Mary River

The lifeblood of the region

The Mary River has been the lifeblood of South East Queensland towns as far South as the Sunshine Coast Hinterland since the 1900’s and has a catchment area of 9595km2.

The river is unique in that it flows from south to north with its headwaters near the Sunshine Coast hinterland and its mouth at River Heads just south of Hervey Bay.

The Mary River, together with tributaries Susan and Bengtson Rivers, make up the incredible river system that flows across the region to meet at River Heads and flow into the Great Sandy Straits.

The area was inhabited by the Butchulla people for generations and has been known by many names over its time, with the Aborigines calling the river Booie, Moonaboola, Numabulla or Mooraboocoola. It was named the Wide Bay River until 1848, when Governor Fitzroy renamed the river in honour of his wife, Lady Mary Fitzroy.

The Mary River Port was the second busiest port in Australia until 1900 due to the large amounts of European settlers making the region their home. However, by the 1970’s and 80’s the amount of boats using the Mary River for trade had slowed down and instead small fishing villages were thriving up and down its banks and tributaries.

Today the Mary River is still a haven for sailors searching for sheltered waters, recreational fishermen and day cruisers admiring the magnificent turn of the century homes that line the river banks.

The river is teaming with wildlife and is the perfect place for boating and fishing, the locals celebrate the river each year with “Riverfest” a festival showcasing everything that living on this mighty river has to offer.