The Gulf of Carpentaria, situated in the north, is enclosed on the east by the projection of Cape York, and on the west by Arnheim Land, and forms the principal bay on the whole coast, measuring about 6° of long.
In the Gulf of Carpentaria are numerous islands, the largest bearing the Dutch name of Groote Eylandt.
Besides those mentioned, there are a number of smaller rivers discharging on the north coast, and on the west shore of the Gulf of Carpentaria the Roper river discharges itself into Limmen Bight.
Along the portion of the south shore of the Gulf of Carpentaria which belongs to Queensland and the east coast, many large rivers discharge their waters, amongst them the Norman, Flinders, Leichhardt, Albert and Gregory on the southern shore, and the Batavia, Archer, Coleman, Mitchell, Staaten and Gilbert on the eastern shore.
The rivers flowing into the Gulf of Carpentaria, as well as those in the Northern Territory, drain country which is subject to regular monsoonal rains, and have the general characteristics of sub-tropical rivers.
The Gulf of Carpentaria to the Murray river.
But they have been separated by the foundering of the Coral Sea and the Tasman Sea, which divided the continent of Australia from the islands of the Australasian festoon; and the foundering of the band across Australia, from the Gulf of Carpentaria, through western Queensland and western New South Wales, to the lower basin of the Murray, has separated the Archean areas of eastern and western Australia.
The Cretaceous period was initiated by the subsidence of a large area to the south of the Gulf of Carpentaria, whereby a Lower Cretaceous sea spread southward, across western Queensland, western New South Wales and the north-eastern districts of South Australia.
The north-west coast, particularly the portions north of Cambridge Gulf and the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria, are favoured with an annual visitation of the monsoon from December to March, penetrating as far as Soo m.
This element was introduced via Torres Strait, and spread down the Queensland coast to portions of the New South Wales littoral, and also round the Gulf of Carpentaria, but has never been able to obtain a hold in the more arid interior.
Among other early Dutch discoverers were Edel; Pool, in 1629, in the Guif of Carpentaria; Nuyts, in the " Gulde Zeepaard," along the southern coast, which he called, after himself, Nuyts Land; De Witt; and Pelsaert, in the " Batavia."
With a view to reach the Gulf of Carpentaria by a northerly course midway between Sturt's track to the west and Leichhardt's to the east.
Three of them, respectively commanded by Mr. Walker, Mr. Landsborough, and Mr. Norman, sailed to the north, where the latter two landed on the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria, while Mr. Walker marched inland from Rockhampton.
The Barcoo or Cooper's Creek and its tributary streams were traced from the Queensland mountains, holding a south-westerly course to Lake Eyre in South Australia; the Flinders, the Gilbert, the Gregory, and other northern rivers watering the country towards the Gulf of Carpentaria were also explored.
At Bellenden Ker, near Cairns, in North Queensland (diocese of Carpentaria), many natives have settled upon a reserve granted by government to the Anglican Church, and at another reserve, Fraser Island, the diocese of Brisbane has also undertaken successful work.
This ship entered the Gulf of Carpentaria, and sailed south as far as Cape Keerweer, or Turn-again.