The continent of Australia is marked by a dry environment. Sources of fresh water are a few in number. In general, the rivers in Australia have a low flow of water which varies along the course of water body. The continent has a number of rivers i.e Murray river, Darling river, Cooper Creek, Murrumbidgee river, Lachlan river etc. These major rivers in Australia are discussed below one by one.
Murray River - One of the Longest Rivers in Australia by Length
The continent’s longest river is the Murray River. It is 2,508 kilometers long. The river originates in the Australian Alps and flows across the continent’s inland plains. During its course, it forms a border between New South Wales and Victoria, flows in the northwest direction and then turns south towards its final destination into Lake Alexandria.
Have a look at the following informative facts about the Murray River.
- After the Nile and Amazon rivers, Murray ranks third among the world’s longest navigable rivers.
- The Murray River and its tributaries form part of the world’s third largest catchment area.
- The navigable course of the river is continuous for a length of 1,986 kilometers, beginning from Goolwa and running up to Yarrawonga.
- Murray crosses three states of Australia: South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.
- It is the main source of water supply for domestic use for more than one and a half million households.
- The Murray River hosts the largest canoe race of the world every year.
- Along the banks of the river, there is the largest redgum forest of the world.
- There are thirty-seven fine gold courses along the bank of River Murray, making it a heaven for golfers.
Murrumbidgee is the chief tributary of the River Murray. It is the second longest of the rivers in Australia in the Murray-Darling basin. It flows through New South Wales and continues its course across the Australian Capital Territory. The river then flows downwards from Peppercorn Hill to meet the Murray River at Boundary Bend in the state of Victoria.
The following facts provide more information about the river.
- The river is 1,488 kilometers long.
- The Murrumbidgee catchment area covers 84,000 square kilometers. It is house to a population of around 550,000 people.
- The catchment area includes Canberra – Australia’s capital – and Wagga Wagga –the largest city of the state of New South Wales.
- Tantangara Dam was built in 1960 on the Murrumbidgee River.
- The main valley towns of the river are Canberra, Wagga Wagga, Hay, Barland, Narrandera and Yass.
In the list of major rivers in Australia, River Darling comes at third position. It measures 1,472 Kilometers in length. The river originates from the northern region of New South Wales and continues flowing up to meet the Murray River Wentworth. The following facts about River Darling discuss interesting information about this water body.
- Along with its longest tributaries, Darling flows up to a length of 2,844 kilometers, thereby making Australia’s longest river system.
- The quality of Darling’s water has been declining owing to pollution as well as overuse.
- The water of the river consists of a high content of salt.
- It is an important part of the Murray-Darling Basin which is regarded as the food bowl of the Australian continent. The basin is a source of food and water for a large population.
- Darling is the most popular waterway flowing through Outback – the continent’s remote and arid interior.
The Lachlan River is the principal tributary of Murrumbidgee River. It runs through the state of South Wales and flows to a length of 1,450 kilometers. When in flood, it connects to the famous Murray-Darling Basin along with the Murrumbidgee River.
Have a look at the following informative facts about the river.
- The river originates at Gunning where the Hannans Creek and Mutmutbilly Creek meet.
- It was discovered by a famous explorer, George William Evans in 1815. He named the river in honor of the Governor of the state of New South Wales – Lachlan Macquarie (1810 – 1820).
- Lachlan is the only river which contains important wetlands all along its length instead of merely at the end, as it is the case with the other rivers in Australia.
- Wyangala Reservoir is an important dam which stores the water of the Lachlan River.
- Along with its tributaries, the main stream drains a basin which covers an area of 84,690 square kilometers.
Warrego is an important northern tributary of the Darling River. Its flows through the south western region of Queensland and extends to New South Wales up in the Orana region. The total length of the river is 1,380 kilometers with source elevation of 800 meters.
Here are some more facts about the Warrego River.
- The river originates below Mount KaKa Mundi in the Carnarvorn Range near Queensland.
- It drains into the Darling River at Bourke.
- Warrego is joined by thirty-seven tributaries.
- Several towns are situated along the banks of the river, including Augathella, Wyandra, Cunnamulla and Charleville.
- The only town with a levee for protection against the river’s flooding is Cunnamulla.
Cooper Creek is one of the major rivers of the continent. It is 1,300 kilometer long and flows through Queensland and South Australia. Its right tributary is the Barcoo River while the left tributary is the River Thompson. There are many interesting facts related to the river which are discussed below.
- One of the factors which contribute towards the fame of the river is the death of popular explorers Burke and Wills that took place in 1861 at the site of the river.
- The Cooper Creek is also referred to as Barcoo River due to its right tributary.
- It flows into the Lake Eyre basin and is counted among the three main river systems of Queensland which flow into this basin.
- Monsoon rains of the eastern Queensland determine the flow of water in the Cooper Creek.
- After the Murray-Darling system, the Cooper Creek is the continent’s second longest inland river system.
The Paroo River consists of a series of waterholes which connect together in the wet season to form a running stream. It forms a part of the Darling catchment in the Murray-Darling basin. The series of waterholes form an overall length of 1,210 kilometers which drain a basin covering an area of 60,095 square kilometers.
Here are some more facts about the river.
- The Paroo River runs through two states of Australia – Queensland and New South Wales.
- Its mouth is located at the north of White Cliffs in New South Wales.
- The wetlands of the Paroo River are home to some important threatened species, including the Australian Painted Snipe and the Freckled Duck.
- During its course, River Paroo is joined by numerous minor tributaries which are 43 in number.
The Australian continent contains a number of small and large rivers. The primary rivers serve as important sources of freshwater as well as provide food to the population. It is important to conserve these rivers in order to maintain the quality and flow of water for this dry region.