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Barron Falls Queensland

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Uploaded on Jan 7, 2011

Part of the www.australiannationalparks.com series - The Barron River is located on the Atherton Tableland inland from Cairns in Northern Queensland, Australia. With its headwater at Lake Tinaroo, it is more than 165 km long and has a catchment area of approximately 2138 kmĀ².

History The river's original Aboriginal name is Bibhoora. The river gained its current name in 1875 when two police sub-inspectors, Johnstone and Douglas, named it after Thomas Henry Bowman Barron (c1835 - 24 June 1882), chief clerk of police in Brisbane. The European discovery of the river was by James Venture Mulligan in 1874.

Flooding The lower reaches of the Barron River have a well-documented history of flooding dating from early last century. Tinaroo Falls Dams has little effect on the mitigation of floods. Both agricultural and residential areas can be affected. A network of rainfall and river height field stations was established in 1995 to provide a flood warning system for the Cairns City Council.

Heavy rain associated with a cyclone early in 1939 caused substantial flooding on the Barron River and resulted in the river changing its course. The mouth of the Barron moved about 2 km north from Casuarina Point on the northern Cairns esplanade to Ellie Point.


Barron Gorge Some of the river's worst flooding occurred in 1950. This was due to a major tropical cyclone following the contour of the Queensland coast for over a week.

Over time, some of the Mitchell River's former headwaters were diverted by natural forces into the Barron. These include the Clohesy River and other tribtries that used to flow northwest to the Gulf of Carpentaria. With the extra water now flowing over the 260 metre high Barron Falls, the steep, narrow Barron Gorge was formed. Much of the water that used to flow over the falls has now been diverted to generate electricity at the Barron Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station.

The Barron's headwaters start in the Crater National Park near Mt Hypipamee at an altitude of 1200 m. The river then flows north 65 km across the Atherton Tablelands before finally turning east after Mareeba towards Kuranda. After passing under the Kuranda Range Highway's bridge and through Kuranda proper, it descends down the 260 metre high Barron Falls and reaches the Cairns floodplains near Smithfield.


The mouth of the Barron River is just north of Cairns Airport, The river's catchment area includes the major tributaries flowing into Lake Tinaroo including Kauri, Mazlin, McLean, Maroobi, Peterson and Severin Creeks. It also absorbs most of the major tributaries on the Atherton Tableland, including Emerald Creek, Granite Creek, the Clohesy River and Stoney Creek.[1] This also includes Thomatis Creek, which has only been connected to the Barron since 1932 and has been responsible for diverting part of the flow from the river. Freshwater Creek joins the Barron River below the Gorge and drains Lake Morris and the Lamb and Whitfield Ranges.

Before entering the Pacific Ocean, the river's delta splits into three distributaries, the main river channel, Thomatis/Richters Creek and Redden Creek. During times of flooding two other distributaries also operate - Barr Creek and Half Moon Creek.

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