MACKIE RIVER – the Mackie River is a tributary of the Avon, rising in the central wheatbelt area south east of York and flowing for about 44km in a north north westerly direction to enter the Avon about 7km above York. The river was named by Surveyor General John Septimus Roe in 1836 after William Henry Mackie (1799-1860), an early settler who was part owner of 7,000 acres on the Avon River and had a distinguished civil career in Western Australia as Chairman of Quarter Sessions, MLC, Advocate General and Commissioner of the Civil Court.
MAITLAND RIVER – the Maitland River is one of the coastal Pilbara rivers, rising south of Karratha and flowing generally NE then NW for about 92km into the Indian Ocean south west of Dampier. The river was named by the surveyor/explorer Francis T. Gregory, leader of the North West Exploring Expedition, in May 1861. Gregory named it after Maitland Brown (1843-1905), a volunteer with the expedition, and later, a prominent pastoralist in the Geraldton and Gascoyne region.
MARGARET RIVER – there are two Margaret Rivers in WA, in the Kimberley and the south west. The south western Margaret River rises in the Whicher range and flows generally westwards for about 65km before discharging into the Indian Ocean near Cape Mentelle and west of the town of Margaret River. The river is believed to have been named by John Garrett Bussell, an early settler and explorer of the region, and who crossed it several times in 1831. It is possibly named after Margaret Whicher, a friend of the Bussell’s from the Portsmouth area in England.
MARGARET RIVER – this river, a tributary of the Fitzroy River, is located in the Kimberley region, rising in the King Leopold Ranges west of Halls Creek. The 335km long river was named by the surveyor/explorer Alexander Forrest in 1879 during his exploration of the Kimberley region. He named it after his sister-in-law, Mrs Margaret Elvire Forrest, the wife of his brother, surveyor (and later Premier) John Forrest.
MARGARET RIVER NORTH – this branch of the Margaret River was named due to it being a northern branch of the Margaret River. It is about 25km long, rising in the Whicher Range and joining the Margaret River near “The Rapids”.
MARY RIVER – located in the central Kimberley region, this river was named by surveyor H.F. Johnston, leader of the 1884 Kimberley Survey Expedition in 1884. Johnston probably named it after his mother, Mary Johnston, nee Clifton, (1822-1893), the daughter of Marshall Waller Clifton and Elinor Bell. The river is a 100km long tributary of the Margaret River
MATILDA RIVER – the Matilda is a 4km long tributary of the Lunenburgh River in the Darling Range east of Brunswick Junction. It was explored by Marshall Waller Clifton in 1841, and is believed to be named after the Princess Sophia Matilda (1777-1848) the twelfth child and fifth daughter of King George III. The Sophia River is a short tributary of the Matilda.
MAY RIVER – the May River is a distributary of the Lennard River in the west Kimberley, commencing where the Lennard splits into the May and Meda Rivers near Kimberley Downs homestead. It flows for about 69km into Stokes Bay north east of Derby. The May was named by the Kimberley pioneer Julius Brockman in 1881 during a private expedition in search of grazing land north of the Fitzroy River. He named it after Mary Matilda Lucille (May) Thomson (1858-1946) of Brookhampton (near Bridgetown), a granddaughter of WA’s first Surveyor Genaral, John Septimus Roe.
McDERMOTT RIVER – the McDermott River is a shallow slow flowing river in the Swan/Avon catchment, named in 2006 following research and community consultation by the Mt Marshall Natural Resource Management Committee. It begins south of Beacon and trends southerly for 92km to join the “Yilgarn River” (administrative name) near Nungarin. It is named after Captain Marshall McDermott, an early settler to the Swan River Colony.
McRAE RIVER – the McRae River in the west Kimberley was named by R.J. Sholl, Government Resident of the Camden Harbour settlement, during an exploration of the district in 1865. He named it after Alexander Joseph McRae (1842-1888), a member of the Camden Harbour Pastoral Association, a group that sailed from Melbourne and took part in the ill-fated attempt to settle the Camden Harbour region. The river is a 35km long tributary of the Glenelg River and rises in the Whateley Range.
