Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Cooper Creek

It starts out as the Barcoo River on the slopes of the Warrego Range, part of the Great Dividing Range, in Queensland, flowing northwest to Blackall, where the Alice River joins it. From there it swings southwest past Isisford, after which it is joined by the Thompson River, its main tributary. From here it is called Cooper Creek, continuing on to Lake Eyre, though only carries water to the lake in very wet years.

About 30 km south of Innamincka, the Cooper channel divides, the northwest branch flowing to the Coongie Lakes. Most floods enter this NW branch, the main channel heading for Lake Eyre only carrying water at time of extreme flood. When it does go down the main channel, the flow disappears into the large expanse of Embarka Swamp, where the main channel disintegrates. Only on the rare occasions when there is enough water to overflow the swamp, usually 2-3 times per century, does the water continue on to Lake Eyre, the water flooding out into the interdune swales and corridors, even flooding gibber plains and sandy rises and dunes on its way to the lowest point, Lake Eyre.

Aboriginal harvesting

A stone reaping knife was used by the local Aboriginals in the area around Cooper's Creek in southwestern Queensland, as was used by the early cultivators in the Middle East. Knives used for reaping can be distinguished by the the 'use-polish', a sheen they have on the edge of the implement.

See Cooper Creek Food Webs

Sources & Further reading

Van Oosterzee, Penny, 1993, The Centre - The Natural history of Australia's Desert Regions, Reed Australia,

Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated  05/11/2013


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