Our History


1944
  •  A Murray Valley Irrigation League meeting at Corowa adopts the name Murray Valley Development League for a proposed new development body.
  •  Over 300 delegates, including Dr HV Evatt, attend the founding conference of the Murray Valley Development League at Yarrawonga on 15 & 16 August. The new league   will promote inland development, decentralisation and encourage communities to 'be conscious of their common heritage, the Murray River'
  •  The League's first Executive Council meet in Echuca, 25 councils in South Australia join the League.
1946
  •  The League sees its prime role as securing a co-ordinating authority for the Murray Valley.
  •  An office is opened in Albury, the first edition of the League's Murray Valley Newsletter is printed.
  •  The League initiates media campaigns, tours and displays to promote the Murray Valley.
1949
  • Cr John Gorton of Kerang launches the League's three-year battle to have some of the Snowy River diverted into the Murray River. The League starts to advocate to double the capacity of Lake Hume.
1950
  • The Murrumbidgee Valley Water Users Association and the League establish the Murray-Murrumbidgee Development Committee to ensure the Snowy Scheme is completed.
  • A League conference at Echuca helps to improve management practices for the Barmah-Millewa forests.
1951
  • The League conducts the first of 26 annual tours to the Snowy Mountains Scheme to foster public support.
1952
  • The League acknowledges that its prime aim of securing a co-ordinating authority for the Murray Valley has failed and considers disbanding. At a special meeting in Bright, representatives of 63 member councils approve the League to continue to be 'an active fighting force' and pursue other development issues.
  • The League's newsletter, renamed the Riverlander, becomes a magazine consisting of 24 pages.
  •  South Australia's Parliament amends a law, allowing SA councils to contribute funds to the League.
1953
  • The League's bushfire appeal raises 4,373 pounds for distribution in several Upper Murray shires.
  • The League supports a proposal by Carrathool Shire to establish a university in the Riverina and works for 15 years to establish the Riverina College of Advanced Education.
1955
  • The League publishes a 91-page Murray Valley Reference Handbook for schools - 28,000 copies are sold.
  • The League commissions a report on the upper catchments and starts a 12-year campaign to stop uncontrolled cattle grazing and burning above the 4,700 foot contour of the Murray catchment.
  • The League registers 73 Local Government members.
1956
  • The League starts a campaign to promote native tree planting along the Murray River.
  • A branch of the League is established in South Australia, a provisional office is established in Adelaide.
1957
  • Sir William Hudson publicly acknowledges 'that without the continuous efforts of the League, there would be no Snowy Scheme today.'
1958
  • The League publishes a booklet Decentralisation: The Development of Your Community, and pursues the establishment of growth centres and decentralisation.
  • The League holds conferences at Echuca and Albury to highlight border anomalies.
1960
  • The League establishes the Murray Valley Development League Tourism Promotion Council to promote the Murray Valley in a comprehensive and co-ordinated way.
  • A proposal to build a dam at Chowilla in South Australia is supported by the League.
  • The League advocates for new irrigation settlements at Buronga, West Corurgan and Murrakool.
1962
  • In Wagga, the League helps establish the National Council for Balanced Development, to support decentralisation in regional Australia.
  • Publication of the Murray Valley Tourist Guide commences as 'the first guide and tourist map to be published for an Australian region'.
1965
  • Despite concerns over the impact of tourism on the environment, the League promotes speedboat marathons on the Murray River between Echuca and Yarrawonga in 1964 and 1965.
  • The Federal Minister for National Development opens the League's 21st conference at Yarrawonga.
  • The League begins a 25-year campaign for a 'statutory authority to control the River Murray'.
1966
  • With support from the ANZ Bank and NSW Government, the League commissions a study on bringing natural gas to the Murray Valley.
1967
  • The League accelerates its push for 'an interstate Murray Valley authority' to control the Murray River - some members consider it 'the greatest initiative the League ever proposed.'
1971
  • The League co-hosts a National Development Conference in Canberra, reporting that the conference 'fundamentally changed the direction of Australian development for the remainder of the century'.
  • The League actively works to establish growth centres at Albury-Wodonga and Monarto.
  • The League starts to focus on water quality (rather than quantity), and undertakes studies on salinity, drainage and water allocations.
1976
  • The League switches its support from a dam at Chowilla in South Australia to the Dartmouth Dam in northeast Victoria. It also starts a campaign to seek compensation for Mitta Valley landholders.