MEDA RIVER – the Meda River is one of the two distributaries of the Lennard in the west Kimberley (the other is the May River), commencing where the Lennard splits into two channels and flowing about 88km into Stokes Bay north east of Derby. The river was named by the Kimberley pioneer G.Julius Brockman during a private expedition in 1881 after the Admiralty Surveying Vessel HMS 'Meda', a vessel that was engaged in hydrographic surveys in the vicinity under Staff Commander W.E. Archdeacon RN and located the mouth of this river in 1880.
MEERUP RIVER – the Meerup is 21km long westerly flowing river in the D’Entrecasteaux National Park west of Northcliffe. It flows into the Southern Ocean south of the Warren River. The name is Aboriginal, of unknown meaning, and has been shown on maps since 1877. This river was crossed at its mouth by Lieutenant William Preston RN in 1831 but not named at that time. It was shown as 'Bowles River' on maps in 1833 and 1839. This name was probably put forward by Governor James Stirling and may have been named in honour of Captain Sir William Bowles (1780-1869), later to become Admiral of the Fleet.
MIDDLETON RIVER – the Middleton River is 29km long tributary of the sale River in the west Kimberley, and was named by the explorer Trevarton C. Sholl in 1865. Sholl named it after H.B.A. Middleton, Deputy Assistant Comptroller General of the Convict Establishment in Perth, one of Sholl's superiors when he was earlier employed with the Convict Establishment.
MINILYA RIVER – the Minilya River is located in the Gascoyne region, and flows generally westwards for about 210km into Lake MacLeod. The name is of Aboriginal origin of unknown meaning, and was first recorded by Charles Brockman and George Hamersley in 1876.
MINILYA RIVER SOUTH – this south branch of the Minilya is about 50km long, and was first recorded by surveyor W.A. Saw when he traversed part of its course in 1882.
MINNIE RIVER – the Minnie River is a 33km long anabranch of the Fitzroy located close to the mouth of the river, south of Derby. The name was first recorded by Hamlet Cornish and George Paterson of the Murray River Squatting Company in 1881, but it is not known after whom it is named.
MITCHELL RIVER – there are two Mitchell Rivers in WA, with this one in the east Kimberley being the most significant. It is about 117km long, and flows generally north-westwards and northwards into Walmsley Bay near Port Warrender. It is also known for the Mitchell Falls located on it, a 3 tiered series of sheer drops with a combined height of approx 60-80 metres. The river was named by surveyor W R Easton during surveys in July 1921 after Sir James Mitchell (1866-1951), Premier of WA and Minister for Lands at the time of Easton' survey expedition.
MITCHELL RIVER – this river, the shorter of the two Mitchell Rivers in WA, is a 23km long tributary of the Hay River. It rises near Mt Lindesay, and flows south easterly to join the Hay north of Wilson Inlet. It is not known who named the river, but it has been shown on maps since the 1940’s, and is believed to be named in honour of Sir James Mitchell (1866-1951), Premier of WA and Minister for Lands.
MOORE RIVER - the Moore River, a winter flowing watercourse, rises near Walebing and Miling and flows about 193km into the Indian ocean at Guilderton. The river was named by Private Patrick Heffron (Hefferon) of the 63rd Regiment in May 1836 after George Fletcher Moore, the leader of the expedition that discovered the river. In his journal Moore wrote “Handing the flask to Hefferon to qualify his draught, he said, 'Sir, you are the first to see this river, here I think, you have a right to name it; I'll christen it, if you please, Sir, the "River Moore" and so he made his libation, but not on the ground. Whether this christening will be considered good is not for me to say”. George Fletcher Moore (1798-1863) was an early settler at Millendon on the Swan River and was Advocate General of Western Australia.
MOORE RIVER EAST – this eastern branch of the Moore River flows southerly through New Norcia before heading west to join the Moore near Mogumber.
