Tamar Estuary

AS Murray, 'Bay Tamar River', 1900 (Tasmaniana Library, SLT)

The Tamar Estuary is one of the major estuary systems of the southern Australian marine faunal region. It is the estuary of the North Esk and South Esk Rivers which combine at Launceston, over 63 km from Low Head, where it enters Bass Strait. It is tidal for its whole length, with a 3.5-metre tide occurring twice a day in Launceston. The general habitat structure of the estuary has been significantly altered since first European settlement. This has been brought about by dredging, the construction of jetties and the introduction of several alien species, such as rice grass and Pacific oysters. Nevertheless, the natural status of the estuary can be rated as good, with much less of the industrial development than is seen in many major estuaries around the world.

Further reading: J Branagan, The historic Tamar Valley, Launceston, [1994]; R Ferrall, The story of the port of Launceston, Launceston, 1983; B Smith, Tamar intertidal invertebrates, Launceston, 1995.

Brian J Smith