1979
  • The organisation changes its name to the Murray Valley League for Development and Conservation.
  • The League introduces cash flow budgeting and costs are 'cut to the bone'. A number of League members become guarantors to ensure financial obligations are met.
1983
  • Following a change to the League's constitution, non-riparian councils in Adelaide become members, the first meeting of Region 7 is held in Adelaide..
  • The League forges an alliance with the River Murray Commission to more strongly promote the need for an authority to replace the Commission and change its focus to water quality.
  • The League embraces a philosophy of sustainable catchment management years before it became popular.
1985
  • The Riverlander magazine is replaced by the Riverlander Notes newsletter.
1986
  • The League undertakes a major salinity awareness program, resulting in the establishment of one of the first Landcare groups in Victoria.
  • South Australia's Save the Murray Campaign merges with the League, strengthening the League's case for a Murray Valley authority.
  • A new project to encourage school curriculum that reflects the Murray Valley's natural resources, initiates education and awareness projects on natural resource management over many years, including brochures, posters, and student forums.
1987
  • The League is publicly congratulated for its role in establishing the Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council.
  • The League provides a representative for the Council's new Community Advisory Committee.
  • A tree planting award is established, followed some years later by a Local Government environmental award.
1988
  • The League's National President reports that at last 'the League has a balanced budget.'
1991
  • The League opens an office in Swan Hill, and develops a corporate plan & policy manual.
1992
  • The NSW Western Division of Shires joins the League, initiating new memberships along the Darling River.
1993
  • The League changes its name to Murray Darling Association.
  • A water use and conservation education program is developed for the Adelaide metropolitan area.
1994
  • The Governor General opens the Association's 50th conference at Yarrawonga, with membership of 108 councils, four patrons, 29 sponsors, 16 small business members, and 270 individual members.
1995
  • The Association initiates and conducts a National Carp Summit in Renmark.
  • The Association plays a key role in the Landcare Challenge that plants one million trees in the Murray Valley.
  • The Association starts to become proactive, identifying issues and developing projects to address them.
1996
  • The Association establishes the National Carp Task Force to promote a better approach for carp management. The national carp Cyprinus newsletter is first published.
  • The Australian Local Government Association and the CRC for Freshwater Ecology sign memorandums of understanding with the Association.
  • The Association arranges meetings to find funds for Local Government involvement in Native Title litigation.
  • After several years of lobbying by the Association, the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre establishes a Lower Murray laboratory at Mildura.
1997
  •  New Association regions are established along the Darling catchment.
  • The Board meets at Parliament House in Canberra.
  • Two ANU students undertake a research project on Local Government and natural resource management.
  • A major Association study re-examines the interception of saline water in the Chowilla area.
  • The Association holds a workshop for Local Government on the Murray-Darling Basin cap and environmental flows
1998
  • The Association starts to obtain Natural Heritage Trust and other funds to support various projects, including rehabilitating Morgan Wetlands, a pest fish action plan, carp management at Pilby Creek, Murray Mysteries, a mobile carp processing study, dryland salinity reform, Waterwise, and various education activities.
  • The concept of developing a Murray Valley Trail begins with a feasibility study.
  • The Association coordinates a major study on linking regional development and the environment.
1999
  • The Association receives a Gold Rivercare Award from the NSW Government for its work on carp.
  • The Murray Darling Environmental Foundation is launched to support the Association's environmental aims.
  • The Association commences studies on the ecological impacts of houseboats on the River Murray.
2000
  • The Association launches a salinity assessment service for councils.
  • The Victorian, SA, NSW and Commonwealth governments provide funds to plan the Murray Valley Trail.
  • The Association holds a workshop on greenhouse and carbon credits at Barham.
2001
  • Over 320 delegates attend the Association's National Local Government Salinity Summit at Moama.
  • The Association initiates a range of youth forums on natural resource management.
  • The study on ecological impacts of houseboats on the Murray River is undertaken in NSW and Victoria.
2002
  • The Association launches its web site and actively promotes a new Murray-Darling Basin Native Fish Strategy .
  • A major scoping study on Local Government's role in integrated catchment management in the Murray-Darling Basin is completed by the Association.
  • The Association coordinates completion of the Swan Hill Regional Flood Strategy Action Plan.
2003
  • The Association conducts the National Environmental Flows Conference for Local Government at Mildura.
  • The savethemurray.com website project is launched.
