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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Murray River: 13 Hidden Gems to Discover

Murray River is located in South Australia exactly at the South Australian border. This is Australia’s longest river. It is extended to a 2508 km area. This river tribute to six Australian rivers.

The tribute rivers of this river are the Goulburn river, London river, Mitta river, Swampy plains river, Campaspe river, Darling river, Murrumbidgee river, and Kiewa river.

Murray river is located in New South Wales city. It has a proper Murray river channel. The Murray river flows through various cities in South Australia. Murray river strikes various vast freshwater lakes.

Murray and Darling rivers form a Murray-Darling basin. This basin covers an approx one-seventh area of Australia. Murray river forms a border between Victoria and New South Wales.

Murray valley Australia’s inland plains are very vast. They have major river systems, river red gum forests, river crossings, smaller Goulburn river channels, and aided irrigation pumping systems.

Murray River is located at the eastern edge of the Southern Queensland area. The aquatic and marine life of Murray river is vibrant. It has various types of plants and animal species.

1. General Introduction Of Murray River

The Murray river arises or originated from the Australian alps. The route or the river’s natural flow of Murray river is from the western side of the highest mountain in Australia. From here the Murray river flow towards the northwest meanders crossing Australia’s island.

This river forms the two parts or divides new south wales and victoria’s new south wales as it directly flows into south Australian basin countries. In another word, we can say that river transport began from the western side of the highest mountainside and ended at the South Australian border. Finally, in the end, the Murray river meets lake Alexandrina.

After lake Alexandria, this river is divided into several channels all over Hindmarsh island along with Mundoo Island. There on Hindmarsh island one lagoon water from the beautiful Coorong joined it.

Then moving ahead this river meets the Australian bight. The water flow at Murray’s mouth is very slow in speed chance Murray’s mouth is considered to be the most fertile part of the Murray River.

2. History of Murray River

  • Murray river was first seen by two European people. They were William Hovell and Hamilton Hume. So, Hume named it as Hume river because of his father’s name 1824.
  • Later, in 1830, Captain Charles Sturt named the river Murray river in the name of the secretary of British colonies Sir George Murray. After that Captain Charles Sturt travelled to the mouth of the Murray river.
  • Then the mouth of this river was explored by Captain Collet Barker.
  • In 1852, Francis Cadell researched this river because he wanted to launch steamers in the river. He carries pleasure boats for the same.
  • Later, a government zoologist researched the birds and mammals of this river. He explored the area of the Murray and Darlings rivers. He studies the upriver ports, west-flowing water, north-south running fault, and natural dam.

3. Geography of Murray River

Now let’s talk about the geography of the Murray river in detail. This river is composed and contributes 3,375 kilometers to the darling river system that further drained itself in lake victoria new south wales. Murray river carries a very little amount of water in it in other parts of the world.

Ti contributes its water up to thirty steamers natural lake. Murray river is having high river flow in starting then it slows down. Many fallen trees were submerged in the Murray river due to its high flow in the starting.

Murray river dries completely in the summer season and at the time or condition of drought. Many times a sandbar forms at the same river’s mouth and stops its flow. This river is very much promoted by the people to conserve its water during winter seasons.

Destroying aquatic plants is strictly prohibited in Murray river. Murray short-necked turtles, dead gum trees, and famous river red gum forests are worldwide recognized and are very rare to find in other places.

Murray river’s waters are a key source of spring floods or in other words for many people.

Murray River
Photo by clearviewstock on Unlim

4. River Life of Murray River

The river provides support to various vagaries. These include many species of flora and fauna including Murray cod, silver perch, Australian smelt, golden perch, trout, Murray crayfish, Macrobrachium shrimpy, common yabbies, platypus, water rats, and many more. This river also provides support to river red gum forests and fingering corridors.

The condition of this river significantly declined continuously due to the great and advanced settlement of the European population. Another reason for the decline of this river is the original winter and spring flood.

