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FAST FACTS ABOUT THE MURRAY

The Murray River is 2,530 km long

The River Murray rises near Mount Kosciuszko in the Australian Alps and flows 2,530 km to the Southern Ocean, near Goolwa in South Australia. This snapshot covers the upper part of the Murray catchment from the river's headwaters to Lake Mulwala, near Yarrawonga.

The Murray River is Australia's longest single river

The lengths of the 10 longest rivers in Australia were re-calculated in September 2008 by Geoscience Australia using data from the National Topographic Database. The calculations confirmed that Australia's longest single river is the River Murray at 2508 kilometres. However, if the longest tributaries of the Darling River, the Culgoa, Balonne and Condamine, are taken into account its total length increases to 2740 kilometres, making it Australia's longest waterway.

The Murray River is the third longest navigable river in the world

The Murray River is navigable from the Hume Dam, near Albury (NSW) to Lake Alexandrina (SA)

The Murray River is provided with locks and is navigable from the Hume Dam near Albury in south east New South Wales to Lake Alexandrina in South Australia
Source: http://www.auscanal.org.au/StateWaterways.php

The Murray River is about seven times longer than the Thames
Thames is 346 km long. Murray is 2530 km long.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Thames


The River Murray is part of the Murray-Darling Basin, the driest major water system in the world

"The Murray River forms a major arm of the Murray-Darling Basin, which drains most of inland NSW, northern Victoria and south-western Queensland"

The Murray River forms the border between NSW and Victoria for 1,880 km

"The Murray River is in southern NSW and forms the NSW-Victorian border for 1,880 kilometres."

The Murray River flows between Mount Kosciuszko (Southern Alps) and Goolva (South Australia)

"The Murray River begins in the Southern Alps of NSW and Victoria, and flows in a westerly direction for over 2,500 kilometres to its outlet near Goolwa on the South Australian coast."

The Murray River runs across South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales.

The Murray River runs across three states, making it tricky to manage. To manage it effectively, cooperation is required between South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

The world's largest River Red Gum forest grows on the banks of the Murray River

New visitors to the Murray region will find endless stretches of the world’s largest River Red Gum forests - forests that are as accessible as they are beautiful


The Murray River hosts Australia's largest freshwater fish species, the Murray cod (usually 5-22 kg)

The Murray cod – Australia's largest freshwater fish species – was once widespread, but is now in severe decline, along with many other native fish species.

The Murray's wetland environments have national and international significance.

The Murray is the nation’s most iconic river and supports estuarine, floodplain and wetland environments of national and international significance. Across the Murray-Darling Basin, there are about 30,000 wetlands with sixteen listed under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the Ramsar Convention).


The Murray River is more than 60 million years old

The Murray River is an ancient river, with a history spanning more than 60 million years from the time Australia split from the giant super continent of Gondwanaland and began its slow northward drift.

Indiginous Australians have lived in the Murray River valley for at least 40,000 years

Indiginous Australians have occupied the river valley for at least 40,000 years

About 10,000 aboriginal sites have been located in the Murray-Darling Basin

Around 10,000 sites of Aboriginal occupation dating from that long-distant time until more recent times have been located within the Basin.
Source: http://www.mdba.gov.au/about-basin/basin-people/aboriginal-culture-heritage


The Murray River was named after Colonial Secretary Sir George Murray
 

The Europeans that reported the discovery of the Murray River in 1824 were Hamilton H. Hume and William H. Hovell

William Hovell and Hamilton Hume explored beyond the Murrumbidgee River in 1824, and in the vicinity of present day Albury, discovered a river they named the Hume. This was in fact the upper reaches of the Murray.
Source: http://www.samemory.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm?u=1319

The Murray River flag appeared around 1850
The origins of the River Murray flag are unclear, but it may have been in existence as early as 1850 when RW Beddome, founder of the River Murray League, enthused "Up with the Murray flag." An early recorded use of the River Murray flag was in March 1853 when the Randell family took one of the first steamers, the Mary Ann, down the Murray. The River Murray flag was hoisted on their arrival at Goolwa.

For 6 years (between 1824 and 1830), the Murray River upstream of Albury was called the Hume

A number of explorers and surveyors had tried to solve the riddle and been thwarted by floods and drought. William Hovell and Hamilton Hume explored beyond the Murrumbidgee River in 1824, and in the vicinity of present day Albury, discovered a river they named the Hume. This was in fact the upper reaches of the Murray. Then in 1828 Charles Sturt discovered the Darling River into which drained many of the New South Wales rivers, and part of the puzzle was solved. But where did the Darling go? One current theory was that there was an inland sea. Sturt was sent out again in 1829 by Governor Darling to resolve the problem. On 7 January 1830, Sturt and his party launched their boat onto the Murrumbidgee, and sailed downstream into a large river that Sturt named the Murray.

Commercial navigation on the Murray began in 1853 by William Randell

William Randell constructed the first paddle-steamer to be launched on the River Murray. Randell's steamer, named the Mary Ann after his mother, was launched on the river from a landing near Mannum. It was first trialled on 19 February 1853. On 25 March 1853, the Mary Ann set off on her first voyage up the Murray, but had to turn back due to low river. Randell began his second attempt on 15 August 1853 and made his journey at a fairly leisurely pace.


The Murray–Darling Basin is home to 2 million people

More than 2 million people live in the Murray–Darling Basin


The main operational storage for the Murray River is the Hume Dam

"Hume Dam (3,038,000 megalitres) is the main operational storage for the Murray River. It has been supplying regulated water to the Murray River system since its inception in 1936."
Source: http://www.water.nsw.gov.au/Water-management/Basins-and-catchments/Murray-Riverina-catchment/default.aspx

The average annual discharge is 0.89 cubic metres per second
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 Murray River is a highly regulated river by the water management authorities

The Murray River is one of the most highly regulated rivers in NSW. Water resources are shared between NSW, Victoria and South Australia as part of the interstate River Murray Waters Agreement, administered by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA). Sharing water resources fairly between the states, particularly during drought, is a key water management issue.

The government has invested $850 million for the environmental protection of the River Murray

The Living Murray Initiative is a major investment by the NSW, Victorian, South Australian, ACT and Commonwealth Governments to improve the environmental health of the Murray River. An investment of $700 million has been made to recover water at six significant ecological sites along the Murray. These are the Barmah Millewa Forest, Perricoota-Koondrook and Gunbower Forest, Hattah Lakes Complex, Chowilla wetlands and floodplain, Coorong and the Murray Mouth, and the River Murray Channel. Another $150 million is being spent on environmental works and other measures.

All users of the Murray River are required by law (Murray River Act 2003) to protect it

The Murray River Act 2003 ensures the river is protected from activities that could affect its health, while recognising its social and economic importance. A key feature of the Act is the general duty of care (564kb pdf) provision that applies to all river users.
Source: http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/managing-natural-resources/river-murray


The natural flow out of the Murray River Mouth was about 12,000 gigalitres of water per year.
In its natural state, flow out of the Murray Mouth was approximately 12000 gigalitres per year. Regulation of the River Murray for irrigation has disrupted natural flooding regimes.
Source: http://nrmeducation.net.au/uploads/images/selc/pages/modules/inland_waters/murray_01.html


Only 4% of the rainfall in the Murray-Darling Basin arrives at the Murray River Mouth and flows into the sea.
The Murray Mouth is where the River Murray meets the sea. It is the only passageway to the ocean for all of the water that falls in the Basin. Because the journey to the sea is so long, hot, flat and windy, only 4% of the rainfall in the Basin will every find its way to the sea; the rest is diverted en-route for irrigation and agriculture, or evaporated by the sun.