Human geography Population

The Clarence-Moreton bioregion population is difficult to estimate accurately, as it contains the fringes of major Queensland population centres of Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan and Toowoomba. Outside of these heavily populated fringes, the largest urban centres are Jimboomba (20,596 people), Grafton (19,070 people) and Lismore (16,156 people). The bioregion covers parts of at least ten local government areas, which in total have a total population of 713,000 (ABS, 2013a). The population within the boundaries of the Clarence-Moreton bioregion itself is estimated to be around 500,000 although this is not precise. Economic activity

The Clarence-Moreton bioregion is economically diverse, with a mixture of industries in each local government area. ‘Agriculture, forestry and fishing’ is the main employer in two of the local government areas (Lockyer Valley and Kyogle). The other local government areas in the bioregion have a mix of industries, with ‘health care and social assistance’ and ‘retail trade’ representing some of the more typical industries elsewhere (ABS, 2013b). Land use

The Australian Land Use and Management classification v7 (ABARES, 2010) identifies six primary classes of land use. Figure 9 shows the relative proportions of these in the Clarence-Moreton bioregion. This breakdown highlights that more than half of the bioregion is either natural or relatively natural environments. Dryland agriculture and plantations is almost one third of the bioregion, while irrigation is a much smaller area, although it is far more intensive. Table 4 provides a finer level of breakdown of these primary classes, and is presented in the numbered order of the ABARES classification. The largest component of the Clarence-Moreton bioregion is used as grazing of modified pastures and native vegetation.

In the New South Wales part of the Clarence-Moreton bioregion, the area can be divided into three broad types of region (DECCW, 2010c), which is helpful in conceptualisation of river basin structure in this state:

  1. upper catchment zone: being the upland areas and steeper country, with mixed broad-acre and forestry
  2. lower flood zone: being the areas along the lower Clarence and Richmond valleys, with highly productive sugarcane and dairy industries
  3. middle zone: being the coastal areas between the major river valleys, with small-scale operations on poor soils.

Figure 9

Figure 9 Primary classes of land use in the Clarence-Moreton bioregion

Source data: Australian Land Use and Management classification (ABARES, 2010)

Table 4 Australian Land Use and Management classification for the Clarence-Moreton bioregion

Land use


(percentage of total)



1.1 Nature conservation



1.2 Managed resource protection



1.3 Other minimal use



2.1 Grazing natural vegetation



2.2 Production forestry



3.1 Plantation forestry



3.2 Grazing modified pastures



3.3 Cropping



3.4 Perennial horticulture



3.5 Seasonal horticulture



3.6 Land in transition



4.2 Grazing irrigated modified pastures



4.3 Irrigated cropping



4.4 Irrigated perennial horticulture



4.5 Irrigated seasonal horticulture



5.1 Intensive horticulture



5.2 Intensive animal husbandry



5.3 Manufacturing and industrial



5.4 Residential and farm infrastructure



5.5 Services



5.6 Utilities



5.7 Transport and communication



5.8 Mining



5.9 Waste treatment and disposal



6.1 Lake



6.2 Reservoir/dam



6.3 River



6.4 Channel/aqueduct



6.5 Marsh/wetland



6.6 Estuary/coastal waters



Source data: ABARES (2010) Water storages

Water resource accounts for the Moreton Basin (Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management, 2011a) show levels of abstraction of between 1.88 and 2.2% (not including Pine Rivers as this is outside the bioregion). In the Logan Basin (Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management, 2011b), abstractions in the 2009–2011 period ranged between 0.34 and 4.07% of inflows.

The New South Wales part of the Clarence-Moreton bioregion has no large dams. The largest reservoir is Toonumbar Dam in the upper Richmond river basin, which is a minor ungated dam, with a storage of 11,000 ML. Surface water balance reporting is available for the Richmond River, which shows levels of water diversions (net water diverted under basic rights and under access licences) of between 0.02 and 0.33% of inflows in this river basin during 2010–2013 period (Statewater, 2013).

The largest water supply reservoir in the Clarence-Moreton bioregion is Lake Wivenhoe on the Brisbane River. Wivenhoe has a full supply capacity of 1,165,238 ML. This is a major water supply reservoir for Brisbane and south-east Queensland. The other storages in the Queensland part of the bioregion are around an order of magnitude smaller than Lake Wivenhoe, and include the recently constructed Wyaralong Dam in the Logan river basin (101,323 ML storage). The smaller dammed storages in the Queensland part of the bioregion include Lake Maroon (Logan river basin: 44,319 ML capacity), Lake Moogerah (Bremer river basin, 83,765 ML capacity), Lake Clarendon (Lockyer river basin, 24,276 ML capacity), and Lake Atkinson (Lockyer river basin, 30,401 ML capacity) (Seqwater, 2013). The locations of these storages are given in Section 1.1.5. Sites of Aboriginal significance

The Clarence-Moreton bioregion includes areas of Bundjalung and Yuggera nations. The New South Wales part of the Clarence-Moreton bioregion includes areas of the North Coast Aboriginal Land Council Region, which includes parts of the Grafton-Ngerrie, Yaegl, Baryulgil, Bogal, Jana Ngalee, Jubullum, Casino, Ngulingah, Jali, Gugin Gudduba, Tweed Byron, and Muli Muli Local Aboriginal Land Councils (New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, 2013).

As the Native Title Report 2008 (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, 2009) highlights, sites of Aboriginal significance exist across Australia and include a range of ecosystems (e.g. wetlands) and animal and plant species – some of which have been formally recognised through legislation or legal claims. Even so, as a Traditional Owner and Indigenous Engagement Support Officer from SEQ catchments asserts, it is important to note that ‘Aboriginal cultural heritage is evidence of Aboriginal occupation of an area, both pre- and post-European settlement – and can be found anywhere in the landscape in both cities and regional areas’ (Hounsell, no date).

Some sites of Aboriginal significance that have been formally listed in the bioregion include a combination of contact sites, earthen and stone arrangements, engravings and paintings, stone artefact scatters, story places and cultural sites (DATSIMA, 2013). These include five ‘declared Aboriginal Places’ in the New South Wales Atlas of Aboriginal Places: Miimiga Gaungan – St Marys Waterhole (sacred site), Casino Bora Ground (sacred site), Parrots Nest (sacred site), Cubawee (settlement), Ti Tree (Taylor’s) Lake (sacred site) (New South Wales Department of Environment and Heritage, 2013). In the Queensland part of the Clarence-Moreton bioregion, the Cultural Heritage Database is not publicly available.

From his efforts to map Aboriginal cultural landscapes in the Locker valley, Strong (2009, p. 14) notes that the Queensland Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003 recognises that archaeologically unsupported places may, in fact, have considerably more significance to Aboriginal people than more visible sites. He reports creation places, initiation places, camping places, gathering places, good food places and historical incident places as examples of significant places present in this area.

Sites of Aboriginal significance have also been the focus of regional natural resource management (NRM) group activities and partnerships. This includes efforts to rehabilitate important bio-cultural landscapes and ecological systems as well as mapping Aboriginal cultural landscapes and values in the region (e.g. NSW DNR, 2005a; 2005b, 2005c; Strong, 2009).

Last updated:
8 January 2018
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