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River Murray Timeline

River_Murray_timeline 
1800 - 1849 | 1850 - 1899 | 1900 - 1949 | 1950 - 1999 | 2000 - 

 

 1802

 

Matthew Flinders and Nicholas Baudin explore "unknown southern coast'; mouth of Murray not detected.

 

1824

 

16 November: Hamilton Hume, William Hovell and party become first Europeans to sight the River Murray [near Albury]; river named 'Hume'.

 

1829

 

Smallpox epidemic spreads from Port Jackson through Murray Valley to 'South Australia', adversely affecting Aboriginal population.

 

1830

 

Charles Sturt's expedition (1829-30) from New South Wales traces the Murrumbidgee River to its junction with the River Murray, and then follows the Murray, reaching the Murray Mouth.

23 January: Sturt names the river 'Murray' after Sir George Murray, Secretary of State for the Colonies.

 

1830-1860

 

Aboriginal population along Murray devastated by European introduced diseases including measles, smallpox and influenza.

 

1831

 

Collet Barker sent to examine Sturt's findings about the Murray; inspects Murray Mouth area, where is speared to death by Aboriginals.

 

1836

 

Foundation of Province of South Australia. Settlers arrive at Holdfast Bay and new colony of South Australia proclaimed by Governor John Hindmarsh.

William Light sends Boyle Travers Finniss to assess Encounter Bay for the future capital of South Australia.

 

1837

 

William Light's choice of Adelaide as site for capital of colony is confirmed at a public meeting.

 

1838-1842

 

Overlanders or drovers follow route along River Murray to take cattle and sheep to Adelaide.

 

1839

 

Settlers arrive at Encounter Bay; Aboriginal Mission established

First European River Murray settlement in SA at Murrundie [Moorundie] established by Edward John Eyre.

 
1840-1850 

Economic depression.

 

1840

 

Ferry across the River Murray begins operating at Wellington.

 

1841

 

Aboriginal peoples between Lake Bonney and Darling River combine to resist overlanders' invasion of their lands. Rufus River Massacre occurs when a police expedition led by Adelaide's Dr M Moorhouse leads to death of at least thirty Aboriginal people of Lake Victoria.

 

1843

 

John Ridley invents a stripper harvester.

 

 

 1850

 

Australian Colonies Government Act: colonial parliaments can impose customs duties on goods arriving from other colonies-effects on Murray River trade

 

1850s

 

Pastoral leases established along the River Murray.

 

Mid 1850s

 

Port Elliot breakwater, embankment and jetty

 

1851

 

Gold discovered in Victoria. Needs for goods at goldfields support development of river trade. Labour supply difficulties at Murray stations.

 

1852

 

First overland gold escort arrives in Adelaide

SA government offers prize for paddle-steamer navigation of the Murray to the Darling River junction.

 

1853

 

William Randell and Francis Cadell demonstrate that the River Murray is navigable by paddle-steamer and both receive payments from SA Government. Commercial navigation commences.

March: Randell's Mary Ann is the first paddle-steamer to travel on the Murray; sails up the river from Mannum, reaching above the North-West Bend.

August: Cadell navigates Lady Augusta up the River Murray from Murray Mouth to Swan Hill; Randell 'races' with Cadell.

Goolwa becomes main 'downstream' port on the lower Murray and is major South Australian port until Morgan-Port Adelaide railway completed.

Mannum becomes a port.

Snagging begins to improve navigability of the river.

Timber cutting along river banks for fuel supplies and boat building.

River Murray flag first used.

 

1854

 

Australia's first public railway (horse-operated) opened between Goolwa and Port Elliot

 

1855

 

Edwards settled at place now known as Murray Bridge - popular location to 'swim' stock across river.

Blanchetown established.

 

1859

 

Point McLeay Mission Station [renamed Raukkan] established by Aborigines' Friends' Association.

 

1860

 

South Australia's first reservoir built at Thorndon Park.

 

1861

 

Telegraph lines link Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane

 

1863

 

Intercolonial Conference on navigation and management of River Murray; representatives from SA, NSW, Victoria

 

1864

 

Goolwa-Port Elliot railway extended to safer port of Victor Harbor

 

1870

 

Murray floods.

 

1872

 

Overland telegraph lines completed between Adelaide and Darwin

 

1876

 

Stump jump plough invented by Robert Smith enables large areas of mallee to be used for crops.

 

1878

 

Morgan linked by rail to Port Adelaide; replaces Goolwa as main 'bottom end' port.

 

1879

 

First road bridge across the Murray in SA opened at Edwards' Crossing (Mobilong, later Murray Bridge).

 

1881

 

First swamp areas of River Murray reclaimed near Wellington for dairying

 

1886

 

Railway across river at Murray Bridge; reaches Victorian border in 1886. Murray Bridge becomes main river port below Morgan

 

1887

 

First irrigation settlement in Australia established at Renmark by Chaffey Brothers.

