This article is about the locality. For the wine region in South Australia, see Riverland wine region.
South Australia

Paringa Bridge over the Murray River
Population 41, 802 (2008)[1]
State electorate(s) Chaffey, Stuart
Federal Division(s) Barker

The Riverland is a region of South Australia. It covers an area of 9386 km² along the Murray River from where it flows into South Australia from New South Wales and Victoria downstream to Blanchetown. The major town centres are Renmark, Berri, Loxton, Waikerie, Barmera and Monash, along with many minor townships, the population is approximately 35,000 people.

The Riverland is located 1.75 to 3 hours (or 150 to 280 kilometres (93 to 174 mi)) north east of Adelaide, and 90 minutes west (or 120 to 250 kilometres (75 to 155 mi)) from Mildura, Victoria via the Sturt Highway.

The Riverland has a Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and relatively mild winters, with temperatures a few degrees above that of Adelaide. The average summer temperature is 32.5 °C, with a winter average of 16.2 °C and an average rainfall of 260.6 millimetres.[2]


The Riverland’s history is strongly linked to irrigation and the ability to grow a crop, offering a warm Mediterranean climate, vast acres of fertile soil and a readily available water source (the Murray River).

The first district to be established in the region was Renmark in 1887 by the Chaffey Brothers, who also established the Mildura Irrigation District in the neighbouring upstream Region of Sunraysia. Other settlements followed in the 1890s at Holder, Kingston, Lyrup, Moorook, Murtoa, New Era, New Renmark, Pyap, Ramco and Waikerie.[3]

Some of these irrigation schemes were developed as a government response to the economic depression of the 1890s, where the aim was to keep energy, talent and capital from leaving South Australia using Village Settlement Schemes.[3]

In 1901 a Royal Commission recommended that the settlements be subdivided and leased to individual settlers instead of village associations and over time most of these areas became government irrigation areas.[3]

Soldier settlement schemes were later allotted for returned servicemen at Berri, Chaffey, Cadell and Cobdogla from 1917, with Loxton and Cooltong from 1946. In 1956 and 1961 the privately developed Sunlands/Golden Heights schemes were established. As pumping technology became more affordable and efficient more recent development occurred through private irrigation, where irrigators operate their own pumping infrastructure from the River. Water trade enabled further growth in these properties from the early 1990s with the Riverland purchasing water from pasture users in upstream states or from the downstream lower Murray region to expand the winegrape and almond industries. Some of this development was funded through managed investment schemes. Now the majority of irrigation is from private infrastructure.

The Central Irrigation Trust manages most of the community supplied districts with a total of 13,000 ha. There is also the Renmark Irrigation Trust, which supplies water to 4,700 ha. All the water is supplied from the River Murray. Many of the towns were established for the re-settlement of soldiers after their return from World War I or World War II. Most towns were established as separate irrigation districts.[3]

During World War II, the region hosted an internment camp for people of Japanese,[4] German and Italian origin or descent. This camp was based at Loveday but little remains today to testify to its existence.


The Riverland’s economy is driven by primary production.[5] The region has sustainable comparative advantages for high value irrigated horticulture including soils, climate, reliability of water supply, best practice water supply systems, ability to grow a diversity of crops, fruit fly free status and proximity to markets.[3]

The Riverland is Australia’s largest wine producing region, growing over half (63% in 2014)[6] of South Australia’s wine grapes. Most major Australian wine companies source a significant amount of bulk wine from the Riverland.

In 2013 the region produced 22 per cent of Australia’s wine grape crush with approximately 21,000 hectares under wine grapes which was produced by over 1,000 growers.[6]

The Riverland is also a significant almond and stone fruit growing region, producing 18 per cent of Australia’s almonds and 7 per cent of Australia’s fresh stone fruit.[6]

Riverland juices and milk drinks are stocked on supermarket shelves across Australia and internationally.[6]

The Agriculture industry is the largest employer in the area.[5] There are approximately 3000 farm based businesses in the Riverland Region.


The Riverland is located on the main eastern state transit link, which connects Adelaide to the eastern states.

Road: The Sturt Highway, a part of the National Highway Network, is the major highway connecting the Riverland Region with interstate and overseas freight connections at Adelaide’s Outer Harbor and Adelaide Airport. Main roads provide regional access between towns, as well as alternative routes to major regional areas such as Murray Bridge.[7]

Air: Renmark has a regional airport that provides services for light planes, and potential for future expansion of commuter services. Waikerie airport has a sealed runway and is an operating airfield.[7]


The region is known for its natural wonders, with the opportunity to go for guided and self guided walks, horse-riding or bike riding (both mountain biking or cycling), canoe or kayak the river and creeks, or enjoy Lake Bonney by sailing, zorbing or windsurfing. Lake Bonney was also the site where back on 23 November 1964, Don Campbell achieved the Australian Water Speed Record of 216 miles per hour (348 km/h) in his boat, the BlueBird.

The region also has a vibrant Motorsports culture with options for 4-wheel driving, trail bike or motocross riding, go-kart and speedway.


Renmark Rose Festival

Renmark is well known for its annual Rose Festival, which is 10 days long and held in October each year.[8] The very first 'Rose Week' was run in 1994, and was the brainchild of Eithne Sidhu who collaborated with David Ruston, who own's Australia's largest rose garden (27 acres) and houses the National Rose Collection.[8]

Many of the town's parks and gardens are especially prepared for the festival, which includes an ambassador program and many open gardens throughout the Riverland. People come from all over Australia to visit and enjoy the 10 day program of events in addition to the many open private gardens.

