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Murray Bridge
South Australia
MurrayBridgeMainStreet.JPG
Main street of Murray Bridge
Murray Bridge is located in South Australia
Murray Bridge
Murray Bridge
Coordinates 35°07′01″S 139°16′01″E / 35.117°S 139.267°E / -35.117; 139.267Coordinates: 35°07′01″S 139°16′01″E / 35.117°S 139.267°E / -35.117; 139.267
Population 18,779 (2018)
 • Density 192.61/km2 (498.9/sq mi)
Established 1924
Postcode(s) 5253
Area 97.5 km2 (37.6 sq mi)(2011 urban)
Time zone ACST (UTC+9:30)
 • Summer (DST) ACDT (UTC+10:30)
Location 78 km (48 mi) ESE of Adelaide
LGA(s) Rural City of Murray Bridge
State electorate(s) Hammond
Federal Division(s) Barker
Localities around Murray Bridge:
Pallamana
Rocky Gully
Murray Bridge North
Northern Heights
Mobilong
Riverglades
Murray Bridge East
White Hill
Rocky Gully
Murray Bridge Long Flat
Gifford Hill Swanport
Murray Bridge South
Monteith

Murray Bridge (formerly Mobilong and Edwards Crossing) is a city in the Australian state of South Australia, located 78 kilometres (48 mi) east-southeast of the state's capital city, Adelaide, and 77 kilometres (48 mi) north of the town of Meningie. The city had an urban population of approximately 18,779 as at June 2018, making it the fifth most populous city in the state after Adelaide, Mount Gambier, Gawler and Whyalla.

The city is called Pomberuk by the traditional owners of the land, the Ngarrindjeri people. It was later known as Mobilong and later as Edwards Crossing, before being renamed as Murray Bridge in 1924, deriving its name from the road and railway crossings over the Murray River. The city is situated on the Princes Highway, the main road transport link between Adelaide and Melbourne.

The city services a farming area including dairy, pigs, chickens, cereal crops and vegetables (including "stay crisp lettuces").

History

Flour mill at Murray Bridge East, 1920
Flour mill at Murray Bridge East, 1920

Murray Bridge is in the traditional lands of the Ngarrindjeri people, who refer to Murray Bridge as Pomberuk. The first European explorer was Charles Sturt who camped there on 8 February 1830.

The first road bridge across the lower Murray was known as The Murray Bridge and completed at Edwards's Crossing in 1879. The bridge also became a shared road and rail bridge in 1886 until the separate rail bridge was completed in 1925. The bridge was designed for 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) rail track gauge though in actuality, only 1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) gauge trains ever used it.

The town was renamed as Murray Bridge in 1924.

In 1979 the Swanport Bridge, carrying the South Eastern Freeway across the Murray River was completed 5 kilometres (3 mi) downstream, removing most through traffic from the historic Murray Bridge.

Murray Bridge contains a number of heritage-listed sites, including the Murray Bridge Transport Precinct, listed on the South Australian Heritage Register.

Demographics

As at the 2016 Census, the Murray Bridge area had a population of 20,858. The median age was 41, and 21.7% of the population were born overseas. The median weekly household income was $973 per week, compared with the South Australian average of $1,206 per week.

The urban area that contains and surrounds Murray Bridge had a population of 16,708 as at the 2011 census. In the 2006 census, the population was 14,048 and at the 2001 census, the population was 12,998.

In the 2006 Census, 10.4% of the population were born overseas, and 4.5% were Indigenous Australians. The median weekly household income was A$639 per week, compared with $924 in Adelaide. 13.3% of the population identified themselves as Lutheran, while a higher 24.7% identified with no religion.

Sport and recreation

In 1924 the Murray Bridge rowing team was chosen to represent Australia at the Paris Olympics. The Murray Cods as they were known won the Australian Eight Oared Championships (the King's Cup) and were invited to compete in a test race at Port Adelaide between South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. Although accustomed to rowing over 3 miles, the Murray Cods were able to defeat the other crews on the 1 mile and 420 yards (2 km) course. The story of their fund-raising and exploits in Paris are detailed on the Australian Rowing History website.

Murray Bridge is home to the infamous Bunyip, a mechanical replica of the legendary monster is located on Sturt Reserve. Many South Australian children fondly remember their first visit to the Bunyip, putting a coin in the machine and watching the Bunyip emerge from its watery cage complete with shrieking sound effects.

Murray Bridge is also home to the River Murray Football League, which plays Australian rules football. The league consists of the Murray Bridge-based clubs of Ramblers and Imperials and the district teams of Mypolonga, Mannum, Tailem Bend, Jervois and Meningie.

In 2005 the city's golf course, Murray Bridge Golf Club, held the State's premier regional junior team event, the Brett Ogle Cup (named after the Australian Professional golfer Brett Ogle). The home team went undefeated and qualified for the state final, losing narrowly. The team had not previously experienced such success; junior golf in the region has since obtained a higher profile.

