A rock-chute, on the Cockburn River, near Tamworth
|Etymology||In honour of George Cockburn|
|State||New South Wales|
|Region||IBRA: New England Tablelands|
|⁃ location||near Limbri|
|⁃ elevation||493 m (1,617 ft)|
|Mouth||confluence with the Peel River|
|west of Nemingha|
|384 m (1,260 ft)|
|Length||33.6 km (20.9 mi)|
|⁃ left||Mulla Mulla Creek, Swamp Oak Creek|
|⁃ right||Jamiesons Creek, Moonbi Creek|
The river rises in the west slopes of Moonbi Range, near Limbri and then flows generally west south west, joined by four minor tributaries, towards its confluence with the Peel River at Nemingha; dropping 109 metres (358 ft) over its course of 33 kilometres (21 mi).
The river was first encountered by European explorers on 4 September 1818 during an expedition led by the Surveyor-General of New South Wales, John Oxley, who named the river in honour of Admiral Sir George Cockburn.
From upstream to downstream, the Cockburn River flows through or near the localities of Limbri, Moonbi, Kootingal, Tintinhull and Nemingha. A section of the Main North railway line runs along the valley of the Cockburn River.
The Cockburn River is also one of the fastest flowing rivers in the southern hemisphere. It is home to fish species including catfish, yellow belly, and European carp; the last have decimated the native fish stocks to the point that they are getting harder to find. There are small areas of irrigated cropping along the banks of the river and the surrounding hills are mostly used for grazing.
- Oxley, John (1820). Journals of Two Expeditions into the Interior of New South Wales, undertaken by order of the British Government in the Years 1817-18. London: John Murray. p. 286.
- "Cockburn River". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 18 January 2013.
- "Map of Cockburn River". Bonzle.com. Retrieved 18 January 2013.