmond, including the Flinders River area, and the towns of Kynuna and Richmond.
Yukulta (also known as Ganggalida) is an Australian Aboriginal language of the Gulf Country. The Yukulta language region includes the local government areas of the Aboriginal Shire of Doomadgee and Shire of Mornington.
The first known European explorer to visit the region was the Dutch Willem Janszoon (whose name is also written as Jansz) in his 1605–6 voyage. His fellow countryman Jan Carstenszoon (or Carstensz) visited in 1623 and named the gulf in honour of Pieter de Carpentier, at that time the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies. Abel Tasman also explored the coast in 1644. The region was later explored and charted by Matthew Flinders in 1802 and 1803.
The first overland explorer in the area was the Prussian Ludwig Leichhardt who traversed the area in 1844 and 1845. He was followed by Augustus Gregory of the North Australian Expedition in 1856, and then Burke and Wills in 1861. John McKinlay, Frederick Walker and William Landsborough lead separate search parties into the Gulf looking for Burke and Wills in 1861 and 1862.
As pastoralists settled in the area there were significant clashes with local aboriginal populations. Historian Tony Roberts has described the nature of massacres and violent encounters in the Gulf Country in his book titled Frontier Justice.
The 1964 Mount Isa Mines Strike was a prolonged strike between miners and management at Mount Isa Mines.
The region is source of great mineral wealth such as copper, zinc, lead and silver. Mount Isa Mines includes a number of copper, lead, zinc and silver mines in Mount Isa where production began in 1931. Century Mine, Australia's largest zinc mine began operations near Mount Isa in 1997 and is expected to be exhausted by 2016.Other mines in the region include George Fisher mine, Cannington Mine and Hilton Mine.
Due to the lead production in the town, Mount Isa has one of the most intensive air quality monitoring systems in Australia.Concerns have been raised over childhood lead contamination and air pollution within the region.
In the Gulf Country there are no mountains to restrict rainfall to the coastal band and the transition from the coastal mangroves through Acacia stenophylla woodlands to the arid scrubs of central Australia is gradual. There are up to nineteen important areas for bird migration in rivermouths along the gulf coastincluding the Gregory River-Nicholson River estuary and the Roper River in Limmen Bight. The patches of rainforest habitat occur in parts that are less vulnerable to the grassland fires. On the savanna dicanthium bluegrass grows tall after the monsoon rains as the Gulf Country is one of the largest areas of native grassland in Australia. The sandstone gorges of the Gulf Fall are home to a specific wildlife. Finally the Pellew Islands have retained original mangroves and thick woodland..
The area is home to a number of endangered species including an endemic rodent, the Carpentarian rock rat (Zyzomys palatalis) and endemic reptiles such as the Carpentarian lerista skink . The mudflats and saltpans on the coast are home to waterbirds such as the magpie goose. One endemic grassland bird the Carpentarian grasswren is suffering as changing fire regimes (the way grasses are systematically burnt and allowed to renew) are reducing their habitat.
Much of the area is unspoilt vegetation but overgrazing of cattle and the introduction of feed grass species is changing both grasslands and wetlands while the woodlands are vulnerable to changing fire regimes. Introduced weeds include the rubber vine. Protected areas include Staaten River National Park, Boodjamulla National Park (formerly Lawn Hill), the World Heritage fossil finds at Riversleigh, Camooweal Caves National Park and Mitchell-Alice Rivers National Park on the Queensland side. However the coastal wetlands are little protected. Lawn Hill crater, an impact crater with a ring of limestone hills, is also located in the Gulf Country. Finally Barranyi (North Island) National Park is one of the Pellew Islands.
The Gulf of Carpentaria is a large, shallow sea enclosed on three sides by northern Australia and bounded on the north by the eastern Arafura Sea. The northern boundary is generally defined as a line from Slade Point, Queensland in the northeast, to Cape Arnhem, Northern Territory in the west.
