Broken River (Victoria)

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The Broken River, a minor inland perennial river of the Goulburn Broken catchment, part of the Murray-Darling basin, is located in the alpine and Northern Country/North Central regions of the Australian state of Victoria. The headwaters of the Broken River rise in the western slopes of the Victorian Alps, near Bald Hill and descend to flow into the Goulburn River near Shepparton. The river is impounded by the Nillahcootie Dam to create Lake Nillahcootie and Benalla Dam to create Lake Benalla.

Lake Benalla.jpg
A weir constructed across the Broken River formed Lake Benalla
Map of the Broken River.svg
Course of the Broken River and also the Goulburn River in Victoria
EtymologyIn dry conditions, "broken" into waterholes[1]
Native nameNgurai-illam-wurrung[1]
RegionAlpine and Riverine bioregions (IBRA), Victorian Alps, Northern Country/North Central
Local government areasMansfield, Benalla, Greater Shepparton
Towns and citiesBenalla, SheppartonMooroopna
Physical characteristics
SourceVictorian Alps, Great Dividing Range
 ⁃ locationnear Bald Hill
 ⁃ coordinates36°44′03″S 146°19′20″E / 36.73417°S 146.32222°E / -36.73417; 146.32222
 ⁃ elevation1,190 m (3,900 ft)
Mouthconfluence with the Goulburn River
 ⁃ location
near Shepparton
 ⁃ coordinates
36°23′39″S 145°23′3″E / 36.39417°S 145.38417°E / -36.39417; 145.38417Coordinates: 36°23′39″S 145°23′3″E / 36.39417°S 145.38417°E / -36.39417; 145.38417
 ⁃ elevation
115 m (377 ft)
Length225 km (140 mi)
 ⁃ average9 m3/s (320 cu ft/s)
Basin features
River systemGoulburn Broken catchment,
Murray-Darling basin

Location and featuresEdit

The river rises below Bald Hill on the western slopes of the Victorian Alps, within the Mount Buffalo National Park in the Shire of Mansfield. The river flow generally west, then north, then west passing through or adjacent to the regional cities of Benalla and SheppartonMooroopna, joined by ten minor tributaries, before reaching its confluence with the Goulburn River within Shepparton. The river descends 1,070 metres (3,510 ft) over its 225-kilometre (140 mi) course.[2]

When at maximum capacity, the Broken River is the fastest flowing river in Australia.[citation needed]

The town of Benalla, located adjacent to the river, was known as Broken River into the 1850s. It was the location of the Battle of Broken River.[3]


In an Aboriginal language, the river at its junction with the Goulburn River is named Ngurai-illam-wurrung, meaning "deep pond, lagoon".[1]

The origin of the river's current name is originally thought to be derived from the fact that in dry seasons the river bed is broken into a series of water holes.[1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Broken River: 1785: Historical Information: Ngurai-illam-wurrung". 12 August 2011. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Map of Broken River". Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  3. ^ Bassett, Judith (1989). "The faithfull massacre at the broken river, 1838". Journal of Australian Studies. 13 (Issue 24): 18–34.