Pentecost River

Course of the River

Most travellers will encounter the Pentecost River when driving the Gibb River Road or staying at El Questro. The ford below Home Valley Station provides one of the iconic images of the East Kimberley.

Naming of the River

Captain P.P. King showed the mouth of the Pentecost River on his chart after he explored Cambridge Gulf in 1820. However, he did not name it.

The Pentecost River was named by ‘Stumpy’ Michael Durack in 1882 during an expedition with John Pentecost and others to explore a then unknown portion of the Kimberley district before the Durack family took up pastoral stations there.

“The party followed the river until it dwindled into ranges to the south east, whereupon they named it the Pentacost and camped to consider their situation.”

John Pentecost (c1845-52 – >1938) F.R.G.S., was a surveyor and geologist to the expedition and, at the time, tutor to twenty-one year old Sydney Emmanuel who was also part of the expedition.

Although his name was spelled in various ways by others (a nephew who captained a Cunard cruise liner in the early 1900s spelled it ‘Penticost’ and the name used in correspondence by the Duracks was ‘Pentacost’) he used the form Pentecost. He had a son named Hugh.

The course of the Pentecost River was shown named on Staff Commander J.E. Coghlan’s chart of the survey he completed of Cambridge Gulf from August to October in 1884. However, it still appeared un-named on 1887 public plans and did not appear named until 1894.

LENGTH               118 kilometres
RANKING              29/109
SOURCE               Durack Ranges
SOURCE (A.M.G.)    378500 metres east 8185500 metres north (Zone 52)
FLOWS INTO       West Arm Cambridge Gulf
ENDPLACE           Twelve kilometres south-west of Wyndham
MOUTH (A.M.G.)     377000 metres east 8273000 metres north (Zone 52)
TRIBUTARIES        Chamberlain River, Salmond River, numerous named and un-named creeks
1:100,000 MAPS  Elgee 4465, Pentecost 4466
1:250,000 MAPS  Lissadell SE 52-2, Cambridge Gulf SD 52-14

Epton, Kim, Rivers of the Kimberley, Hesperian Press, Carlisle, 2000.