State Library of South Australia logoDownstream, the River Murray in South Australia
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Did you know? : First irrigation settlement in Australia

The first irrigation settlement in Australia was Renmark, in South Australia's Riverland district. The Chaffey brothers, George and William, Canadians who had achieved much success in establishing irrigation settlements in California, established Renmark in 1887. The Chaffeys had been invited to set up similar schemes in along the River Murray by the Victorian parliamentarian Alfred Deakin (later to become Australia's second prime minister). The Victorians stalled in their negotiations with the brothers, however, and the South Australian government enticed them to Renmark instead. The Chaffey's original irrigation plan created open channels to carry the water to the land but in 1959 these were converted to underground pipelines. The Chaffey brothers' enterprise folded in 1893 and the Renmark Irrigation Trust was created to administer the irrigation works.

Channel making at Renmark
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Irrigation channel, Renmark
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Small portraits of the Chaffey Brothers
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