"More than just a bridge" Murray Bridge by iandsmith

Murray Bridge Travel Guide: 10 reviews and 29 photos

Bridging the gap

Murray Bridge by name, Murray Bridge by nature. The rail on the left and the road on the right, this photo taken from an attractive park on the eastern side of town looking across the flood plain.
Charles Sturt, one of Australia's notable and successful early explorers, came here in a whale boat in 1830 searching for where all the rivers in eastern Australia ended up, countenancing the possibility that there might even be an inland sea, one of the more popular theories at the time.
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, Victoria and Queensland. However it wasn't until the establishment of Goolwa as a 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 was completed in 1879, though when the town was originally laid out in 1883 it was called Mobilong. It was followed in 1886 by the Adelaide-Melbourne railway line which guaranteed that the town's importance as a vital link across the river was assured.
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.
More recently, the Swanport Bridge, built five kilometres downstream from Murray Bridge, was completed in 1979.
Located 78 km from Adelaide, Murray Bridge has blossomed into a major centre on the Murray River helped initially by its location just north of the Murray's exit at Lake Alexandrina.
A town of 17,000 people it is a mere 26 metres above sea level. A typical sprawling rural centre with a grain silo on the skyline and vegetable gardens, hothouses and light industry surrounding the town centre it also has an interesting past, particularly concerning the river traffic.
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. Today you can still get kangaroo and fish but the others have gone off the menu.
Today the town is the centre of a major agricultural district which is driven by dairying, chicken raising, pig breeding, tomato and snow pea growing.

Let's Walk Around Murray Bridge
There is a simple printed pamphlet which sensibly starts at the Tourist Information Office on South Terrace and does a circuit around the centre of town which includes Edwards Square (with the Lyric Theatre facade), Diamond Park (named to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1879), the St John the Baptist Pro-Cathedral (the smallest cathedral in Australia), the World War II Memorial Playground, the Community Mural in Third Street, the old Limestone Homes (1893), the Railway Station (1886), the local Post Office, the railway tunnel, the Roundhouse (1874), the National Trust 700 metre iron bridge (1873-79), the Old Pump House (1897), Bridgeport Hotel (1884), Town Hall (1910), Bells Store (1884), Ruges Arcade (1920s) and the new Mobilong House. The pamphlet provides detailed information. It also reveals that many of the town's buildings are recent and there are few reminders of the early history.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Varied scenery and history, interesting
  • In a nutshell:More than just a bridge or two
  • Last visit to Murray Bridge: Oct 2003
  • Intro Written Oct 24, 2003
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Reviews (3)

Comments (5)

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Sep 24, 2006 at 4:20 AM

    That street scene with the balconies really has the Australian town look to it! That flat and dry bed of the Murray River looks like it could mean trouble in the wet season.

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Dec 20, 2004 at 2:35 PM

    They don't race each other on the opposite bridges, do they? Nice Australiana page.

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Dec 3, 2004 at 4:25 AM

    Another winner, Ian. Really enjoyed all the information in the introduction. Loved the explanation about the art, too. Restaurant on "looks" was a fascinating concept that I found true for us, too...yet, I had never thought of it.

  • zrim's Profile Photo
    Mar 11, 2004 at 10:27 AM

    Murray Bridge just sounded interesting, had to sneak a look.

  • craic's Profile Photo
    Oct 25, 2003 at 10:38 AM



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