Goolwa Barrages

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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 km upstream from the mouth of the River Murray, approximately as far inland as 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.

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


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. The Mundoo Barrage connects Hindmarsh Island with Mundoo Island. The Boundary Creek Barrage connects Mundoo Island with Ewe Island. The Ewe Island Barrage connects Ewe Island with Tauwitchere Island. 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Murray Darling Basin Commission, "[1]" Retrieved 17 Nov 2012
  2. ^ "Lower Lakes Barrages". Murray-Darling Basin Authority. Retrieved 9 January 2015.