Another sporting association in Murray Bridge is the Murray Bridge Amateur Swim Club (The Cods) which competes in meets with other clubs, as well as Country Championships (a large meet for all of the rural South Australian swim clubs) and state and national championships.

Murray Bridge is also the home of the Murray Bridge Racing Club, Murray Bridge & District Table Tennis Association, and holds the 24-hour Australian International Pedal Prix race annually in September. Murray Bridge Lutheran Tennis Club plays hard court tennis on their home courts based at Christian Reserve. Hard court tennis is hosted by various clubs throughout the community, including Jervois, Brinkley, Mannum, Mypolonga and Tailem Bend as well as clubs within the township. Hard court tennis is played on both Friday nights and Saturday mornings. There are both Junior and senior divisions. Friday night tennis offers a social alternative, often offering barbecues and after-game drinks. Lawn tennis is played at Sturt Reserve on Saturday mornings and afternoons from October to February, and is organised by the Murray Bridge Lawn Tennis Association.

Murray Bridge also has a rich motor racing history. Established in 1958, Riverview Speedway is one of Australia's premier country dirt track ovals regularly hosting Australian title meetings in most racing categories including bikes and cars.

Murray Bridge is also known for its basketball, having won numerous State Country Championships and many of its young players going on to represent South Australia in the National Championships.

Murray Bridge is also home to the Riverview Speedway which has been in operation since 1958. Located on the eastern side of the River, the speedway is a 360 metres (390 yd) long Dirt track racing venue that caters to both Motorcycle speedway and car racing, hosting numerous Australian and South Australian championships during its existence. On 12 November 2011 the speedway hosted its first ever World Championship event when it will host the FIM 2011 World Sidecar Speedway Championship with Murray Bridge's own Jesse Headland winning the title as passenger to NSW based rider Darrin Treloar. Headland was the winner of the 2010 Championship in England with his father Mick Headland.

Climate

Murray Bridge has a semi-arid climate with warm to hot summers and mild winters, bordering on a Mediterranean climate. The highest recorded temperature of 46.6 °C (115.9 °F) was reached on 28 January 2009 during the early 2009 southeastern Australia heat wave–making it one of the hottest temperatures ever recorded in a South Australian metropolitan area.

Climate data for Murray Bridge
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 46.6
(115.9)
46.4
(115.5)
43.7
(110.7)
39.2
(102.6)
31.0
(87.8)
25.6
(78.1)
26.7
(80.1)
30.9
(87.6)
35.0
(95)
39.7
(103.5)
44.2
(111.6)
44.4
(111.9)
46.6
(115.9)
Average high °C (°F) 29.1
(84.4)
29.3
(84.7)
26.7
(80.1)
23.5
(74.3)
19.6
(67.3)
16.7
(62.1)
16.2
(61.2)
17.5
(63.5)
19.8
(67.6)
22.7
(72.9)
25.6
(78.1)
27.5
(81.5)
22.8
(73)
Average low °C (°F) 14.6
(58.3)
14.6
(58.3)
12.9
(55.2)
10.3
(50.5)
8.0
(46.4)
6.0
(42.8)
5.4
(41.7)
5.9
(42.6)
7.2
(45)
9.0
(48.2)
11.4
(52.5)
13.2
(55.8)
9.9
(49.8)
Record low °C (°F) 5.1
(41.2)
5.7
(42.3)
4.1
(39.4)
-0.6
(30.9)
-1.8
(28.8)
-4.3
(24.3)
-5.0
(23)
-2.0
(28.4)
-1.4
(29.5)
-0.6
(30.9)
2.1
(35.8)
4.0
(39.2)
-5.0
(23)
Precipitation mm (inches) 16.4
(0.646)
18.2
(0.717)
20.4
(0.803)
28.8
(1.134)
34.9
(1.374)
37.8
(1.488)
35.2
(1.386)
37.1
(1.461)
36.8
(1.449)
34.0
(1.339)
25.5
(1.004)
23.6
(0.929)
348.5
(13.72)
Avg. precipitation days 3.8 3.9 4.8 7.7 10.4 11.8 12.4 12.8 10.5 8.9 6.1 5.3 98.4

Retail

Most of Murray Bridge's retail and dining facilities are located on and within close proximity to Bridge Street. An additional shopping complex on Mary Street, completed in November 2011, contains a second Woolworths supermarket, a Big W store, Dick Smith, Priceline, Best & Less, 45 specialty stores, a food court and the public library with undercover parking for over 900 cars. A new addition to the original shopping complex was completed in 2015. A second Coles, and a new Target replacing Target Country, later turned into a Cheap as Chips.

Transport

Sun setting on the Rail Bridge at Murray Bridge
The Rail Bridge over the River Murray at sunset.

Murray Bridge station is on the Adelaide to Wolseley line. It is served by Great Southern Rail's twice weekly Overland service operating between Adelaide and Melbourne.

The Murray Rail Bridge crosses the Murray River between Murray Bridge and Murray Bridge East.

Sister cities

Murray Bridge has two sister cities, according to the Australian Sister Cities Association.

Gallery

Economy

Local Industry

The primary industries in the city include agriculture and manufacturing, including food manufacturing.