River’s headwaters are very enriched in everything before this settlement. Many towns including swan hill, Edward river channel, lake Mulwala, and hume river inundated several towns on the lower reach of this great river in South Australia.

Lake Alexandrina and many sub-tributaries of the Murray rivers are very enriched in terms of minerals, flora, and fauna. It’s very simple to introduce fish species in the Murray river due to its advanced presence of minerals and vitamins.

Murray River
Photo by pictureguy on Unlim

5. Murray Mouth

Murray’s mouth is the place where this river empties itself into the ocean. The interaction between the shallow currents and shifting continuously is very unpredictable. The uses of the Murray river are as follows:

  • This river is also used as a means of transport to send goods and products from one place to another in an effective way.
  • This Murray river is the source of food and many products for the people belonging from southeastern Australia, southern Queensland, inland Victoria, swan hill, south wales, and new south wales.

Due to the high flow of this River, its mouth gets accumulated with sand and silts. Then the governing bodies take two steps to overcome the accumulation of sand and silt.

  • In the year 2000, dredging machines are established permanently at the mouth of the Murray river to keep it clean and help maintain the regular flow of fresh water.
  • Another way to clean the mouth of the Murray river is by placing dead gum trees at its mouth.

6. Mythology about the Murray River

Murray river is one of the major rivers and hence many meths are related to it, in respect of its origin, function, and many other parameters. According to the population of lake Alexandrina, the Murray river was made or created by a great ancestor, Nagrundi who respectfully persuade the Ponde, the great Murray cod.

It is thought that the chase was created and originated in the inner part of new south wales. The great Ngurundi pursued the fish on his raft which was made up of red gums and Nagrundi was continuously launching sharp spears at his target fish.

But the pond was the very sharp and wily pray for Nagrundi, the pond craved a weaving path, carving the Murray rivers number of tributaries.

Nagrundi was continuously behind the pond and he keeps on changing the rafts as the rafts are getting damaged due to river flow. At Kobathatang, Burundi finally got lucky and could catch his prey Pondy.

However, as the spear get stuck in the pond tail, Pondy’s launch was with great speed that it drove Nagrundu to the place named Peindjalang which was situated near the Tailem Bend. But unfortunately, pondy was able to escape from there, and this chasing between pondy and Ngrundi get a place for a very long time.

This story of hunting and pursuing a Murray cod that ultimately craved the Murray persists in several forms and is very famous among people.

7. River Transport of Murray River

Let’s discuss the initiation of river transport in the Murray River in detail.

  • At first, shipping in the Murray river was not possible because of the absence of the estuary.
  • In the 19th century, this river supported a substantial trade for commercial using the shallow draft paddle steamers, the very first trip that was being made by two boats on the route from south Australia in the year 1853.
  • Francis Cadell headed the lady Augusta, and they reached swan hill with another Mary Ann who was captained by William Randell they reached Moama.
  • In the year 1855, the steamer carried the gold mining products and reached Albury. In the whole route, the Echuca was the main and important turn-around point.
  • After that, the steamboat system was welcomed by pastoralists because of the very shortage of transport.
  • By the end of the year 1860, a dozen of steamers started operating in the high water season in this river and its tributaries.
  • In the year 1864 when the railway reached Echuca the bulk of the wool clip was transported from the river to Echuca and then finally to the south of Melbourne.
Murray River
Photo by clearviewstock on Unlim

7.01 River crossings

Murray River is a big issue for land-based traveling. It acts as a barrier to traveling and trading. So, the people decided to build ports on the banks of this river. So, they developed some ports on the sides of the river.

They also build bridges and ferries to cross the river. The construction work of the first bridge was completed in the year 1869. It was known as Murray bridge or Edward Crossing. After that, they build the Murray river road bridge and Murray bridge tolls. They were abolished in the year 1961.

8. Water Storage and Irrigation of Murray River

In the beginning when farmers started irrigation from the Murray river then the plants which need less water died due to the excess water. This was causing a problem in the 1850s. In the year 1887, a high-volume plant was constructed in Mildura for a proper supply of water.

The construction of pumping stations near river promoted the farming near those areas. One of the well-known irrigation areas was Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area.

In the year 1915, an agreement was signed in between Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. In this agreement, they decided on the irrigation of water from the Murray River.

8.1 Reservoirs

In total there are total four reservoirs which are made along with this river. The four reservoirs name is Lake Hume which is located near Albury-Wodonga, these reservoirs was made in the year 1936.

The second reservoir is Lake Muwala which is located at Yarrawonga this reservoir was made in the year 1936. 

Murray river water is also received from the Snowy Mountains Scheme which is a very complex pipeline and dam system.

In addition, the new reservoir project was assigned at Chowilla Dam in south Australia, but later this project was canceled due to its heavy cost and salinity level increment.

8.2 Barrages

There are several barrages that are constructed near the Murray river. The main motive to construct these barrages was to stop the seawater from entering in Murray river because this seawater makes the Murray river water salty which later becomes unfit for consumption and use.

The following barrages are constructed near the Murray river.

  • Goolwa barrage with approx a length of 632 meters.

  • The second one is the Mundoo Channel barrage with an almost length of 800 meters.

  • The third one is Boundary Creek barrage with approx length of 243 meters.

  • The fourth one is the Ewe Island barrage with a length of 853 meters

  • The sixth one is Tauwitchere Barrage with a length of 3.6 kilometers.

8.3 Locks

Every dam has several locks, these locks are made to control the flow of the water. There are certain locks present on the Murray river also. Lock 1 is near Blanchetown and was made in the year 1922. In total on Murray river, there is a total of 13 locks that were proposed and completed.

Lock 1 to 11 are present downstream of Mildura. Lock fifteen is present at Euston and lock twenty-six is present at Torrumbarry. The last lock, lock number fifteen was completed in the year 1934.

Murray River
Photo by WittkePhotos on Unlim

9. River Murray Agreement

Water is a very essential part of one’s life. Hence this mesial source is available to all, the Murray river basin agreement was signed. According to this agreement, the Murray river water is shared in most of the parts of the southern basin. This Murray river agreement is having several elements. These elements are as follows.

  • Critical human water needs- According to this the water should be available to each and every person.

  • The demand of the system- Proper management of the water and less wastage of water through seepage and evaporation.

  • Delivery of water- The MDBA is the organization that is responsible for the distribution of water.

  • Aeests- It includes the construction and maintenance of locks that are present on the Murray River.

  • Water sharing– It involves the sharing of water canals and reservoirs.

Murray river
Photo by JacksonStock on Unlim

10. Original Murray river channel

The original Murray river channel directly falls behind the rendered abandoned. Nowadays it is known by the name green gully. On the southern side, the Goulburn river is dammed which is used to create a man-made lake there.

In today’s scenario, this green gully is an empty space due to lack of water, but in olden times, this place was full of fresh and sweet water.

11. Vegetation of Murray River

Murray river is highly rich in vegetation. It has many different types of herbs, shrubs, trees, plants, bushes, grasses, and creepers. You will also find many aquatic plant species here. The Murray Darling Basin has many different varieties of plants. There are many different ecosystems.

This diversification of plant species helps the basin. It keeps the water clean and filtered. It also plays a major role in decreasing the amount of salt in water and soil. It helps in reducing bank erosion. With the help of cyclization, it provides nutrients to the different ecosystems.

It also protects the soil from water and wind erosion. The vegetation contains riverine forests, floodplain woodlands, shrublands, grasslands, sedge lands, bushlands, and herb lands. These vegetation areas make different ecosystems and they have different wildlife.

They contain plant species like yapunyah, Burgan, river Cooba, river Willow, silver wattle, golden goosefoot, old man saltbush, Dillon bush, black roly-poly, nitre goosefoot, Warrego grass, spiny mud grass, Cumbungi, spike rush, and many more.

