The Murray Shire region was developed in the 1840s by squatters following the route of the overlanders as they drove cattle from Sydney to Adelaide in the late 1830s. From the 1860s onwards, the selectors, mainly from Victoria, moved onto the squatter's land, their interest agriculture. The settlements of Moama and Mathoura survived over the years as centres for the movement of agriculture produce and the growth of the timber industry. The area covered by the Shire of Murray today is unique. The Cadell Fault, which changed the course of the Murray River about 30,000 years ago traverses the area from north to south. The Murray River system supports one of the largest River Red Gum forests in the world.
Murray Shire Council is composed of nine councillors elected proportionally as a single ward. All councillors are elected for a fixed four-year term of office. The mayor is elected by the councillors at the first meeting of the Council. The most recent election was held on 8 September 2012 and the makeup of the Council is as follows: