Richmond River

Last updated

Richmond
Richmond River.jpg
The Richmond River at Casino, 2006.
Australia New South Wales relief location map.png
Red pog.svg
Location of the Richmond River mouth in New South Wales
Etymology Charles, the fifth Duke of Richmond [1]
Location
Country Australia
State New South Wales
Region NSW North Coast (IBRA), Northern Rivers
Local government areas Kyogle, Richmond Valley, Ballina
Physical characteristics
Source McPherson Range
  locationwest of Mount Lindesay,
near Woodenbong
  coordinates 28°19′48″S152°40′30″E / 28.33000°S 152.67500°E / -28.33000; 152.67500
  elevation236 m (774 ft)
Mouth Coral Sea, South Pacific Ocean
  location
near Ballina / South Ballina
  coordinates
28°52′36″S153°35′29″E / 28.87667°S 153.59139°E / -28.87667; 153.59139 Coordinates: 28°52′36″S153°35′29″E / 28.87667°S 153.59139°E / -28.87667; 153.59139
  elevation
0 m (0 ft)
Length394 km (245 mi)
Basin size6,862 km2 (2,649 sq mi)
Basin features
Tributaries 
  leftFindon Creek, Gradys Creek, Lynchs Creek, Fawcetts Creek, Wilsons River, Emigrant Creek
  right Back Creek, Roseberry Creek, Horse Station Creek, Eden Creek, Bungawalbin Creek, Shannon Brook
National parks Border Ranges NP,
Richmond Range NP
[2]

The Richmond River is a river situated in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia.

Contents

Course and features

Richmond River 1967 Richmond River 1967.jpg
Richmond River 1967
Richmond River 1971 River 1971.jpg
Richmond River 1971
Richmond River 2009 River 2009.jpg
Richmond River 2009
The Richmond River entrance from the Southern Breakwater, April 2019. 1Wall.jpg
The Richmond River entrance from the Southern Breakwater, April 2019.

The river rises at the northern end of the Richmond Range, near its junction with the McPherson Range, on the Queensland/ New South Wales border, west of Mount Lindesay, and flows generally south east and north east, joined by twelve tributaries, including the Wilsons River, before reaching its mouth at its confluence with the Coral Sea of the South Pacific Ocean near Ballina; descending 256 metres (840 ft) over its 237 kilometres (147 mi) course. [2]

On its journey it passes through the towns of Kyogle, Casino, Coraki and Woodburn. Summerland Way is situated adjacent to much of the middle reaches of the course of Richmond River. At Ballina, the Pacific Highway crosses the river.

The catchment area of the river is estimated at 6,862 square kilometres (2,649 sq mi), which makes it the sixth largest catchment in New South Wales; and its floodplain has an area of over 1,000 square kilometres (390 sq mi). [3]

History

Junction of the Richmond and Wilson rivers at Coraki, 2007 Coraki river junction.jpg
Junction of the Richmond and Wilson rivers at Coraki, 2007

Aboriginal history

The traditional custodians of the land surrounding the Richmond River are the Aboriginal people of the Githabul, [4] whose territory reached north to the current city of Toowoomba and included the current towns of Tenterfield and Warwick. One of the annual rituals of the Githabul people was the movement from the mountain ranges to the coast during the winter months, when the mullet were plentiful. [5]

European history

Omitted by Captain James Cook when he sailed up the east coast of the Australian mainland in 1770, it wasn't until Captain Henry John Rous identified the mouth of the river in 1828 that it was discovered by Europeans. Rous entered the river and sailed about 20 miles (32 km) up river. He subsequently named the river Richmond after the fifth Duke of Richmond. [1] Later that year the explorer Allan Cunningham reached the river by land. [5]

The river was a major port from the 1840s until well into the 20th century. Soon after the first white settlers arrived they discovered the abundant supply of Australian Red Cedar in the Richmond Valley and immediately began logging. The river was vital in the transportation of this resource.

At the time of its discovery in 1828 and until the late 1890s the river had a treacherous mouth of shifting sand bars, and many ships and lives were lost on it. Understandably, a decision was made to construct two breakwaters to channel the river's flow and these were completed in the early 1900s. The construction of the breakwaters also led to the formation of Shaw's Bay (after sand built up behind what is now called Lighthouse or Main Beach).

