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Murray River is the principal river of Australia and is the main stream of the Murray-Darling Basin. It flows some 1,570 miles (2,530 km) across southeastern Australia from the Snowy Mountains to the Indian Ocean.
See the fact file below for more information on the Murray River or alternatively, you can download our 18-page Murray River worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Although the Murray-Darling Basin has a total catchment area of some 409,835 square miles (1,061,469 square km), the Murray’s average annual discharge is only 31 cubic feet (0.89 cubic metre) per second, and in places, it has dried up on at least three occasions.
- The river rises on The Pilot (a mountain), near Mount Kosciuszko and in southeastern New South Wales. It flows west and northwest, passes through Hume Reservoir above Albury, and forms most of the boundary between New South Wales and Victoria.
- At Morgan, South Australia, it bends sharply southward to flow through Lake Alexandrina to Encounter Bay on the Great Australian Bight.
- The first Europeans to encounter the river were Hamilton Hume and William Hovell.
- They crossed the river where Albury now stands in 1824. Hume named it the Hume River after his father.
- In 1830, Captain Charles Sturt reached the river after travelling down its tributary, the Murrumbidgee River, and named it the Murray River in honor of the then British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, Sir George Murray, not realizing it was the same river that Hume and Hovell had encountered further upstream.
- Sturt continued down the remaining length of the Murray to finally reach Lake Alexandrina and the river’s mouth. The area of the Murray Mouth was explored more thoroughly by Captain Collet Barker in 1831.
- The first three settlers on the Murray River are known to have been James Collins Hawker (explorer and surveyor) along with E. J. Eyre (explorer and later Governor of Jamaica) and E. B. Scott (one-time superintendent of Yatala Labour Prison).
- Hawker is known to have sold his share in the Bungaree Station, which he founded with his brothers, and relocated alongside the Murray at a site near Moorundie.
- In 1852, Francis Cadell, in preparation for the launch of his steamer service, explored the river in a canvas boat, travelling 1,300 miles (2,100 km) downstream from Swan Hill.
- The Murray River (and associated tributaries) support a variety of river life adapted to its vagaries.
- This includes a variety of native fish such as the famous Murray cod, trout cod, golden perch, Macquarie perch, silver perch, eel-tailed catfish.
- Australian smelt, and western carp gudgeon, and other aquatic species like the Murray short-necked turtle, Murray River crayfish, broad-clawed yabbies, and the large clawed Macrobrachium shrimp, as well as aquatic species are more widely distributed through southeastern Australia.
- The Murray River also supports fringing corridors and forests of the river red gum.
- The health of the Murray River has declined significantly since European settlement, particularly due to river regulation, and much of its aquatic life including native fish are now declining, rare or endangered.
- Recent extreme droughts (2000–07) have put significant stress on river red gum forests, with mounting concern over their long-term survival.
- The Murray has also flooded on occasion, the most significant of which was the flood of 1956, which inundated many towns on the lower Murray and which lasted for up to six months.
- The Murray Mouth is the point at which the Murray River empties into the sea.
- The interaction between its shallow, shifting and variable currents and the open sea can be complex and unpredictable.
- During the peak period of Murray River commerce (roughly 1855 to 1920), it presented a major impediment to the passage of goods and produce between Adelaide and the Murray settlements, and many vessels foundered or were wrecked there.
- Since the early 2000s, dredging machines have operated at the Murray Mouth, moving sand from the channel to maintain a minimal flow from the sea and into the Coorong lagoon system.
ECONOMY AND WATER MANAGEMENT
- The Murray-Darling Basin, occupying about one-seventh of Australia’s area, is of immense economic significance, lying across the great wheat-sheep belt in its climatically most reliable section.
- During the second half of the 19th century, river shipping was of great importance, but, with growing competition from railways and demand for irrigation water (first used at Mildura in 1886), navigation practically ceased.
- The basin has by far Australia’s greatest area of irrigated crops and pastures, some 3.6 million acres (1.5 million hectares), more than 70 percent of the national total.
Murray River Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Murray River across 18 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Murray River worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Murray River which is the principal river of Australia and is the main stream of the Murray-Darling Basin. It flows some 1,570 miles (2,530 km) across southeastern Australia from the Snowy Mountains to the Indian Ocean.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Murray River Facts
- Info Check
- Murray Timeline
- Mapping the Murray River
- Word Bank
- River Art
- River vs Lake
- Slogan Making
- Famous Rivers
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Link will appear as Murray River Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 25, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.