Retail

Most of Murray Bridge's retail and dining facilities are located on and in close proximity to Bridge Street. The majority contained within two main shopping centres, Murray Bridge Green and Murray Bridge Marketplace.

Murray Bridge Green opened in 1976 as a Woolworths supermarket and a small number of additional stores. The centre was extended in 2001 and included a Target Country. A new addition to the original shopping complex was completed in 2015, which included a second (and larger) Coles, and a new Target replacing Target Country, which the site made way for a Cheap as Chips discount store. After 42 years of trading, the Woolworths store closed in May 2018.

A Drakes Supermarket opened in mid-2019 at the former Woolworths supermarket site of Murray Bridge Green shopping centre. Drake's is the seventh supermarket currently operating in Murray Bridge.

Murray Bridge Marketplace was opened in November 2011 and contains the city's second Woolworths supermarket (now only Woolworths after the original store closed), a Big W department store, Priceline, Best & Less, Reject Shop, 45 specialty stores, a food court and the public library with undercover parking for over 900 cars. There was a previous Woolworths store that was located in Bridge Street on the corner of Sixth Street opposite the then Town Hall and Court House. This store opened in either late 1969 or 1970 and was later replaced by the 1976 store at the Murray Bridge Green located on Swamport Road and Standen Street.

Discount supermarket Aldi opened further west from the Murray Bridge CBD, on the corner of Adelaide Road and Thomas Street in late 2018.

Supermarkets in Murray Bridge include a Coles at Murray Bridge Green (the Mannum Rd supermarket closed in 2019), Woolworths at Murray Bridge Marketplace, Josh's IGA Westside on Adelaide Road and IGA Swanport, on Swanport Road. The original Woolworths supermarket at Murray Bridge Green was open from 1976 and closed in 2018.

Target closed in early 2021 and was replaced by K Hub.

Education

Primary and Secondary Education

Local schools include Unity College, Murray Bridge North School, Murray Bridge South Primary School, Fraser Park Primary School, St Joseph's School, Murray Bridge High School and Tyndale Christian College.

Tertiary Education

Murray Bridge has a small TAFE SA campus, which offers a limited selection of tertiary courses. Flinders University opened a rural medical campus in 2012. This location gives students a rural medical placement.

Infrastructure

Sun setting on the Rail Bridge at Murray Bridge
The Rail Bridge over the Murray River at sunset, 1975.

Transport

Rail

Murray Bridge railway station is on the Adelaide to Wolseley railway line, the South Australian part of the Melbourne–Adelaide rail corridor. It is served by Journey Beyond's twice weekly passenger service The Overland operating between Adelaide and Melbourne.

The Overland is the only passenger railway that still services Murray Bridge, after South Australia's country rail operations ceased in the 1990s. Over recent years there have been discussions about re-instating commuter rail services between Adelaide and Murray Bridge, however there has been little to no progress made.

The Murray Bridge Transport Precinct is a historic area that includes the railway station and wharf area, the original bridge constructed in 1879 and converted for dual road and rail use in 1886. It returned to being only a road bridge in 1925 when a separate rail bridge (also included in the heritage precinct) opened to handle heavier trains. The railway now passes under the road approach to the bridge through the Murray Bridge Tunnel, a short cut-and-cover tunnel built as part of works for the new rail bridge in 1925.

Highways

Both bridges cross the Murray River between Murray Bridge and Murray Bridge East. The road bridge was part of the Princes Highway from 1935 until 1979. Murray Bridge is now connected by road to Adelaide via the South Eastern Freeway which leads to a newer crossing of the river further south on the Swanport Bridge built in 1979. State road route B35 connects from the north of the town towards Palmer and the central Adelaide Hills and route B36 leads towards Mannum, other river towns and the Sturt Highway.

Bus

Various bus and coach services are provided in Murray Bridge, the primary operator being LinkSA, operating a service to Adelaide via Mount Barker and local 'Dial-A-Ride' service. Stateliner (formerly Premier Stateliner) stop at Murray Bridge on its south-east services to Mt Gambier.

V/Line operate day and night coaches between Adelaide Central bus station and Melbourne, and Firefly to Sydney, both operators service Murray Bridge.

Airport

Murray Bridge Airport is nine kilometres north of the town, but does not have any scheduled services.

Walking Trails

The Lavender Federation Trail is a long-distance walking trail (350 kilometres or 220 miles) that extends from Murray Bridge along the eastern Mount Lofty Ranges to Clare.

Notable residents

  • Danielle Catanzariti
  • Bryn Coudraye
  • Jacqui Delaney
  • Paul Berryman
  • Ben Dougall
  • Donald Dunstan (governor)
  • Stephen Edward Foster
  • Jo Hill
  • James McRae
  • Simon Overland
  • Clement Semmler
  • James Smith
  • Ben Wilden
  • Chad Wingard
  • Peter O'Brien (actor)
  • Alby Mangels
  • Alex Bolt
  • Deadly Nannas (Ngarrindjeri singers)

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