Geographically the Balonne is an extension of the Condamine River and starts near Glenmorgan. It flows through gently undulating country before reaching an expansive flat plain where it splits and forms several smaller rivers including the Culgoa. The Culgoa River twists and turns across the floodplain and through coolabah woodlands before flowing into the Darling River between the towns of Brewarrina and Bourke.
The 123 000km2 catchment of the Culgoa – Balonne Rivers is semiͲarid and experiences a highly variable rainfall. The rainfall is reflected in the rivers’ flows which often cease for long periods of time, sometimes for up to a few years. During such prolonged droughts only very large waterholes continue to hold water. When the rains are good, the whole floodplain may turn into a slow flowing river around a metre deep.
These rivers are significant to the Bigambul, Kooma, Muruwari, Gungarri, Mandandanjii and Gamilaroi people who have traditionally lived, fished and told stories about these rivers and the life they support.
(Source: Sarac, Z., Sewell, H., Ringwood, G., Baker, E. and Nichols, S. (2012). Culgoa - Balonne: Talking fish, making connections with the rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin. Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Canberra.)