The Brisbane River is the longest river in the south east region of Queensland, Australia, and flows through the city of Brisbane, before emptying into Moreton Bay. John Oxley was the first European to explore the river who named it after the Governor of New South Wales, Thomas Brisbane in 1823. The penal colony of Moreton Bay later adopted the same name, eventually becoming the present city of Brisbane.
Early travellers along the waterway admired the natural beauty, abundant fish and rich vegetation along its banks. From 1862 the Brisbane River has been dredged for navigation purposes. The river served as an important carriageway between Brisbane and Ipswich before a railway linking the towns was built in 1875. By the late 1920s, water quality in the river had significantly deteriorated. The river contains excess nutrients, hydrocarbons, pesticides, bacteria and is murky.
The river travels from Mount Stanley. The river is dammed by the Wivenhoe Dam, forming Lake Wivenhoe, the main water supply for Brisbane. The waterway is a habitat for the rare Queensland lungfish, Brisbane River cod and bull sharks. The largest ship built on the river was the Robert Miller. The 66,000 tonne vessel became un-moored in the 1974 Brisbane flood. While not the highest experienced along the river since European settlement, this flood was the most damaging. Major floods also occurred in January 2011 and multiple times during 1893.
Extensive port facilities have been constructed on the Fisherman Islands, now known as the Port of Brisbane. There are 16 major bridges that cross the river. The Clem Jones Tunnel, opened in 2010, is the river's first underground crossing for road transport. The CityCat ferry service collects and delivers passengers along the inner-city reaches of the river.
Brisbane River's source is located in the Great Dividing Range, east of Kingaroy. It then makes its way south, past Mount Stanley, and townships including Moore and Toogoolawah before being joined by the Stanley River, just south of Somerset Dam.
The river runs from there into Lake Wivenhoe, created by the Wivenhoe Dam. Beyond the dam, the river meanders eastward, meeting the Bremer River near Ipswich, then making its way through Brisbane's western suburbs, including Jindalee, Indooroopilly and Toowong. The river is travelled upon by CityCats and other ferries in Brisbane, winding its way through the city centre.
Water from the highest point in the catchment has fallen from Mount Langley in the Conondale Range, 868 m above sea level. The Brisbane River then flows past wharves including Pinkenba Wharf and Portside Wharf, past Bulwer Island and Luggage Point through the Port of Brisbane and into southern Bramble Bay an embayment of Moreton Bay.
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