Berri, South Australia
Looking over Berri and the Murray River from the scenic lookout
|Population||4,103 (2011 Census)|
|Elevation||31 m (102 ft)|
|Location||238 km (148 mi) from Adelaide|
|LGA(s)||Berri Barmera Council|
Berri is a town in the Riverland region of South Australia. It is 238 kilometres north-east of Adelaide, the capital of the state of South Australia. It is primarily an agricultural and viticultural town on the north bank of the Murray River. It is the original home of a juice company, Berri Ltd.
The name "Berri" is from the local Aboriginal tribe, Meri, meaning "a wide bend in the river". The area was first explored by European settlers when Charles Sturt navigated the Murray River. Its first impetus for settlement came when paddle steamers came down the River Murray and a refuelling stop was developed. This was to become Berri. The area was also part of Cobdogla Station.
In 1910, irrigation was established and Berri was proclaimed as a town in 1911. Irrigation subsequently led to the establishment of vineyards and fruit orchards (such as citrus, apricots and peaches). A distillery was established in 1918 and rail arrived in 1928. In 1943, "Berri Juices" (Berri Ltd) were first produced. By the 1950s, Berri and other Riverland towns dominated the local economy with fruit and their products.
Transport from one side of the Murray to the other consisted of two parallel ferries. These were replaced by a bridge in 1997 which was opened by the Premier John Olsen. It is the largest of its type in South Australia. Over 13,000 people attended the opening creating the biggest crowd ever brought together in the town. The bridge cost $17 million after 30 years of lobbying. The bridge spans the Murray River between Berri and Loxton. Travelling from one side of the region to the other can now be done in less than 30 minutes.
Climate and geography
Berri exists in a semi-arid location, above Goyder's Line. Berri is surrounded by mallee scrub. It is 31 metres above sea level. Berri has a dry mediterranean climate with seasonal temperatures a few degrees above Adelaide's temperatures. The average winter daily maximum temperature is 15.5 °C in July and the average summer daily maximum temperature is 31.1 °C in January. Average rainfall of Berri is 262.0 millimetres. The weather patterns are similar to those of Adelaide.
Berri is a multicultural town with a café and a hotel on the riverside, a main street that overlooks the river and other shopping facilities elsewhere in the town, such as the Riverland Plaza.
The Berri Visitors Centre shares a spot on the waterfront at the bottom of Vaughan Terrace with the Alba cafe. This is a popular gathering point for Berri professionals and tourists alike, not undue to its waterfront location, alfresco dining and proximity to the visitors centre itself.
The river itself offers fishing, waterskiing and boating. A boat launching marina is located opposite the Berri caravan park on the waterfront. The Martin's Bend wetland offers educational walk and water sports. Nearby is the "Katarapko" section of the Murray River National Park which is a popular area for camping, birdwatching, canoeing and bushwalking.
A past local tourist attraction was the Big Orange, it offered a three-storey high observation deck over the plains and river. The facility also offered souvenirs, refreshments and local produce. Unfortunately, this has since closed. Development ideas for the future of the site include an orchid nursery, waterfall, butterfly house, tropical garden and bird cages.
Horticulture, in particular oranges and grapes is still strong in the area. Berri is situated in an area of 3000 hectares of irrigated fruit orchards. Secondary industries include fruit packing, fruit juice, and wine.
Other events held in Berri are the popular annual Riverland Wine and Food Festival and Tour of Riverland Cycling
Art and Culture
To get your culture fix, the Country Arts SA River Lands Gallery is a must-see in Berri. With a new exhibition each month, with touring visual arts shows and Riverland based artists. Berri also has some beautiful public art work, like the Riverland Vietnam & Post WWII veteran’s war memorial, the Aboriginal dreamtime mural underneath the Berri Bridge, and Jimmy James Memorial on the Berri riverfront. Jimmy James was a famous blacktracker, who was born around 1910 and belonged to the Pitjantjatjara people. He moved to the Riverland in the 1940s and took his name from his equally famous father-in-law. He was used extensively by the Police in South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Northern Territory, to track felons, escapees and missing people. A monument is sculptured out of two slabs of finely polished back granite and engraved with images of birds and animals – a part of Jimmy’s spirit world.
Born in Berri
- Russell Ebert, champion Australian rules footballer
- Rhys Stanley, AFL player with St Kilda Football Club
- Luke Saville, professional tennis player
- Kate Morton, author
Archie Roach, singer/songwriter
Ruby Hunter, singer/songwriter
Hayden Stoeckel, Olympic swimmer
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Berri (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2014-05-28.
- The Manning Index of South Australian History
- "Bureau of Meteorology: Berri Weather Statistics". Retrieved 2006-04-11.
- Glen O'Brien (2006-01-31). "The Big Orange, sold, sold, sold". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 2006-02-11. Retrieved 2006-04-11.
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