Murray River

river in Australia

The Murray River is the largest river in Australia. It starts high in the Snowy Mountains and flows mainly west until it gets to the sea near Goolwa, South Australia.

Murray River
The Murray at Nyah, Victoria
Physical characteristics
 - locationSnowy Mountains[1]
MouthGoolwa, South Australia
Length2,575 km (1,600 mi)
Basin size1,061,469 km²
 - average767 m³/s
The Murray is Australia's largest river
The Murray River in the mountains at Tom Groggin

For much of its length it forms the boundary between Victoria and New South Wales. Other rivers join the Murray, the Darling River, the Lachlan River, the Murrumbidgee River and the Goulburn River.



For thousands of years, the Murray River has been known to Aboriginal Australians, who called it various names such as Millewa and Tongala.

The river was later called the Hume River after it was visited by European explorers Hamilton Hume and William Hovell in November 1824. Explorer Charles Sturt renamed the river in January 1830 after a British politician, Sir George Murray. In 1852, the government offered a bonus of $8,000 for the first paddlesteamer to reach Echuca. This was achieved by both William Randell and Francis Cadell.[2]

Randell built a steamboat the Mary Ann, named after his mother, to start trading in 1853. Soon it was racing Captain Francis Cadell's steamer and river trading began. This provided many new jobs and started new settlements and industries along the entire length of the river Murray system. G.B. Johnston sailed a steam boat as far as Albury in 1855. The river was very important for carrying people and goods until the railways took over. By 1900 the river trade was just about over.[3]


  1. "Snowy Mountains". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 13 August 2013.
  2. "The River Murray". South Australian History. Archived from the original on 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
  3. Australian Encyclopaedia Vol. VI. Angus and Robertson. 1958. p. 208.