Murray Bridge History

Located approximately 80 km from Adelaide, Murray Bridge is the major centre on the Murray River north of Lake Alexandrina. It is a city of 17,000 people and is 26 metres above sea level. It is a typical sprawling rural centre with a grain silo on the skyline and vegetable gardens, hothouses and light industry surrounding the city centre.

The Council area covers 1,828 sq/km (including our portion of the River Murray and Lake Alexandrina) and includes 975 kilometres of trafficable roads (not including Transport SA Roads).

Prior to European settlement the area was inhabited by the Ngarrindjeri Aborigines. The river provided abundant food and they lived well off a diet of kangaroos, emus, wombats, goannas, lizards, ducks, turtles, fish, snakes and bird eggs.

The first European into the area was Captain Charles Sturt who, being assigned to solve the great mystery of why so many rivers flowed westward from the Great Dividing Range (often known as the question of whether Australia had an 'inland sea') rowed a whale boat down the Murrumbidgee in late 1829 and reached the junction with the Murray River on 14 January 1830. He continued down Australia's largest river passing Murray Bridge in early February and reaching Lake Alexandrina, at the mouth of the river, on 9 February, 1830.

From this point onwards there was always the thought that the Murray River could be used for transportation and access to the western areas of New South Wales and Queensland. However it wasn't until the formal establishment of Goolwa as the port at the mouth of the Murray in the 1850s that this became a reality.

Murray Bridge was established when a road bridge over the Murray River (which is how the city got its name) was completed in 1879. It was followed in 1886 by the Adelaide-Melbourne railway line which guaranteed that the city's importance as a vital link across the river was assured.

The original township was laid out in 1883 and was called Mobilong. The land was sold in Adelaide in 1884 under the advertisement 'Murray traders, woolwashers, builders and all men of enterprise. Give heed to what is now offered to you.' Later it was called Edwards Crossing but it became Murray Bridge when a new railway bridge was constructed across the river in 1924.

The city's most recent Swanport Bridge, which was built five kilometres downstream from Murray Bridge, was completed in 1979.

Murray Bridge Today

Today the city is the centre of a major agricultural district which is driven by dairying, chicken raising, pig breeding, tomato and snow pea growing.

The Murray River is indeed a popular tourist attraction with in South Australia, but amongst its many well recognised citys, one stands out above the rest. Murray Bridge is the "crown" of the Murray Region, containing many attractions for people of all ages.

The Murray River is a picturesque site of House Boats, Paddle-steamers and happy, relaxed people. You sit back and relax while observing the beauty of this natural wonder.

Although many of the Murray Bridge attractions are water based, such as skiing and swimming, there are many exciting on land attractions that are well worth a visit.

Just out of Murray Bridge there is a new open range zoo and breeding ground for arid and grassland animals at the Monarto Zoological Park. Many species of animals can roam this 1000 hectare site. Tourists have the opportunity to take a Safari Bus around the park with a personal guide.

Murray Bridge is a drawcard to the beautiful Murray River.