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Goolwa Barrage viewed from the walkway - note the discoloured freshwater on the left hand side

The Goolwa Barrages comprise five barrage structures in the channels separating Lake Alexandrina from the sea at the mouth of the River Murray and the Coorong in Australia. They were constructed in order to firstly reduce salinity levels in the lower reaches of the River Murray, Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert and secondly to stabilise the river level, for both upstream irrigation and pumping.

Goolwa Barrage looking towards Hindmarsh Island



Prior to the barrages, during periods of low flow tidal effects and the intrusion of seawater were felt up to 250 kilometres (160 miles) upstream from the mouth of the River Murray, approximately as far inland as the river port at present-day Swan Reach.[1][2]

From the 1900s, with the advent of large irrigation schemes, landowners along the lower reaches of the river strongly urged for the construction of barrages, primarily to keep the water fresh in the lower reaches of the River Murray, as well as Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina.

In 1931, the Murray-Darling Basin Commission authorized the construction of five barrages. Work on the barrages commenced in 1935 and was completed in 1940. South Australia's Engineering and Water Supply Department undertook the works, with costs shared equally by the Governments of South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and the Commonwealth of Australia.


Aerial view of the River Murray barrages, with superimposed text providing locations of Goolwa barrage, Mundoo barrage, Boundary Creek barrage, Ewe Island barrage and Tauwitchere barrage, as viewed from the Coorong towards the Murray Mouth, circa 1940 (State Library of South Australia - PRG-1258/2/546).

The barrage system consists of five barrages extending from Sir Richard Peninsula in the west to Pelican Point on the northern side of the mouth of the Coorong in the east crossing five channels between the mainland and three islands. From west to east, the five barrages are respectively named Goolwa, Mundoo, Boundary Creek, Ewe Island and Tauwitchere. [2]

Goolwa BarrageEdit

The Goolwa Barrage connects Sir Richard Peninsula on the mainland 35°31′43″S 138°48′29″E / 35.528552°S 138.808077°E / -35.528552; 138.808077 with Hindmarsh Island 35°31′24″S 138°48′33″E / 35.523210°S 138.809190°E / -35.523210; 138.809190. The lock in this barrage is approximately 6 m by 30 m.[2]

Mundoo BarrageEdit

The Mundoo Barrage connects Hindmarsh Island with Mundoo Island.[2]

Boundary Creek BarrageEdit

The Boundary Creek Barrage connects Mundoo Island with Ewe Island.[2]

Ewe Island BarrageEdit

The Ewe Island Barrage connects Ewe Island with Tauwitchere Island.[2]

Tauwitchere BarrageEdit

The Tauwitchere Barrage connects Tauwitchere Island with Pelican Point on the mainland. The lock in this barrage is approximately 3.5 m by 13 m.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Murray Darling Basin Commission, ""Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 17 November 2012.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)" Retrieved 17 Nov 2012
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Lower Lakes Barrages". Murray-Darling Basin Authority. Archived from the original on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 9 January 2015.