River Past

Pioneers from many countries have created a new life with the waters of the Murray River following the arrival of Aborigines over thirty thousand years ago.

Paddle steamers gave way to rail and roads, ferries and bridges. New crops and technologies allowed the dry lands to bloom and have created the most efficient irrigated region in Australia. Many monuments and living museums bring our pioneering past to life. Discover our river past on a heritage themed itinerary, developed by our local experts.

Named by explorer Captain Charles Sturt in 1830, the Murray River played a crucial role in the development of modern Australia. Pioneers from many countries have created a new life with the waters of the Murray River following the arrival of Aborigines over thirty thousand years ago

In 1887, Canadian engineers and brothers George and Ben Chaffey established Australia’s first irrigation colony at Renmark. Encouraged by the success of Renmark’s fruit and wine industries, other irrigation settlements soon sprung up, including Berri (1910), Loxton (1940s) and Blanchetown, the site of the Murray’s first lock and weir, opened in 1922.

Paddle steamers ruled from the 1860’s to 1910 and gave way to rail and roads, ferries and bridges. New crops and technologies allowed the dry lands to bloom and have created the most efficient irrigated region in Australia. Many monuments and living museums bring our pioneering past to life.

View a full list and map of River Past attractions in the Riverland (PDF).
 

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