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Archer River facts for kids

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Archer River, Cape York
Archer River is located in Queensland
Archer River
Location of Archer River mouth in Queensland
Country Australia
State Queensland
Region Far North Queensland
Settlement Aurukun
Physical characteristics
Main source McIlwraith Range
north of Coen
138 m (453 ft)
River mouth Gulf of Carpentaria
Archer Bay
0 m (0 ft)
Length 268 km (167 mi)
Basin features
Basin size 13,820 km2 (5,340 sq mi)
  • Left:
    Coen River
  • Right:
    The Dry River
National park Mungkan Kandju National Park

The Archer River is a river located on the Cape York Peninsula, Far North Queensland, Australia.

Course and features

The headwaters of the river rise in the McIlwraith Range and flows west, it traverses tropical savanna plains and wetlands, flowing through Piccaninny Plains Sanctuary and Mungkan Kandju National Park, and enters the Archer Bay in the Gulf of Carpentaria on the western side of the peninsula near the town of Aurukun along with the Watson River and the Ward River.

The catchment area for the Archer River is 13,820 square kilometres (5,336 sq mi). During the wet season between November and April, the river floods, replenishing over a million hectares of wetlands. The Coen River is a tributary of the Archer River.

The river remains in a natural state with very little development and just one small dam that supplies water for the town of Coen. On 3 April 2009, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced the Archer River would be included under the Wild Rivers Act, 2005 (Qld). The declaration means the river's fragile ecosystems will be protected by allowing only sustainable activities within its catchment.

The river has an average discharge of 7,010 gigalitres (9.169×109 cu yd) per annum.

Flora and fauna

Much of the river is bordered by fig-dominated gallery rainforests which provide habitat for animals such as the white-tailed rat, spotted cuscus and palm cockatoo. Toothless catfish are found in the river.

A total of 45 species of fish have been found in the river, including the glassfish, barred grunter, silver Cobbler, Fly-specked hardyhead, mouth almighty, goby, barramundi, oxeye herring, eastern rainbowfish, bony bream, gulf saratoga, giant gudgeon, freshwater longtom and seven-spot archerfish.


The traditional owners of the area are the Wik peoples, Kaantju and Wikampama peoples.

The river was named in 1865 by Francis Lascelles Jardine and Alexander Jardine during an expedition through the area. They named the river after the Archer brothers of Gracemere in Rockhampton. The river had probably been named Dubbelde Ree by Willem Jansz in 1606 and later named Coen River by Jan Carstensz in 1623 and then named Peach River by Robert Logan Jack in 1879.

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