Located in western Queensland’s Channel Country, the Landsat images time-lapsed in Ground Truth – Fire, Flood and Human Endeavour present the Birdsville and Diamantina River area as shown as sets of true and false colour.

The effect of water on the landscape can be followed through time, with rapid flooding events reconnecting isolated waterholes and intricate channels for a brief period.

Water appears bright blue against the orange, red and grey floodplains. Sand dunes can be seen throughout the images, as elongated golden-brown features.

Areas of green show where vegetation is actively growing amongst the channels.

The Diamantina flows from north to south, like the other rivers of the Channel Country. The floodplains and waterholes hosted a network of trade routes and pathways for the Aboriginal peoples of the region.

In major floods, waters from the Diamantina can flow all the way to Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre in South Australia.


Date captured: 09/08/1993

This false colour Landsat image was captured on 9 August 1993 during a dry period. There is no water present in the Diamantina River, nor in any of the clay and salt pans in the surrounds.

False colour – bands 5 (shortwave infrared), 4 (near infrared), 2 (visible green)

True colour – bands 3 (visible red) 2 (visible green), 1 (visible blue)

Date captured: 21/08/2000

This false colour Landsat image was captured on 21 August 2000. Recent rainfall has promoted the vigorous growth of vegetation, seen as the bright green areas around the Diamantina River.

Birdsville and Diamantina River 2010

Date captured: 18/03/2010

This false colour Landsat image was captured on 18 March 2010 while the Diamantina River was in flood. The floodwaters can be seen at differing depths, with deeper water appearing dark blue and shallower areas seen as aqua blue. Claypans amongst the sand dunes and channels are also filled with water.

See the whole story

Visit one of our upcoming  Ground Truth – Fire, Flood and Human Endeavour  exhibitions to immersere yourself in 30 years of changes to the Birdsville and Diamantina River.

The Ground Truth immersive media exhibitions bring to life satellite imagery of the Greater Brisbane Region, the Channel Country and Cape York to show us how humans and nature are changing the environment we live in.

Step forwards and backwards through time and sound for an interactive journey through some of Queensland’s most cyclical and rapidly changing landscapes.

Queensland Government