Joseph Bonaparte Gulf

Joseph Bonaparte Gulf is a large body of water off the coast of the Northern Territory and Western Australia and part of the Timor Sea. It was named after Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon and King of Naples (1806-1808) and then Spain (1808-1813) by French explorer and naturalist Nicholas Baudin in 1803.[2] It is also often referred to in Australia as the "Bonaparte Gulf".

Joseph Bonaparte Gulf
A satellite image of Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, from NASA - Cambridge Gulf is at the bottom of the gulf
LocationNorthwest coast of Australia, between Western Australia and Northern Territory
Coordinates14°06′S 128°50′E
Part ofTimor Sea
Primary inflowsKeep River, Victoria River, Cambridge Gulf


The Keep River and Victoria River drain into the gulf in the Northern Territory, the former close to the Western Australia - Northern Territory border.

The Ord River, Pentecost River, Durack River, King River and the Forrest River drain into the Cambridge Gulf, another gulf within the southern part of the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf.

The Legune (Joseph Bonaparte Bay) Important Bird Area lies at the south-eastern end of the gulf.[3] The Bonaparte Basin is a large sedimentary basin underlying the gulf and a large part of the Timor Sea, deriving its name from the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf, which has several producing and potential oilfields.

The traditional owners of the areas around the gulf are the Menhdheyangal people.[4]


  1. "Joseph Bonaparte Gulf". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  2. "Academic Universalium".
  3. "IBA: Legune (Joseph Bonaparte Bay)". Birdata. Birds Australia. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2011.
  4. "Ausanthrop - Australian Aboriginal tribal database". 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  • Web page of about the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf (in Spanish).
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