Dr. Gresley Wakelin-King, Wakelin Associates, Melbourne; La Trobe University, Bundoora.  Email: gresley@wakelinassociates.com.au


In the Australian rangelands, limited water availability is a critical influence on ecosystems. Plants, animals, humans, and industries develop specialised strategies to minimise risk and maximise the benefit of the scarce resource. It’s not surprising then that the landforms that govern water distribution are fundamentally important to drylands ecosystems. Knowledge of landforms and landscape processes (geomorphology) can help towards better outcomes in land management, regulatory frameworks, infrastructure and rehabilitation design, condition assessments and planning for climate change. Despite this, geomorphological information is rarely available to rangelands stakeholders. Inland landscapes are widely under-researched, or the existing research is only accessible to the academic sector.

The rivers and landscapes of the Lake Eyre Basin (LEB) are the topic of a recent publication in the Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia. The article is the outcome of a decades-long research thread, combining field investigations, regional mapping, and a literature review that includes little-known or hard-to-access information. The result is the first basin-wide geomorphological study of the LEB, and the first catchment-scale baseline geomorphological study of any of its rivers as whole-of-landscape entities. The article’s information will be relevant beyond the LEB, since many of the rivers and landscapes described in the article are widespread across the Australian rangelands.


Gresley A. Wakelin-King (2022) Landscapes of the Lake Eyre Basin: the catchment-scale context that creates fluvial diversity. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, 146(1), 109-167.


The great news is that the LEB article is open access (free to download) and licenced under Create Commons 4 (able to be shared and distributed). Find it here: https://doi.org/10.1080/03721426.2021.2003514  



The Finke River near Brumby Waterhole in the Northern Territory. This is the view from a hilltop near the channel with vehicles on the opposite floodplain for scale. (Photo: Gresley Wakelin-King).