MORAN RIVER – the Moran River is located in the west Kimberley, and is a 101km long tributary of the Roe River. It was named by surveyor F.S.Brockman, leader of the 1901 N.W. Kimberley Exploration Expedition after Charles J. Moran (1868-1936) who was appointed Minister for Lands in February 1901.
MORGAN RIVER – the Morgan River was named by the Nomenclature Advisory Committee in 1958 after surveyor John F. Morgan, leader of the 1954 Kimberley Survey & Mapping Expedition that reported details of this river. The Morgan rises in the Couchman Range and flows in a generally northerly and easterly direction for about 106kms into the Carson River. John F Morgan (1923- )joined the Department of Lands & Surveys in 1942. He was Surveyor General from 1968 until 1987 when the position was abolished.
MORTLOCK RIVER – the Mortlock River was named in the 1830’s after surveyor Henry Mortlock Ommanney (1817-1880), who traversed this watercourse in 1835 during an excursion eastward of Northam. The river is about 91km long, rising north west of Quairading and flowing into the Avon near Northam.
MORTLOCK RIVER EAST - Named because it is the eastern branch of the Mortlock, this river rises in Lake Dowerin, and flows generally south east and west for 130km into the Mortlock River. For much of its course the river is poorly defined in salt flats and small salt lakes.
MORTLOCK RIVER NORTH - Named by Alfred Hillman in 1846 because it is a northern tributary of the Mortlock River, this river commences from Lake Hinds near Wongan Hills and flows about 140km generally southwards to its junction with the Mortlock River near Northam.
MOWEN RIVER – this river is a small 8km long tributary of the Margaret River located east of the town of Margaret River. It is not known who named the river, the name first appearing on maps in 1839. It was possibly named by John Garrett Bussell on one of his trips from Augusta to the Vasse. Bussell is also reported to have been known as "Mowen" by Aborigines in the area. In his book, The Colony of Western Australia" by Nathaniel Ogle, 1839, the author records this river as the "Morven". This is the name of a mythical Gaelic kingdom in the epic poems of Ossian. It is possible that the rv in this name was mistaken as a w.
MUNDURRAL RIVER – the Mundurral is one of a number of Aboriginal named rivers in the west Kimberley recorded by the surveyor Tom Cleave, during a search to find a suitable stock route between Yampi Sound and Derby in July 1937. The river is a 8km long tributary of the Yuraddagi River.
MUNGLINUP RIVER – the Munglinup River is a south coastal river about 42km long, rising north of Munglinup and entering the Southern Ocean at Oldfield Estuary. The name is Aboriginal, being recorded by surveyor C.D. Price in 1875-76. Munglinup, a local Aboriginal place name, was used as the name for a sheep station established by the Dempsters in the 1860s.
MURCHISON RIVER – at 820km long the Murchison River is the second longest river in the state after the Gascoyne (which is 838km long). It was named by the explorer George Grey in 1839 when he sighted its mouth following the wrecking of his boats in the area. The Murchison River rises in the Robinson Ranges and flows generally west-south-westerly into the Indian Ocean at Kalbarri. It is named after Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871), a noted geologist who was then the Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society (England) and was elected as President of that society in 1843 and later, in 1855, appointed Director General of the Geological Society in Britain. The Roderick and Impey rivers are tributaries of the Murchison.
MURRAY RIVER - The Murray River, one of the larger south western rivers, is formed by the junction of the Hotham and Williams Rivers to the west of Mount Saddleback and flows 134km, passing through Pinjarra before falling into Peel Inlet at Yunderup. It was probably named by Governor James Stirling in 1829 after Sir George Murray (1772-1846), then Secretary of State for the Colonial Office in London. Major Lockyer at Albany reported that a river was entered and traced for '20 miles from the sea' by a party of sealers in 1826 or 1827, and in October 1829 Dr T.B. Wilson was advised that “another river, named the Murray, had been recently discovered”. The river was explored and referred to by name by Dr Alexander Collie and Lieutenant William Preston in November 1829.