Bulloo Catchment


The Bulloo catchment extends north almost to Isisford and south to just beyond Milparinka in New South Wales.  The catchment covers a total area of some 74 900 square kilometres, with the bulk of the area (approximately 74%) contained in Queensland (DNR, 2000).  The following information refers to this Queensland portion only.


Our Region - Bulloo Catchment Map


Major River: Bulloo River
Tributaries: Blackwater, Winbin and Gumbo Gumbo Creeks

The Bulloo catchment is an internally draining system located between the Lake Eyre and Murray Darling Basins. 


Three local governments are responsible for administering the Queensland portion of the Bulloo catchment; the Shire Councils of Blackall Tambo Regional, Quilpie and Bulloo.

The urban areas of Adavale, Quilpie and Thargomindah are contained within the Queensland section of the Bulloo catchment.  The major urban centre in the Bulloo catchment is Quilpie.


Mulga (Acacia aneura) shrubland is the predominant vegetation type in the Bulloo catchment.  Mulga communities can range from open scrubland to tall, open shrublands, predominantly growing on red earths.  There are also shallow red earth and lithosol residuals within the catchment that support a selection of bastard mulga, lancewood and Bendee (Boyland 1974 cited in DNR 2000).

The channels of the Bulloo River and its associated streams are fringed by a mixture of gidgee woodland to tall open shrubland in the upper reaches of the catchment and eucalypt low open woodland to open forest in the middle and lower reaches.  Dominant eucalypt species in the catchment are river red gum, coolabah and poplar box (DNR 2000).

In the lower reaches of the catchment the Bulloo River is dominated by a large lateral dune system which is vegetated by wetland communities (DNR 2000).


The Bulloo catchment is in an area extremely variable rainfall.  Annual average rainfall is in the range of 150 millimetres in the south-west corner to more than 500 millimetres in the headwaters of the Bulloo River.  Over 70% of the area receives less than 300 millimetres per annum (DNR 2000).


Grazing, both beef cattle and sheep for wool production, is the predominant industry in the catchment.  Irrigated crops are almost non-existent.  Opal mining in the catchment has made a significant contribution to the local economy (DNR 2000).  The area is also an important source of natural gas, with the Gilmore Gas Field located some 60 kilometres north-east of Adavale (DNR 2000).


The following weeds and pests have been identified as current and potential problems in the Bulloo catchment:

Exotic Weeds: Mesquite (Proposis flexuosa), Parkinsonia (Parkinsonia aculeate)

Animal Pests: Feral pig, fox, feral cat, rabbits, feral goat, dingoes, European carp (DNR 2000).


An array of significant fauna and flora species have been listed for the Bulloo catchment under either Commonwealth or State legislation.  Of particular interest in the Bulloo catchment are:



 Little Pied Bat

Rhaphidospora bonneyana 

 Fierce Snake

 Xerothamnella parvifolia

 Grey Grasswren

 Grevillea nematophylla

 Plains Rat

 Glinus orygioides

 Western Quoll


 Greater Bilby



There are five wetlands within the Bulloo Catchment listed on A Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (3rd Edition) (Commonwealth of Australia 2001): Bulloo Lake, Lake Bullawarra, Nooyeah Downs Swamps Aggregation, Bulloo Overflow, Lake Altibouka.