  • The Association runs workshops on The Living Murray for Local Government and the community.
  • The Pest Animal Control CRC asks the Association to participate in the new Daughterless Carp project and run the community participation component of the program.
2004
  • A new Region is established along the Murrumbidgee Valley.
  • The Murray Darling Environmental Foundation reaches its first funding goal with five major donors.
  • The first section of the Murray Valley Trail is officially launched at Renmark.
  • A water forum in Goondiwindi attracts new members in southern Queensland.
  • Strong links and partnership projects are developed with catchment management authorities
2005
  • The Association runs the first of a series of study tours of the lower Murray.
  • A greater emphasis is placed on the Darling River and its catchments.
  •  New Regions are declared around Dubbo in NSW and in the northern Yorke Peninsula/Clare Valley/ upper Spencer Gulf area in South Australia.
  •  Visits to establishment of Region 11 in Queensland and northern NSW – Forum at Tenterfield
2006
  •  The Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council appoints two Association members to its Community Advisory Committee.
  •  The Association conducts Living Murray engagement activities for Local Government & young people.
  •  Region 11 is established in southern Queensland.
  •  The Association fights to keep Snowy Hydro in public ownership and presents an overview of Local Government weed issues to the Federal Government.
  •  The 2006 AGM adopts a new Constitution and new model for the National Board.
  •  The first section of the Murray Valley Trail in NSW and Victoria is opened.
  •  The Association launches a program to commemorate the 1956 flood along the Darling and Murray rivers.
  •  Membership of the Association includes 100 councils in NSW, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland, two corporate patrons, 11 patrons, 12 sponsors, 16 small business members, and 260 individual members.
  •  The new Invasive Animals CRC asks the Association to undertake the community engagement process for its new carp and alien fish program.
2007
  •  NSW Principals Curriculum Group, Albury TAFE, NSW - September 2006.
  •  Australian Plants Society, Wangaratta, VIC - September 2006.
  •  AGM of State Council of VIRFISH, Beaumaris, VIC - September 2006.
  •  Boundary Bend Progress Association, VIC - October 2006
  •  Meeting of Border Regional Organisation of Councils, Inverell, NSW - November 2006
  •  Wakool Shire delegation to discuss water crisis with ministers, Canberra - November 2006
  •  Urban Rivers Symposium, Adelaide, SA - November 2006
  •  Delivering the National Water Initiative: Understanding the Social and Industry Dimensions, Can berra, ACT - December 2006.
  •  Murray Irrigation land and water reporting day, Deniliquin - Feb 2007.
  •  Australian Landcare Council workshop on water scarcity and NRM in Australia, Canberra, ACT February 2007.
  •  Towards a Healthy Basin forum, Sydney - April 2007.
  •  Bureau of Meteorology Australian Cloud Seeding Research Symposium, Melbourne - May 2007.
  •  Annual review of the IACRC Freshwater Products and Strategies Program, ACT - May 2007
2008
  •  ANCID Annual Conference, Bundaberg, QLD - August 2007
  •  National Plan for Water Security Stakeholder Group meeting, Canberra - August 2007
  •  VEAC River Red Gum investigation forum, Swan Hill, VIC - August 2007
  •  Native Fish Forum, Mildura, VIC - August 29007
  •  VEAC River Red Gum investigation forum – Koondrook VIC - September 2007
  •  Horticulture Australia Council Disaster Relief Package meeting, Canberra ACT – September 2007
  •  NSW Principals Curriculum Group, Albury TAFE, NSW - September 2006
  •  Balranald Shire Council Drought Forum, Balranald NSW - October 2007
  •  Native Fish Strategy workshop on emergency fish responses and development of a nationally consistent protocol, Adelaide, SA – November 2007
  •  Border Regional Organisation of Councils, Goondiwindi, QLD – November 2007
  •  Advisory Group on Hume to Yarrawonga Waterway Management, Corowa, NSW – November 2007
  •  CSIRO launch of the sustainable water yields report for the Ovens catchment, Melbourne – Jan 2008
  •  Murray Irrigation Ltd Reporting Workshop, Deniliquin – February 2008
