On to the Murray

Big wheel keep on turnin'
Proud Mary keep on burnin'
Rollin', rollin',rollin', on the river
Rollin', rollin', rollin', on the river
(beautifully written and sung by John Cameron Fogarty and CCR

Darlington Point and the Murrumbidgee were all very well but we were looking forward to South Australia and the mighty Murray River. The Murray is Australias longest river at 2,520 kms. Starting in the Australian Alps and spanning three states - NSW, Victoria and South Australia - this great river has been a major highway and water source for farming, both crop and animal, for over a century. Unfortunately following years of abuse and argument over access to its water it now has  a few problems - particularly where it meets the Darling in the Murray Darling Basin. Lack of water flow, large dams and illegal water usage all exacerbated by a long drought means the river is now the centre of a full blown dispute between farmers, recreational users and environmentalists. Vested interests means there is no end in sight. Worse, it has now become political.
 The Murray we set up camp beside at Apex Campground, Mildura suggested none of this. Our campsite set back under Red River Gums on the banks of the river some 3 kms from town was idyllic. We swam in the Murray a little downstream from the 
Mildura Surf Life Saving Club. Yep. They have Sunday morning nippers and a surf patrol on the river beach.
We arrived in Mildura after tracking west across NSW into Victoria. We had passed through the very attractive country town of Hay in the western Riverina district of NSW. The area is sometimes called the fruit bowl of Australia but hey! all around Hay is hay. Well stubble now.But flat and attractive country.
Mildura itself is a town of around 35,000 people and has its town centre a hop skip and a jump from a lovingly laid out park and sports area on the Murray River bank. Hats off to the Mildura council. It appears also the the town powers that be have encouraged immigration as Mildura has a multicultural feel. There was obviously some Italian influence as recognisable from the shops and restaurants. It may also have a bit to do with the Sunraysia District and the Sunraysia Fruit Juice company of which Mildura is the centre. The name derives from a naming contest in 1919. originally Sunraysed the name has morphed into its present form. The area is also a fruit fly free district and as we crossed the border into Victoria we were encouraged to dump all fruit and vegetables in the quarantine bins. We were subject to a thorough search at the border control and seemed to pass. It would appear our lemons passed muster or were missed. "Man look" said MTC.

2 thoughts on “On to the Murray

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