On safari-- wildlife and nature photos

Dawn on the Murray
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The river at Ponde

The mighty River Murray

On and on  Black swan

Azure kingfisher
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A pelican crosses the River Murray at dawn, and an azure kingfisher waits for the river to give up a feed. Such scenes may be under threat as the Murray struggles to meet the growing demands of human habitation

The slow-moving river traverses a flat, dry landscape for more than 2,500 kilometres in three States. It and its tributaries are the water-supply lifelines of many cities, towns, and rural industries. The pace of change in human practices is even more sluggish than the river, resulting in the Southern ocean sometimes closing the Murray mouth with sandbars (earth-moving machines have been used to keep it open in recent years), and the river's even longer tributary, the Darling, being unable to bring water south from the sub-tropics

Mouth of the Murray
The mouth of the Murray
Fishing near the mouth
Fishing near the mouth
Pelican touchdown
Touchdown at Goolwa

It's not the scope of this page to detail the Murray-Darling Basin's problems or the efforts of governments and individuals to solve what has become a crisis, but just to show some of the river's beauty

Point to the small images for captions, then click to enlarge the pictures.* preceding an image denotes medium format

*Houseboats leaving Mannum   *the mighty Murray   *Houseboats at Morgan  *At Waikerie  *At Blanchetown

Stern-wheeler Murray Princess  Proud Mary

The river from the towns of Mannum, Morgan and Waikerie, and the settlement of Blanchetown, in South Australia. Mannum, widely regarded as the birthplace of the Murray paddlesteamer in the 19th century, is now host to tourist cruisers both modern and restored, and houseboats. The river is navigable for nearly 2,000 kilometres from Goolwa near the mouth to Yarrawonga in Victoria, though locks in weirs have to be negotiated

*At Wentworth, NSW  *At Wentworth, NSW  *Two rivers meet

One such weir is at the New South Wales outback town of Wentworth, where the Darling River joins the Murray

*Historic Echuca wharf  *Echuca paddlesteamers  Echuca paddlesteamer  *Echuca paddlesteamer

The bustling city of Echuca in Victoria claims to be the paddlesteamer capital of Australia, with the biggest operating fleet of these boats, many of them restored 19th century vessels. Nowadays they carry tourists rather than rural production

Click on the Maplink to see the course of the River Murray

Where the photos were taken

Australian pelican  Australian pelican   Riverside gathering  Pelican in flight  Murray short-necked tortoise

Hairy-nosed wombat

The Murray's wildlife: probably the most notable and majestic are the Australian pelicans. But there are many other species, too. In some areas near the river, the threatened southern hairy-nosed wombat has its complex systems of burrows. The wombat in the photograph is at a riverside rehabilitation centre, where injured, sick and orphaned wombats are cared for. A crepuscular or twilight animal, it's rarely seen in daylight

Young darters   Male darter   Great egret   Yellow-billed spoonbill   Little black cormorant   Great cormorant

From the left, young darters in their nest overhanging the water's edge, while their male parent dries his wings just a few metres away. A great egret waits on the bank, a yellow-billed spoonbill waits similarly on a branch over the water, a little black cormorant shows off a jade green eye, and a great cormorant perches on a snag

Whistling kite   Pacific black duck   Regent parrot   Galahs   Little corella preening   Sacred kingfisher   Brown tree-creeper   Singing honeyeater

A whistling kite waits for prey; a Pacific black duck comes close to the camera, probably expecting a meal; a Regent parrot, another river resident, one that's endangered because of loss of habitat (this one is a captive specimen); a pair of galahs perches high in a riverside tree; another cockatoo, a preening Little corella, a species usually seen in huge flocks; a sacred kingfisher, carrying an insect for its young, is annoyed to see a human close to its nesting hole in a limb of a weeping willow tree on the water's edge; a brown treecreeper hunts for insects under the bark of a tree; and a singing honeyeater perches

Nature's paint   River of cloud   The next bend   Towering cliff    Houseboat

*The river at Picnic Point, N.S.W.  *A minor tributary, Gulpa Creek  *Barmah choke

Nature's colours abound on the river: in the bark of a gum tree, a line of cloud following the river's course at dawn, and the red cliffs that tower over the water in many places. Eucalypt forest crowds the water's edge and at times is flooded by the river in other places, such as near Barmah in Victoria. The narrow stretch called the "Barmah choke" causes the river to back up at times of high flow

Hume weir  *Lake Hume  *The river below the weir  *Lake Mulwala  Banrock Station wetlands

The Hume dam was completed in the 1930s across the Murray and Mitta Mitta Rivers in north-east Victoria for water storage and for flood mitigation. Another man-made lake, for irrigation storage and recreation, is Mulwala at Yarrawonga. It drowned many of the Murray's greatest natural assets, the River red gums. In more recent years, in South Australia's Riverland, a wine company has done much to restore a wetlands system (Banrock Station) vital to the natural environment

Mallee landscape  *Riverland erosion   *Erosion near Renmark  Sunset at Morgan

Landscapes near the towns of Morgan and Renmark...semi-arid mallee country and riverine erosion

For more historical and geographical information about the Murray, click Wikipedia, but beware of factual errors. Seek corroboration from other sources

Click here for a taste of the Australian outback, or go to the menu below for African safari pages and other Australian pages

Fuji rangefinder cameras, a GS645S Wide 60 and a GA645W, were used for several of the riverscape photos on this page. The rest were taken with Canon SLR and DSLR systems using both tele and wide angle lenses with fill flash on some occasions

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    © 2002-2014 Copyright photographs, graphics and text: John Milbank