  •  NSW Murray Wetlands Working Group Thiess River prize Presentation, Deniliquin – February 2008
  •  Victoria's Rural Levee Review, Swan Hill – February 2008
  •  Post-COAG Consultation, Adelaide – April 2008
  •  Post-COAG Consultation, Melbourne – April 2008
  •  Irrigation Australia Ltd Annual Conference, Melbourne – May 2008
  •  CSIRO launch of the sustainable water yields report for the Goulburn-Broken, Campaspe, Avoca and Loddon catchments, Melbourne – May 2008
  •  COAG water reform stakeholder information session, Melbourne – May 2008
  •  Central Murray Environment Festival, Swan Hill – June 2008
2009
  •  Geography Teachers Association of Victoria Annual Conference, Melbourne – August 2008
  •  State Conference of Turf and Landscape Gardens Association, Morphettville – August 2008
  •  National Plan for Water Security Stakeholder Group meeting, Melbourne - August 2008
  •  Coorong and lower lakes workshop, Moama – August 2008
  •  Murray-Darling Basin Commission Native Fish Forum, Canberra - September 2008
  • Premier's Launch of Bio Tech lab, Adelaide – October 2008
  •  Northern Basin natural resource management forum, Canberra – February 2009
  •  Acid Trip – the dilemma of the Lower lakes and seeking solutions, South Australia – March 2009
  •  TORO workshop on creating healthy sport turf using less water, Adelaide – April 2009
  •  Meeting of the Darling River Action Group, Broken Hill – May 2009
  •  Combined annual science review meeting of the Lakes Ecosystem Restoration New Zealand and the Freshwater Products and Strategies Program of the Invasive Animals CRC, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, June 2009.
2010
  •  AGM of Ricegrowers Association of Australia, Deniliquin, NSW – August 2009
  •  Native Fish Forum, Albury, NSW - September 2009
  •  Seventh Annual National Table Grape Growers Technical Conference, Mildura - September 2009
  •  NSW Landcare Awards, Port Macquarie, NSW – September 2009
  •  Regional Local Government Association meeting, Karoonda SA - September 2009
  •  NSW Landcare and Catchment Forum, Port Macquarie, NSW – September 2009
  •  Launch of the Lachlan River Revival program, Forbes, NSW - September 2009
  •  Kitchen Garden Program launch – Burrumbuttock Public School, NSW – October 2009
  •  Murraylands and Riverland Regional Development Boards meeting, Murray Bridge, SA - October 2009.
  •  Ovens River Carp Muster, Wangaratta, VIC – November 2009
  •  Basin Plan Peak Bodies Forum, Canberra, ACT - December 2009
  •  Basin Plan Government and Scientist Forum, Canberra - December 2009
  •  Developing wetland planning tools for SA workshop, Murray Bridge – March 2010
  •  Arrowhead Symposium, Cobram, VIC – March 2010
  •  Basin Plan Stakeholder Forum, Canberra, ACT – April 2010
  •  Developing wetland planning tools for SA workshops, Berri, SA – April 2010
  •  MIA Environmental Champions student workshop, Griffith, NSW – April 2010
2011
  •  AGM of Ricegrowers Association of Australia, Deniliquin, NSW – August 2010
  •  Riverina Principals Annual Conference, Mulwala, NSW – August 2010
  •  Native Fish Strategy Annual Forum, Canberra, ACT – September 2010
  •  Family and Fish Fun Day, Narrandera, NSW – October 2010
  •  Schools First Impact Award workshop, Sydney, NSW – October 2010
  •  Basin Plan Guide Technical Documents Briefing, Canberra, ACT – November 2010
  •  Local Government Forum on Basin Plan Guide, Canberra, ACT – November 2010
  •  Riverina Student Representative Council Conference, Lake Hume, NSW – November 2010
  •  SA Premier's Climate Change Symposium, Adelaide, SA – February 2011
  •  Water Leaders Congress, Sydney, NSW – March 2011
  •  G8 Group of Adelaide Metropolitan Councils, Adelaide, SA – April 2011
  •  Business SA Environment Committee, Adelaide, SA – April 2011
  •  Murrumbidgee Landcare Awards, Wagga Wagga, NSW – May 2011
  •  CEDA Water Forum, Adelaide, SA – May 2011
  •  Murray CMA's Millewa Awards, Mulwala – May 2011
  •  Master Class - Market Solutions program on risk and governance, Adelaide, SA – May 2011
  •  NAB Schools First Teacher Workshop, Wodonga, VIC – May 2011
  •  The First National Conference held in Queensland - Dalby on the Darling Downs
2012
  •  The Riverlander Notes newsletter is replaced by the The Basin Bulletin
  •  The first Queensland Office open for the MDA in August 2012