Loxton Christmas Light's Festival

Starting with a single Christmas light's display out on a property in Loxton North, the Loxton Christmas Light's Festival today incorporates many homes throughout the township and attracts thousands of visitors to the region over the period from November through December each year. It all started when Peter Mangelsdorf was inspired to start a small Christmas display known as Christmas Wonderland. The 250m frontage of Peter's property is filled with a magnificent display of Christmas lights and images, ranging from Bethlehem scenes to popular characters dressed for the festive season.[9]

Riverland Food and Wine Festival

Held in mid October each year the Riverland Food and Wine has cemented itself as the regions premium event for regional food and wine. The event showcases local wines, ales, ciders, spirits in addition to local cuisine. set on the banks of the mighty Murray River, the day includes entertainment and has become a popular event with locals and visitors alike.[10]


Destination Riverland is the Riverland’s tourism body,[11] with this industry worth around $148 million annually.[12]


The region is represented at a State level in the House of Assembly by local Liberal Member for Chaffey, Tim Whetstone MP. Federally, Liberal Member for Barker, Tony Pasin MP is the region’s representative in the House of Representatives. Local, Anne Ruston is a Federal Senator for South Australia.



Primary Level


  • Waikerie Primary School
  • Ramco Primary School
  • Morgan Primary School
  • Kingston-on-Murray Primary School
  • Moorook Primary School
  • Cobdogla Primary School
  • Barmera Primary School
  • Glossop Primary School
  • Monash Primary School
  • Berri Primary School
  • Renmark Primary School
  • Renmark West Primary School
  • Renmark North Primary School
  • Renmark Loxton Primary School
  • Loxton North Primary School

Private and religious

  • Waikerie Lutheran Primary School
  • St Joseph’s Primary School, Barmera
  • Rivergum College, Glossop
  • Our Lady of the River Catholic School, Berri
  • St Joseph’s School
  • Loxton Lutheran School

Senior Schooling

There are four public high schools across the Riverland region:

Further education

TAFE SA has a centrally located campus in Berri.[13]


The predominant natural environment consists of River Red Gum and Black Box forests that line the river banks and flood plains, as well as steep cliffs. The Riverland is abundant in wildlife, the more common species encountered being Pelicans, Kookaburras, Brush Tail Possums and Perons Tree Frogs. Less common species include Koalas (introduced to Renmark), Bush Stone Curlews and Carpet Pythons (rated 'vulnerable' to extinction in the region).

Riverlanders share an interest in the health of the River Murray.[14] The Riverland region lies in the southern part of the Murray Darling Basin where the broad River Murray floodplain and its river meanders for approximately 400 km through red sandy Mallee dune landscapes. Several conservation reserves protect biodiversity and provide for conservation and wise use activities.[7]

Protected area associated with the River Murray include Murray River National Park, Loch Luna Game Reserve and Moorook Game Reserve. Mallee landscape reserves include Chowilla Regional Reserve, Billiatt Conservation Park, Pooginook Conservation Park, Calperum Station and several privately owned reserves including Birds Australia’s Gluepot Reserve. In the river valley, there are several hundred wetlands including two Ramsar wetlands of international importance — Banrock Station Wetland Complex and the Riverland Wetland which encompasses Chowilla floodplain, and other wetlands including Pike River basin, Gurra Gurra wetlands and Katarapko Creek.[7]





See also


  1. "National Regional Profile: Riverland (Statistical Subdivision), Population/People". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 19 November 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  2. "Riverland Weather". Destination Riverland. Destination Riverland. 2016-09-30. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "SA Riverland Community Profile" (PDF). http://www.mdba.gov.au/sites/default/files/archived/guide_pbp/AppendixC_SA_Riverland_community_profile.pdf. Murray Darling Basin Authority. 8 October 2010. Retrieved 2016-09-29. External link in |website= (help)
  4. "Loveday Project: Japanese civilians interned in Australia". Wordpress.com. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  5. 1 2 "Live, Work, Play, Invest Riverland" (PDF). http://www.rdamr.org.au/fileadmin/user_upload/Riverland/Publications/RDA_LWP_PDF_Version_NOv_2014.pdf. Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland Inc. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2016. External link in |website= (help)
  6. 1 2 3 4 "Mapping Capability and Connections Report" (PDF). http://www.rdamr.org.au/fileadmin/user_upload/Riverland/documents/Mapping_Capability_and_Connections_Report.pdf. Australian Government, Department of Industry. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2016. External link in |website= (help)
  7. 1 2 3 4 "Riverland Regional prospectus" (PDF). http://www.rdamr.org.au/fileadmin/user_upload/Murraylands/Docs/Riverland_Prospectus_v6.pdf. Riverland Futures taskforce. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 2016-09-30. External link in |website= (help)
  8. 1 2 "Ruston's Roses". Renmark Rose Festival. Renmark Rose Festival. 2016-09-30. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  9. Peta, Martin (17 December 2011). "Christmas Light's at Loxton". ABC Riverland. ABC Riverland. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  10. Jane, Kuerschner (2016-09-30). "Wine and food showcase promises…. more, more, more". The Murray Pioneer. The Murray Pioneer. Retrieved 2016-09-30.
  11. "Destination Riverland". Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  12. "The Value of Tourism in the Riverland" (PDF). South Australian Tourism Commission. South Australian Tourism Commission. 31 December 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  13. "Aboriginal Access Centre delivering new courses at Berri Campus". TAFE SA. TAFE SA. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  14. Sydney Morning Herald (2008-07-02). "Xenophon want help for Murray River". Fairfax. Retrieved 2008-07-02.

External links

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Coordinates: 34°15′S 140°28′E / 34.250°S 140.467°E / -34.250; 140.467

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