Geographic Characteristics of sub regions in the MDB

Characteristics of
sub regions in the
Sub Regions
in the MDB
Key Skills and knowledge
• Definition of a region
• Identification and classification of
selected regions
The upper Darling
• Majority of Australia's Cotton Industry
• 91% located along tributaries of the upper
Upper Darling
Balonne River
The Lower Darling
• Arid
• 6 million Hectares
• Native Vegetation (Mallee, salt bush, red gum)
• Mungo National Park, Walls of china, Willandra
lakes World Heritage Area provide records of
Indigenous life
The Lower Darling cont..
Mungo National Park
Menindee lakes store water for
irrigation and for Broken hill
Wine grapes
Pleistocene human footprints –
Willandra Lakes
Lower Darling Cont…
Produce Includes
• Wheat
• Cotton
• Vegetables
• Wool
• Meat
• Wine grapes
• Stone fruits
• Apples
The upper Murray
• The Murray begins its
2375 km journey
• three springs south of
Mt Kosciusko
Upper Murray cont…
• This sub region makes up less than 2% of
the Murray Darling catchment
• But contributes 37% of the rivers total
• Hume and
Dartmouth Dams
control flow and
generate hydro
The Hume Dam
The Riverine Plains
• Flat
• Sediment eroded from
the Great dividing
Range and deposited
• Cadell tilt block changed the course of the
rivers and helped produce Australia's
largest red gum forest (Barmah)
Riverine plains cont…
• Barmah forest occupies 60 000 hectares
• Shepparton and Cobram orchards produce
80% of Australia's canning fruit
• Rice is grown in
Deniliquin and
Wakool regions
Barmah Forest
The Mallee zone and the
Riverland / Sunraysia region
• Murrumbidgee and
Darling rivers join the
• Semi Arid region
• Sandy soils, dunes, slat
lakes, shrubs, sparse
distribution of trees
The Mallee, Riverland,
Sunraysia region cont…….
• Ancient sea deposited large amounts of
salt, present in soil and ground water
Extensive Irrigation allows:
Citrus fruits
Stone fruit
Confluence of
Murrumbidgee and darling
The Murray Gorge
• River has cut through
Hard limestone
• The Valley is 1.5 -2 km
• 30 – 40 meters deep
• Vertical cliffs and
elongated wetlands
The Murray Gorge cont…
• The gorge is approximately 280 km long
• The regional water table and river
• Salty water enters the river through
aquifers exposed in the cliff face
• The river turns sharply at Morgan
The lower Murray, the lower
lakes and the Coorong
• Wetlands have been
drained and reclaimed
for pasture and dairying
• At Goolwa, barrages
prevent salt water from
extending upstream
The lower Murray, the lower
lakes and the Coorong cont….
• The barrages also keep water levels high
enough for irrigation
• The river enters the lower lakes and finally
the southern ocean
Mouth of the Murray and the Coorong
The Coorong
• Some water flows into the Coorong
• The Coorong is a 140 km lagoon behind
the coastal dunes