Skip links and keyboard navigation

Normanby catchment story

The catchment stories present a story using real maps that can be interrogated, zoomed in and moved to explore the area in more detail. They are used to take users through multiple maps, images and videos to provide engaging, in-depth information.

Quick facts

This map journal
is part of a series of catchment stories prepared for Queensland.

Download catchment boundary KML

Normanby catchment story – Economic values

Select from the tabs below

Historically, land use and associated economic development has been quite diverse within the Normanby Catchment. Far North Queensland has been a location where people saw themselves as pioneers as they moved away from more populated areas and experimented with new industries and opportunities.

Main image. Outstation camp at Crocodile Waterhole on Springvale Station - provided by Robbie Burns ©Queensland Government.

Land use

Currently the major land uses* include conservation and natural areas and grazing on native pastures. There are small areas of farming (see below), residential (remote communities, rural and urban), services, transport (airstrips), utilities (electricity substation) and mining. A range of different land use types combine to make up the land use of the Normanby Catchment.

Teak plantations in the foreground and new banana field in the background - provided by Jeff Shellberg.

Tourism, associated with the conservation and natural environments of the catchment, is important to the local economy. Large numbers of people visit the national parks of the catchment, particularly to see the spectacular wildlife such as crocodiles and waterbirds concentrating in the wetlands of Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land, CYPAL) during the dry season.

The small areas of farming are also important to the local economy. The Lakeland area supports cropping (production from dryland agriculture and plantations such as bananas), together with irrigated cropping, irrigated perennial horticulture, plantation forestry (teak). Cropping and horticulture relies on capture of overland flow in rural water storages and groundwater extraction for irrigation, and excessive use could pose a threat to environmental flows and ecosystems (see Threats tab).

Abandoned mines (gold and other metals) are scattered across the catchment, including near the headwaters of Beattie and Shepherd creeks and the Jack River. There are several small operating mines/quarries, including near the upper parts of Jam Tin Creek, and the West Normanby and Mosman rivers, the lower parts of the Kennedy River.

Some areas within Springvale Station for example, have been highly modified by a history of clearing, grazing and, in a few selected locations, mining. These changes to the landscape started in the 1800s and have continued to varying degrees until the property was purchased by the Queensland Government in 2016 to become part of State’s protected area estate.

Erosion associated with clearing for grazing - provided by Robbie Burns ©Queensland Government.

Main image. Cattle station in Lakeland - provided by Jeff Shellberg.

Linked images. Lakeland banana farms and central pivot crop circles; teak plantations (Tectona grandis) in Lakeland; Honey Dam and Dump Dam in Lakeland - provided by Jeff Shellberg. Old farming machinery and infrastructure on Springvale Station - provided by Robbie Burns ©Queensland Government. *Land use is provided by the Queensland Land Use Mapping Program (QLUMP), which maps and assesses land use patterns and changes across the state, according to the Australian Land Use and Management Classification. QLUMP is part of the Australian Collaborative Land Use and Management Program (ACLUMP), coordinated by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences. ACLUMP promotes nationally consistent land use information. Government, the private sector, research agencies and community groups use the QLUMP datasets for natural resource assessment, monitoring and planning (see links at the end of this map journal for further information regarding Australian Land Use and Management Classification).


Because of its remoteness and harsh physical environment, the catchment has a very small population and limited infrastructure, however it does include relatively long stretches of linear infrastructure such as roads, tracks and fence lines.

There are few paved roads across the catchment. Heavy rainfall and regular flooding of roads and other infrastructure have impacted on the economic viability of industries to transport their resources and produce to southern markets.

Mulligan Highway - provided by Robbie Burns ©Queensland Government.

Numerous unsealed roads and tracks run through the catchment. These dirt tracks and roads can influence water flow and fish passage during low flow events, however most structures are over-topped and do not pose a barrier during medium to high flow, particularly during the annual wet season.

Linear infrastructure such as roads, tracks, fence lines and construction borrow pits, can be a major source of sediment. It can also introduce nutrients and other potential contaminants, together with weeds, feral animals and people into remote and relatively pristine or undisturbed ecosystems (see Threats tab).*

Dams and weirs modify the natural water flow patterns, by holding water, which in turn affects how much water flows through the system. The catchment has several rural water storages, mostly in association with farming around Lakeland.

Crocodile Dam on Springvale Station - provided by Robbie Burns ©Queensland Government.

Main image. Honey Dam and other infrastructure - provided by Jeff Shellberg.

Linked images. Mulligan Highway; track running through grey alluvial clay; Springvale fence line - provided by Robbie Burns ©Queensland Government.

*Impact of Main and Council Roads on Water Quality on Cape York Peninsula and the Great Barrier Reef (Shellberg and Brooks undated) - see links at end of map journal for further information.

Last updated: 13 October 2017

This page should be cited as:

Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (2017) Normanby catchment story – Economic values, WetlandInfo website, accessed 18 March 2024. Available at:

Queensland Government
WetlandInfo   —   Department of Environment, Science and Innovation