In 1846, a conflict between white settlers and local Aborigines in the river valley (the Richmond River massacre) caused the deaths of around 100 of the latter.[ citation needed ]

With the decline of shipping as a transport mode, owing to better roads and rail, and the closing of the North Coast Steam Navigation Company (the major shipping firm of the area) in 1954, the river became less important as a port.

Current usage

For boats, the river is navigable for a short way up its length, possibly as far as Casino. Wilsons River, which flows through the city of Lismore and is a major tributary of the Richmond, is navigable at least as far as Boatharbour, approximately 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) upstream from Lismore.

The Richmond River is heavily used for irrigation along its length. Several weirs have been constructed in order to mitigate the effects of flooding, most notably at Casino.

Fauna

The freshwater reaches of the Richmond River once supported the endemic Richmond River Cod, similar to Murray Cod and possibly a subspecies of Eastern Freshwater Cod. Unfortunately this unique native fish became extinct between the 1930s and 1950s due to habitat degradation and gross overfishing, including with dynamite during the building of the local railway line. The endangered Oxleyan Pygmy Perch has been recorded from the river.

See also

Related Research Articles

Lismore, New South Wales City in New South Wales, Australia

Lismore is a city in northeastern New South Wales, Australia and the main population centre in the City of Lismore local government area; it is also a regional centre in the Northern Rivers region of the State. It is situated on a low flood plain on the banks of the Wilsons River near the latter's junction with Leycester Creek, both tributaries of the Richmond River which enters the Pacific Ocean at Ballina, 30 km (19 mi) to the east. The original settlement initially developed as a grazing property, then became a timber and agricultural based town and inland port based around substantial river traffic, which declined and then ceased around the mid-twentieth century. The city is also located on the Bruxner Highway which crosses the Wilsons River at Lismore, and was formerly a stop on the Casino-Murwillumbah railway line. It is the home of one of the three campuses of Southern Cross University.

Northern Rivers Region in New South Wales, Australia

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Ballina is a town in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia, and the seat of the Ballina Shire local government area. Ballina's urban population at June 2018 was 26,381. The town lies on the Richmond River and serves as a gateway to Byron Bay.

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Rocky Creek Dam Dam in Northern Rivers, New South Wales

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Rous County Cadastral in New South Wales, Australia

Rous County is one of the 141 Cadastral divisions of New South Wales. It is located at the north-east tip of the state. It is bordered on the north by the border with Queensland and on the south by the Richmond River. It contains Lismore, Byron Bay and Murwillumbah.

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Wilsons River (New South Wales)

Wilsons River, a perennial river and part of the Richmond River catchment, is situated in the Northern Rivers district of New South Wales, Australia.

The Leycester Creek, a perennial stream of the Richmond River catchment, is located in Northern Rivers region in the state of New South Wales, Australia.

Rous River

Rous River, a perennial river of the Tweed River catchment, is located in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia.

The Towamba River is an open mature wave dominated barrier estuary or perennial river, located in the South Coast region of New South Wales, Australia.

Esk River (New South Wales)

Esk River, a perennial stream that is part of the Clarence River catchment, is located in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia.

Shannon Brook

The Shannon Brook, a perennial stream of the Richmond River catchment, is located in Northern Rivers region in the state of New South Wales, Australia.

The Eden Creek, a perennial stream of the Richmond River catchment, is located in Northern Rivers region in the state of New South Wales, Australia.

Bland Creek

The Bland Creek, a mostly–perennial river that is part of the Lachlan sub-catchment of the Murrumbidgee catchment within the Murray–Darling basin, is located in the South West Slopes, and Riverina regions of New South Wales, Australia. The Bland Creek is only connected to the Murray Darling basin when both the Lachlan and Murrumbidgee Rivers are in flood.

Jugiong Creek

The Jugiong Creek, a mostly–perennial river that is part of the Murrumbidgee catchment within the Murray–Darling basin, is located in the South West Slopes region of New South Wales, Australia.

References

  1. 1 2 "Richmond River". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales . Retrieved 3 February 2013. OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg
  2. 1 2 "Map of Richmond River, NSW". Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  3. Cavanagh, Damion; Dalrymple, Brad; Wood, Michael (2007). "Managing water quality in the Richmond River Estuary, Australia" (PDF). 10th International River Symposium. Brisbane, Australia: Richmond River County Council. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  4. "District History". Richmond River Historical Society. 2002. Retrieved 3 February 2013.
  5. 1 2 "Casino: Pleasant country town on the banks of the Richmond River". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 February 2004.