12. Wildlife of Murray River

Murray river has very rich marine life. You will see many different species of mammals, fish, insects, birds, reptiles, rodents, small animals, farm animals, and exotic animals. These animals live in different ecosystems.

If we talk about the numerical figures, then we conclude that it has 98 species of birds, 45 different species of fishes, more than 10 species of lizards, 53 varieties of frogs, 3 species of turtles, more than 46 species of snakes, and 16 species of endangered mammals.

The native birds of this river are parrots, Australian pelicans, cockatoos, turquoise parrots, red-tailed black cockatoos, superb fairywren, and many more. You will also see Burton’s legless lizard, blue tongue lizard, Bynoe’s lizard, Dwark skink, shingle back lizard, red-bellied black snakes, notorious pythons, copperheads, and so on.

You will also see many colorful fishes in the basin. These fishes are rainbowfish, carp, kingfishers, eel, catfish, herring, smelts, cod, and many more. You can enjoy wildlife photography here.

Murray River
Photo by Pakhnyushchyy on Unlim

13. Fun Things to Do at Murray River

There are many things which you can enjoy here. There are many forests, basins, rivers, grasslands, brushlands, herb lands, and woodlands. You can do many adventurous things to enjoy your trip.

You can do hiking, camping, walking, birdwatching, forest stay, wildlife photography, and many more things. You can also enjoy waterskiing, golfing, paddle steamers, canoeing, kayaking, house boating, fishing, and swimming. You can also play various watersports here. 

You can visit various historical sites, landmarks, museums, heritage locations, national parks, galleries, romantic gateways,  gardens, national reserves, sightseeing, conservation parks, river cruises, and many natural attractions. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q 1. Which mountain is the main source of water for the Murray river?

Ans. The Australian Alps mountain ranges are the main source of water for this river.

Q 2. Why Murray river is so famous?

Ans. The Murray River is so famous because it is the longest navigable river all over the world. The mouth of this river is in South Australia. It flows from three main cities Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. It is around 2508 km long.

Q 3. What are the two major uses of the water of the Murray river?

Ans. 75% water of the Murray river is used for primary production. It includes the wineries, piggeries, diaries, water used for livestock, irrigation of crops, and agricultural lands.

Q 4. Does Murray river have flora and fauna?

Ans. Murray river has a wide range of flora and fauna. There are river-red gums, grasses, herbs, and river oaks. You will also see many species of fish, including Murray cod, jacky winter, Australian pelican, wedge-tailed eagle, and many more animals and birds.

Q 5. What are the reasons for the contamination of the Murray river?

Ans. There are various reasons behind the contamination of the Murray River. It is due to the growth of blue-green algal bloom. The water of this river has high salinity and turbidity currently.

Sometimes, the quality of water is degraded because of natural phenomena such as drought, flood, global warming, and high or low temperatures.

Final Note

We have discussed the Murray River in detail. This river is one of the longest rivers in Australia. It flows from New South Wales, South Australia, and Victoria. This river is very rich in vegetation and wildlife.

There are many rivers which tribute to this river. Along with the Darling River, it makes a basin which is known as the Murray darling basin. Some other rivers that tribute to it are the Campaspe River, London River, Kiewa River, Mitta Mitta River, Darling River, Murrumbidgee River, and Swampy plains river.

Murray river, South Australia
Photo by kwest from Shutterstock

This river also has an irrigation system that helps in farming, agriculture, wineries, diaries, livestock, and many more things. This river is the main source of water for three cities. There are many ecosystems near the river and basin.

Now, the quality of water of this river is deteriorating due to the blue-green algal bloom. It is needed to be controlled. The government is taking some strict actions against it. they are also launching some schemes to control water deterioration.

Read more with us.

Priyanshi Sharma
Priyanshi Sharma
I am an avid traveller. I have visited many tourist places and many beautiful spots across the world. I have done my Bachelor's in Biotechnology. I love to read J. R. R. Tolkiens and Charles Dickens books. I like to write my thoughts and travel experience so that people can know about the place. I like to do research about new places.

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