The Murray River

The Murray River is, both historically and economically, the preeminent river in Australia. It would be comparable to the Mississippi River in the United States, as far as being both a key medium of transportation and an important part of the iconography of a region and era. As with the Mississippi, the paddle wheeler was the iconic mode of transportation, important in one age and charmingly preserved in the present.

Also like the Mississippi, the Murray both waters and drains a region far greater than that which is in close proximity to its shores. Combined with the tributary Darling River, it constitutes a river system of tremendous economic importance. The Murray-Darling Basin is home to nearly 70 percent of Australia’s irrigated land. The Murray is both shorter than the Mississippi and has a lesser volume of water, but its importance to its homeland is as great or greater.

I had departed Sydney and was following the Murray westward. It was outside of Mildura, Victoria, that I saw the paddle wheeler below. It was a lovely reminder of how both Australia and the United States did much of their growing up around the same time.

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3 Comments

Filed under Australia, Book, Geography, History, Nature, Travel

3 responses to “The Murray River

  1. Nicely written up Cynthia. I totally agree with your comments here. When we returned from our second posting in the USA, our kids were 9 and 6. One of the things I wanted to do with them was take them to the Murray and we did a year or so later. It’s a river in trouble these with drought and water being hived off before it hits the sea but governments are finally trying to do something about it. One of the problems is that too many states have their finger in the Murray Darling pie.

    • Yes — there have been problems and discussions about the problems for at least a couple of decades now. Everyone wants water, but there isn’t enough water for unlimited growth. Too bad there isn’t some way to corral the water currently swamping the north and use it to keep the south from drying up. Always a good reminder that, no matter how clever we think we are, we really aren’t in control.

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