The RDA Murraylands and Riverland Region is located in central-east South Australia, between 40 and 250 kilometres east of the Adelaide CBD. The RDA Murraylands and Riverland Region is bounded by Unincorporated South Australia in the north, the Victorian border in the east, the Tatiara District Council area, the Kingston District Council area and the Southern Ocean in the south, and the Alexandrina Council area, the District Council of Mount Barker area, the Adelaide Hills Council area, the Barossa Council area, the Light Regional Council area and the Regional Council of Goyder area in the west.
The RDA Murraylands and Riverland Region includes eight municipalities: the Berri Barmera Council area, the Coorong District Council area, the District Council of Karoonda East Murray area, the District Council of Loxton Waikerie area, the Mid Murray Council area, the Rural City of Murray Bridge, the Renmark Paringa Council area and the Southern Mallee District Council area.
The RDA Murraylands and Riverland Region is predominantly rural, with townships at Barmera, Berri, Loxton, Mannum, Murray Bridge, Renmark and Waikerie. The Region is also home to numerous smaller townships and settlements, including Blanchetown, Cadell, Callington, Cobdogla, Coonalpyn, Glossop, Jervois, Karoonda, Kingston on Murray, Lameroo, Loveday, Lyrup, Mannum, Meningie, Moorook, Morgan, Mypolonga, Paringa, Pinnaroo, Swan Reach, Tailem Bend, Tintinara, Truro, Wellington, Woodland and Woods Point. Land is used largely for agriculture, horticulture and viticulture, particularly grain growing, wool production, dairy farming, citrus and fruit and grape growing, with some nut, berry and vegetable growing. The Region encompasses a total land area of about 36,000 square kilometres.
The original inhabitants of the RDA Murraylands and Riverland Region were the Naralte, Nganguraku, Ngarkat, Ngarrindjeri, Ngawait and Wergaia Aboriginal people.
European settlement of the area dates from the 1830s, with land used mainly for sheep and cattle grazing. Population was minimal until the 1850s. Growth took place from the late 1800s into the early 1900s, spurred by the opening of railway lines, growth in farming and industry, river trade and the development of irrigation. Many small townships were established, particularly around the railway stations. Land then became used more for grain growing, vineyards and fruit growing. An Internment Camp was established at Loveday in 1941, housing up to 5,400 internees and prisoners of war and 1,500 Australian Military personnel, until its closure in 1946. Most rural areas declined in population from the 1960s, while the urban centre of Murray Bridge expanded. The population of the Region generally increased marginally from the early 1990s, rising from under 66,000 in 1991 to over 67,000 in 2011, with most of this growth in the Rural City of Murray Bridge.
Major features of the Region include Coorong National Park, Murray River National Park, the Murray River, numerous Conservation Parks (Bakara, Billiatt, Brookfiel, Carcuma, Cooltong, Ferries-McDonald, Karte, Kinchina, Lowan, Maize Island Lagoon, Marne Valley, Martin Washpool, Messent, Monarto, Monarto Woodlands, Morgan, Mount Boothby, Mount Rescue, Ngarkat, Ngaut Ngaut, Peebinga, Pike River, Pooginook, Poonthie Ruwi - Riverdale, Ridley, Salt Lagoon Islands, Scorpion Springs, Swan Reach and White Dam), The Coorong, Ajax Achilles Lake, Lake Albert, Lake Alexandrina, Lake Bonney, Hart Lagoon, Wachtels Lagoon, Chowilla Game Reserve, Moorook Game Reserve, Mud Islands Game Reserve, Loch Luna Game Reserve, the Murray Bridge Town Centre, Murray Bridge Marketplace, Riverland Central Plaza Shopping Centre, Renmark Square Shopping Centre, various river cruises and paddle steamers, Bella Lavender Estate, Monarto Zoo, Mulga’s Wildlife Sanctuary & Park, Old Tailem Town, The Village Historic Loxton, Point Malcolm Lighthouse, Ruston’s Roses, Flinders University (School of Nursing & Midwifery Campus Renmark), TAFE SA (Berri and Murray Bridge Campuses), Camp Coorong, The Bend Motorsport Park, Murray Bridge Speedway, various beaches, the Great Southern Rail (The Overland Train), and numerous golf clubs, parks and reserves, hospitals, museums, galleries and wineries.
The RDA Murraylands and Riverland Region is served by the South Eastern Freeway, the Dukes Highway, the Karoonda Highway, the Mallee Highway, the Princes Highway and the Sturt Highway.
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