Australia has some mighty rivers, but for size of the island continent, the rivers are not in the same class as the mighty rivers elsewhere in the world. European settlement and more recently, climate change, has placed an large burden on our rivers. Our mightiest river, The Murray, almost dried up at the its mouth during the elongated dry period around 2009. Having said this, it was not unusual for the river mouth to dry up prior to 1800, but this was usually coupled with a rich brackish wetland behind the barrier and regular flushing when the river levels were high. Today, due to control upstream, when the mouth dries, the wetland also suffers dramatically. After the Great Barrier Reef, the Murray-Darling system degradation is the biggest environmental problem Australia faces.
I’d like to add some lesser river photos here, mainly ones I live near.
Below is a merge of the Snowy River at McKillops Bridge in Eastern Victoria. The Snowy River’s headwaters are in the Snowy Mountains. If you have seen photographs I have added of Lake Eucembene, it is this area. In the 1950’s the headwaters of the Snowy were harnessed for irrigation and hydro electricity. Most of any excess water was directed to turbines on the western and northern side of Snowys, or the inland side of the divide. As the Snowy lies on the eastern and southern side of the divide, this engineering marvel deprived it of regular spring thaw flooding. The photograph was taken in November and the river is comparatively low. Having said that, my fellow walker and I thought we may be able to make a B-line to the car by rock hopping or wading across the river. When we got to the river, it was certainly not an option.
I’ll never forget this day, because when we arrived at the bridge I could hear the sound of motor which was unlike a truck. It was a constant rev, not going up and down gears like you would expect with a truck. Then through the trees towards the river I caught sight of something moving quite quickly, and looked like a mast. It was a cessna flying along the valley which then flew beneath the bridge then it had to make a very sharp incline to get up over the hill you see on the right of this picture. What a dare devil.