SA Royal Commission on River Murray to investigate issues of irrigation and navigation.

Adelaide to Melbourne railway opens.

 

1889

 

Bridge over the Hawkesbury River, New South Wales, completes railway network linking Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, though with different railway gauges.

 

1890-1894

 

Economic depression.

 

1891

 

National Australasian Convention, held in Sydney, agrees to adopt the name 'Commonwealth of Australia' and adopts a draft Constitution

 

1893

 

Corowa Conference for Australian federation supports abolition of customs duties.

SA Village Settlement Act in response to the 1890s depression.

Chaffey Brothers scheme fails during depression; Renmark Irrigation Trust formed

 

1894

 

Village Settlement Scheme established in Riverland-eleven communal settlements formed at Murtho, Lyrup, Pyap, New Residence, Moorook, Kingston, Holder, Waikerie, Ramco, Gillen and New Era. Most fail within a few years, with Lyrup continuing to survive.

Willow planting begins on riverbanks to assist in navigation of the river.

 

1895-1902

 

Prolonged drought leads to Corowa Water Conference in 1902.

 

1897

 

Australasian Federal Convention sessions in Adelaide and Sydney-River Murray management discussed. SA delegates PM Glynn and JH Gordon vocal in discussion about Murray.

First community-run hotel in the British Empire established at Renmark.

 

1898

 

Australasian Federal Convention agrees on amended draft Constitution.

David Shearer, agricultural machinery manufacturer at Mannum, designs and builds Australia's first steam-powered car.

 

1899

 

Boer War begins in South Africa; colonial troops embark to support British forces.

 

 

 1901

 

The Commonwealth of Australia inaugurated on 1 January.

Free trade established between States.

 

1902

 

Corowa Water Conference.

Interstate Royal Commission on waters of River Murray for purpose of irrigation, navigation and water supply.

 

1904

 

SA Government begins draining of Lower Murray wetlands near Murray Bridge, Mannum and Wellington for irrigation agriculture.

 

1906

 

Murray floods in South Australia.

 

1907

 

Development of dried fruits industries at Renmark and Mildura; Australian Dried Fruits Association formed by grower associations from both towns.

 

1908

 

SA Government begins to establish irrigated fruit blocks in Riverland. Kingston, Waikerie, Moorook, Ramco and Holder (former village settlements) reorganised.

 

1910

 

Berri established as irrigation settlement.

South Australian Water Authority established.

 

1912

 

Capt EN Johnston of US Army Corps of Engineers employed by SA Government to prepare plan for series of locks and weirs to improve navigation of River Murray.

 

1913

 

Construction of Lock 1 at Blanchetown begins.

First Murraylands railway opens: Tailem Bend to Paringa.

 

1914

 

Beginning of World War I: Britain declares war on Germany and the countries of the Empire follow.

Severe drought 1914-1915.

End of most commercial navigation on Murray-Darling system.

 

1915

 

 

River Murray Waters Agreement on management and sharing of waters of the River Murray signed by the governments of Australia, NSW, Victoria and SA, providing for the construction of a number of storages, weirs and locks.

Returned Soldiers' Settlement Act.

 

1917

 

The River Murray Commission established to put the River Murray Waters Agreement into effect, particularly to ensure that each state receives its agreed share of the Murray's water.

Murray floods.

 

1918

 

World War I ends.

Cobdogla established as irrigation settlement.

 

1919

 

Soldier Settlement Bill passed in South Australia; soldier settlement at Kingston, Waikerie, Berri, Cadell, Chaffey (Ral Ral), Renmark, Barmera.

 

1922

 

British Empire Settlement Act passed by Commonwealth Government to encourage British immigrants and settle rural lands in Australia.

First lock and weir completed on River Murray at Blanchetown.

 

1925

 

United Aborigines' Mission established at Swan Reach.

Railway bridge opened at Murray Bridge.

 

1929

 

Collapse of the stock market in New York-beginning of 'The Great Depression'.

Engineering and Water Supply Department established in SA.

 

1931

 

Major flooding of the Murray.

 

1934

 

River Murray Waters Agreement amended; five barrages to be built near Murray Mouth to prevent seawater entering river system during periods of low river flow.

 

1935

 

First stage of Snowy Mountains Scheme completed

 

1937

 

Mount Bold Reservoir in Adelaide Hills opens, with major impact on the water supply to South Australia: Adelaide's water storage capacity is almost doubled

 

1939

 

World War II: Australia joins Britain in declaration of war on Germany

Women take over much work in Riverland when men join armed forces

 

1940

 

Murray Mouth barrages completed to prevent seawater from entering Lower Murray and Lake Alexandrina.

 

1941

 

After Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, Australia declares war on Japan

Loveday Internment Camps near Barmera hold Italian, German and Japanese men deemed to be a threat to Australian security while the nation is at war.

