Territory Stories

Land resources of the Victoria River District



Land resources of the Victoria River District


Napier, Diane E; Hill, Jason V; Northern Territory. Department of Land Resource Management. Land Resource Assessment Branch


E-Publications; E-Books; PublicationNT; Technical Report Number 19/2012




Victoria River


This Technical Report describes a land resource survey. It was mapped at a survey scale of 1:100 000 and includes a description of the landforms, soils and vegetation for 237 land units. The surveyed area of 74 502km2 is located 700km south west of Darwin and covers 23 major land holdings in the Victoria River District, (VRD) Northern Territory. The objectives of the project were to map, describe and evaluate the pastoral lands of the VRD and provide this information to land managers, industry, government and other relevant stakeholders.


Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT)

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. Previous Mapping; 3. Survey Collection Methodology and Data Collection; 4. Lithology and Stratigraphy; 5. Landform; 6. Soil Classification; 7. Vegetation; 8. Land Evaluation; 9. Soil Erosion; 10. Land Unit Descriptions; References; Appendices x 10. Tables x 49. Figures x 10.




Soils -- Northern Territory -- Victoria River; Land use -- Northern Territory -- Victoria River; Geology -- Northern Territory -- Victoria River

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication



Technical Report Number 19/2012


vii, 363 pages : colour illustrations and maps ; 30 cm.

File type





Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



Related links

http://www.ntlis.nt.gov.au/metadata/export_data?type=html&metadata_id=2DBCB771205706B6E040CD9B0F274EFE; http://www.ntlis.nt.gov.au/metadata/export_data?type=html&metadata_id=2DBCB771205706B6E040CD9B0F274EFE

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36 of the Victoria River DistrictLAND RESOURCES 36 6.11. Soil Families Soil families were originally established in the Ord-Victoria River region during the first land system survey (Stewart et al., 1970). Detailed information collected during this project has established nine new soil families. These replace the soil families in Stewart et al. (1970). The sixteen families are presented in Table 7.8. The nine most extensive soil families including their morphology, chemical and physical properties are presented in Appendix 2. A summary of these soils across land units is presented in Appendix 10. Variability will always exist within soil families. For example the Kirkimbie soil can range from being very shallow (Kirkimbie I) to moderately deep (Kirkimbie II). The key soil morphological properties are the abundant ironstone and the ferricrete parent material. The Montejinni soil also has a shallow (Montejinni I) and deep phase (Montejinni II) and to some extent the Antrim soil can also have a deeper phase but are generally shallow. The Baines soil can appear similar to the Bunda soil however climatic differences and geomorphic settings have resulted in disparities between the two. The Bunda soil in the southern drier region is saline at depth. The Baines soils are also situated on an active northern floodplain with substantial areas of the plain being inundated during some Wet seasons (Brocklehurst et al., 1998). The southern Bunda soils are situated on older relict floodplains and are similar to the downs plains of the Barkly Tableland. Clear correlation between the Australian Soil Classification and soil families does not always exist. Table 7.8 indicates that a soil family such as Antrim can correspond to several soil orders in the Australian Soil Classification. The key feature of this family is its shallow and red generally structured nature and its occurrence on basalt. This report establishes soil families which could also be applied to the upper parts of the Ord Catchment and more generally the East Kimberley region of Western Australia (WA). Soil families outside the Ord Irrigation Area have not been established in WA because soil investigations in WA have centred on the lower Ord Valley. The soil families already established across the Ivanhoe, Weaber, Keep and Knox Creek plains include phases of the Cununurra, Keep and Aquitaine soil families previously described by Aldrick and Moody (1977), Aldrick et al., (1990), Dixon (1996), Schoknecht and Grose (1996) and Smolinski et al. (2011). In the NT a reconnaissance soil investigation across the West Baines River plains (Brocklehurst et al 1998) found that soils such as the West Baines soil family (Appendix 2: VRD 11.4), may be similar to those on the Ord and Keep River Plains and possibly upper Keep River Plains on Newry Station. The extent and similarities of these soils would require detailed further investigation. 6.12. Soil Chemical and Physical Properties Investigations into the chemical and physical properties of the soils in the region have been published in a number of reports and research papers. The first investigations focused on soil erosion and the chemical and physical properties that could affect erosion risk. Such work was undertaken on Humbert River Station (Wood, 1979) and much of the central and southern part of the district (Condon, 1986). An investigation in the East Kimberley undertaken by CSIRO published data on a few soils in the north west of the region on Newry and Auvergne (Isbell et. al., 1986). The most recent study was undertaken by the (then) Northern Territory Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries with assistance from the (then) Conservation Commission in 1995 - 1998. This pastoral based land type carrying capacity project required soil properties such as bulk density to quantify the carrying capacity of major grazing landscapes in the region. The results have been published in a research thesis (Cobiac, 2006).

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