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Images of the River Murray mouth, 1949-2003
Title : Images of the River Murray mouth, 1949-2003 Images of the River Murray mouth, 1949-2003
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Creator : South Australia. Dept. for Environment and Heritage
Place Of Creation : Netley(S.Aust.)
Publisher : Dept. for Environment & Heritage
Date of creation : 1949-2003
Additional Creator : Eye in the Sky Imagery
Format : Photograph
Catalogue record
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Copyright :

These photos are held by the Department of Environment and Heritage, and reproduced with their permission. They may be printed or saved for personal research or study. Use for any other purpose requires written permission from the Department of Environment and Heritage and the State Library of South Australia. Further information may be found at Permission to publish.

Description :

Set of images of the Murray mouth taken in 1949, 1957, 1966, 1973,1981, 1988, 1995, 2001 and 2003. The 1949-2001 images are digital aerial photography and the 2003 file is a satellite image.

The images illustrate the dynamic nature of the Murray mouth area. Changes shown include the migration of the mouth westward along the coast, the growth of Bird Island, and variations in the width of the mouth - with the inlet completely choked by sand in 1981 and severely constricted in 2003.

These images have been sourced from Mapland, Department of Environment and Heritage, and formatted and geo-positioned (by South Australian company Eye in the Sky Imagery) to provide a comparison of the same area of the Murray mouth 1949-2003. However, blank areas (shown as solid black) will appear at the edges of some images.

European development of the River Murray, such as regulation, water diversion and construction of barrages that prevent tidal flow, has drastically reduced river flows and therefore the flow of water through the river's mouth. Early reports, surveys and historic aerial photography show significant changes in the location, size and shape of the Murray mouth since it was first surveyed in 1841 by WJ Pullen.

In 1981, for the first recoded time since European settlement, the river mouth was reduced to a trickle and finally closed completely by silting for a few months. Prolonged drought conditions, combined with heavy water usage and the effect of the river barrages led to reduced water flow, a build up of sediment, and the closure of the mouth. Bulldozers had to be brought in to dredge a channel to the sea.

Towards addressing the significant problems facing the River Murray, the South Australian River Murray Act came into operation in 2003. Section 7 of this Act establishes 15 Objectives for a Healthy River Murray.

Related names :


Period : 1980-2000
Further reading :
John Botting and Associates. Murray Mouth project: effect of river flows on migration of the Murray Mouth, [Adelaide]: Murray-Darling Basin Commission, 1990

The Murray mouth: exploring the implications of closure or restricted flow, Adelaide: Department of Water, Land and Bio-diversity Conservation, 2002

South Australia. Murray Mouth Advisory Committee. Investigations into the behaviour of the mouth of the River Murray, [Adelaide] : The Committee, [1983]

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