 

1944

 

Morgan-Whyalla pipeline completed -supplies Whyalla, Port Pirie, Port Augusta.

 

1944-1945

 

Severe drought.

 

1945

 

World War II ends; United Nations established at conference in San Francisco

 

1946-mid1950s

 

Loxton and Cooltong soldier settlement schemes.

 

1947

 

Major immigration program: assisted passage for British migrants, and first 'displaced persons' arrive after World War Two.

 

1948

 

War Service Land Settlement Scheme -soldier settlement irrigation schemes in Loxton, and Cooltong Division of Chaffey area.

 

1949

 

Construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme begins in southern NSW.

Morgan-Whyalla pipeline extended to Woomera.

 

 

 1951

 

Assisted migration arrangements with Italy, then Germany, Greece and Austria

 

1954

 

Mannum-Adelaide pipeline begins providing the first water from the River Murray for Adelaide reservoirs.

 

1956

 

Severe flooding of River Murray for several months, with widespread damage.

 

1960s-

 

Increasing awareness of escalating problems in Murray-Darling Basin-reports from various state authorities and River Murray Commission.

 

1960

 

Chowilla dam site selected.

 

1963

 

June: Paddle steamer PS Marion sails down River Murray from Berri to Mannum in what was thought to be her last voyage-in 1990s restored as a passenger steamer, and recommissioned in 1994.

 

1964

 

April: Blanchetown Bridge opens

 

1966

 

Waters from the Snowy-Murray Development diverted west to the River Murray catchment for the first time.

 

1967

 

Construction of Chowilla dam ceases due to construction costs and concerns about salinity.

Murray Valley Salinity Investigation conducted for River Murray Commission.

 

1969

 

Swan Reach-Stockwell pipeline completed, with water taken to Warren Reservoir, north of Adelaide.

 

1970

 

Tailem Bend-Keith pipeline completed.

 

1973

 

Murray Bridge-Onkaparinga pipeline completed.

 

1974

 

Snowy Mountains Scheme completed-provides irrigation water and generates hydro-electricity.

 

1979

 

Swanport Bridge [near Murray Bridge] completed at end of South Eastern Freeway-longest road bridge across the Murray.

 

1981

 

30 April: Murray Mouth closes during drought period and is reopened with earth-moving equipment.

 

1982

 

 

The River Murray Waters Agreement amended so the River Murray Commission can take environmental problems, including water quality issues, into account.

Point McLeay renamed Raukkan.

 

1982-1983

 

Severe drought.

 

1985

 

Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council established for providing the policy and direction to implement the Murray-Darling Basin Initiative, when ministers from SA, NSW, Victoria and Commonwealth meet in Adelaide to discuss resource and environmental problems of Murray-Darling Basin.

 

1987

 

Murray-Darling Basin Agreement for management of water, land and natural resources across the Basin.

 

1989

 

Australia-wide environmental strategy launched by Prime Minister at Wentworth at Murray-Darling junction.

Interstate environmental agreement: Salinity and Drainage Strategy.

 

1990

 

Great Artesian Basin Bore Rehabilitation Program commenced.

 

1992

 

New Murray-Darling Basin Agreement signed. Murray-Darling Basin Commission established to replace the former River Murray Commission.

 

1993

 

National Dryland Salinity Research, Development & Extension Program established jointly by the Commonwealth and State Governments.

Murray-Darling Basin Act signed.

 

1994

 

CoAG (Council of Australian Governments) Water Reform Framework established.

 

1995

 

NSW Water Reform Package launched.

Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council agrees to interim cap on water diversions.

Federal and State governments sign Competition Policy Agreement which includes policy on water trading.

 

1996

 

Commonwealth $1.5 billion Natural Heritage Trust established (to 2007) in response to water quality crisis. State and Territory governments to match federal funding.

Queensland signs Murray-Darling Basin Agreement.

 

1997

 

Permanent cap on the volume of water which can be diverted from Murray-Darling Basin rivers by SA, NSW and Victoria.

National Land and Water Resources Audit commences as major project under Natural Heritage Trust.

 

1998

 

ACT signs Murray-Darling Basin Agreement.

 

 

 2000

 

 

Commonwealth government $700 million salinity package over 7 years introduced-funding to state governments dependant on meeting federal targets for land clearing and water quality.

 

2001-2003

 

Murray-Darling Basin Commission Sustainable Rivers Audit pilot project

 

2002-2003

 

Threatened closure of Murray Mouth - SA government project to remove sand and develop management policy.

 

2003

 

2003 United Nations Association of Australia National Water Conference.

SA legislation to control development along SA's section of River Murray.

SA Government $30 levy for Save the River Murray fund.

 

2004

 

Federal and South Australian governments announce a package of measures aimed at reducing salinity, improving water quality and protecting biodiversity in the Murray-Darling region under the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality and National Heritage Trust.

 

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