Avon River

Western Australia’s Most Important River

The Avon River is termed the Swan River from the confluence of the Avon and the Woorooloo Brook. The Avon/Swan is arguably Western Australia’s most important watercourse. Historically, economically and politically.

The Source of the Avon River

The hydrological source of the Avon River is the Waleellemining Brook near the East Yornaning Nature Reserve, 29 kilometres north-east of Narrogin and 29 kilometres south-west of Yealering.

Reference to maps indicates that Waleellemining Brook starts in the East Yornaning Nature Reserve, and that is the watershed, but the lie of land suggests that it starts in a farmer’s paddock off Commodine Road, Wickepin, slightly to the north-west of the Reserve. The source is at 32°44’9.66″S 117°22’35.86″E.

The watercourse is first termed the Avon at the Waleellemining Brook’s confluence with Cuneenying Brook, eight kilometres south west of Yealering.

From here the waters flow NW, then northwards through the towns of Beverley, York, Northam and Toodyay, then westwards, to a confluence with Wooroloo Brook at which point the river is termed the Swan.

Naming of the Avon River

Ensign Robert Dale of the 63rd Regiment first sighted the Avon River on 7 August 1830 during one of his preliminary explorations eastwards of the Swan River settlement, however, the first use of this name by Dale was in his journal of 28 October 1830 during a subsequent visit to the region when he was accompanied by Governor Stirling. He then explored further after Stirling’s return to Perth. It is probable that Stirling chose the name, although the choice may have been made prior to the Governor’s visit as it was used by James Henty who carried out his own examination of the region in October 1830.

Determining the Course of the Avon River

During further explorations in September and October 1831, in the company of G.F. Moore, Dale concluded that a connection between the Avon and Lennard Brook was probable.

This assumption was shown to be suspect when Moore followed the Swan River upstream for some distance in January 1834 and suggested a connection between the Avon and Swan rivers. This connection was finally confirmed when R.H. Bland and others traced the river’s course from York to Upper Swan in May 1834. More information about this here.

Length of the Avon River

Confluence Yealering 8.7 8.7 Outfall of Lake Yealering
Yealering Nonaling 8.0 16.7 Outfall of Lake Nonaling
Nonaling Boyermucking 13.6 30.3 Nature Reserve
Boyermucking Aldersyde 39.6 69.9 Aldersyde North Road
Aldersyde Yenyenning 24.9 94.8 Outfall of Yenyenning Lakes
Yenyenning Avon River South 18.1 112.9 Confluence
Avon River South Beverley 21.8 134.7 Bridge
Beverley Dale River 11.7 146.4 Confluence
Dale River York 24.0 170.4 Glebe Street Bridge
York Northam 39.3 209.7 Northam Weir
Northam Katrine 15.6 225.3 Bridge
Katrine Extract Weir 10.1 235.4 Weir
Extract Weir Toodyay 4.1 239.5 Duidgee Park
Toodyay West Toodyay 6.0 245.5 Bridge
West Toodyay Cobbler Pool 15.7 261.2 Bottom of Cobbler Pool
Cobbler Pool Emu Falls 8.2 269.4 Washing Machine
Emu Falls Walyunga 26.9 296.3 Woorooloo Brook

Determining the Source of the Avon River.

Text by Kim Epton
500 words
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