Big Wet out West brings joy to channel country

Suellen Hinde - Queensland Editor |

Western Queensland is “jumping out of its skin” according to the locals after significant rain has brought the place alive.

Heavy downpours have seen the Georgina River – the most north west of rivers that flow into Queensland’s Channel Country – go into major flood with Boulia Shire Mayor Ric Britton saying, “it’s about four mile across at the moment”.

“There has been more rain in January than all of last year,” Boulia Shire Mayor Ric Britton said.

“In January we received 140 mm for the month and we only got 121 mm for the whole year in 2021.

“The place is jumping out of its skin.

“All that water flows into the Diamantina (river) and makes it way to Lake Eyre.”

View from plane above Glenormiston Station in western Queensland
The Georgina River is flooding across Glenormiston station in Western Queensland

Mr Britton said Boulia – the “capital” of the Channel Country – the region hoped for follow up rains, but this was the best start to the year since 2009. 

“This good rain will help us get ready for the next drought,” he said.

With large swaths of the state still drought declared, the Queensland Government has warned “the [western] region will experience more time in drought”.

Mega-droughts – droughts that last two decades or longer – are tipped to increase thanks to climate change, according to research by University of Queensland.

Ryan Gurney, Manager of Glenormiston station, a 1.7million acre cattle farm closest to the border, says the river peaked last week at about “six or seven mile across”.

Mr Gurney took some shots of the station on board the muster helicopter as the water spread out and moved across the flats last week.

“All of the flats you see where under water when it hit its peak,” he said.

“It certainly brings good news, but it also means we will need the roads fixed again because it’s a bit of a mess.”

The Donohue Highway which links Boulia to Alice Springs in Central Australia was currently under water.

Rain in western Queensland
Looking across Glenormiston station in Western Queensland and the Donohue Highway lies beneath