The Mitchell River is a river located in Far North Queensland, Australia. The river rises on the Atherton Tableland about 50 kilometres (31 mi) northwest of Cairns, and flows about 750 kilometres (470 mi) northwest across Cape York Peninsula from Mareeba to the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Normanton is a small cattle town and coastal locality in the Shire of Carpentaria in Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Normanton had a population of 1,210 people of whom 743 were Indigenous Australians.
The City of Mount Isa is a local government area in north west Queensland. The City covers the urban locality of Mount Isa, the administrative centre, and surrounding area, sharing a boundary with the Northern Territory to the west.
Borroloola is a town in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is located on the McArthur River, about 50 km upstream from the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The Barkly Tableland is a rolling plain of grassland in Australia. It runs from the eastern part of the Northern Territory into western Queensland. It is one of the five regions in the Northern Territory and covers 283,648 square kilometres (109,517 sq mi), 21% of the Northern Territory. The Barkly Tableland runs parallel to the southern shore of the Gulf of Carpentaria, from about Mount Isa, Queensland to near Daly Waters.
Far North Queensland, which is often known simply as FNQ, is the northernmost part of the Australian state of Queensland. Its largest city is Cairns and it is dominated geographically by Cape York Peninsula, which stretches north to the Torres Strait, and west to the Gulf Country. The waters of Torres Strait include the only international border in the area contiguous with the Australian mainland, between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
North Queensland or the Northern Region is the northern part of the Australian state of Queensland that lies just south of Far North Queensland. Queensland is a massive state, larger than many countries, and its tropical northern part has been historically remote and undeveloped, resulting in a distinctive regional character and identity.
Doomadgee is a town and a locality in the Aboriginal Shire of Doomadgee, Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Doomadgee had a population of 1405 people.
Burketown is an isolated outback town and coastal locality in the Shire of Burke, Queensland, Australia. In the 2016 census, Burketown had a population of 238 people. It is located 898 km west of Cairns on the Albert River and Savannah Way in the area known as the Gulf Savannah. The town is the administrative centre of the vast Burke Shire Council.
The Shire of Burke is a local government area in North West Queensland, Australia. The shire lies on the south coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria and abuts the border with the Northern Territory. It covers an area of 39,864 square kilometres (15,391.6 sq mi), and has existed as a local government entity since 1885. The major town and administrative centre of the shire is Burketown. The shire and town and the Burke River passing through all are named in honour of ill-fated explorer Robert O'Hara Burke.
The Shire of Mornington is a local government area in north-west Queensland, Australia. The Shire covers Mornington Island and neighbouring islands in the Wellesley Islands group in the Gulf of Carpentaria. The Shire Council employees are 93% local indigenous residents.
The Aboriginal Shire of Doomadgee is a special local government area in North West Queensland, Queensland, Australia. It is managed under a Deed of Grant in Trust under the Local Government Act 2004.
The Selwyn Range is a rugged mountain range near Mount Isa and Cloncurry in north-west Queensland, Australia, composed largely of Proterozoic metamorphic rocks. It is drained in the north by the Williams and Fullarton rivers, which run into the Gulf of Carpentaria, and in the south by the McKinlay River and its tributary, Boorama Creek which drain also into the Gulf of Carpentaria. The area is heavily mineralised, containing copper, gold, lead, and zinc, and is important for mining.
Waanyi, also spelt Wanyi, Wanji or Waanji, is an extinct Australian Aboriginal language formerly spoken by the Waanyi people of the lower gulf area of Northern Queensland, Australia.
Duchess is a town and a locality in the Shire of Cloncurry, Queensland, Australia.
Sweers Island is an island in the South Wellesley Islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland, Australia. It is within the Shire of Mornington.
The Nicholson River is a river located in the Northern Territory and the state of Queensland, Australia.
Lawn Hill is a locality split between the Shire of Burke and the City of Mount Isa in Queensland, Australia. It is named for the Boodjamulla National Park, which was previously known as the Lawn Hill National Park, after a pastoral holding in the area.
Nicholson is a coastal locality in the Shire of Burke, Queensland, Australia.