Seven Darling River Facts To Read When You're Bored Of Live 'Streams'

Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Sep 08, 2022 By Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Originally Published on Apr 17, 2022
Edited by Lara Simpson
Fact-checked by Sudeshna Nag
You will never get bored reading these beautiful Darling River facts.

Darling River is the third-longest river in Australia, measuring about 1,702.5 mi (2740 km) in length from its source.

Named after Sir Ralph Darling, who was appointed as a Governor of New South Wales, the river is also the longest river among the Murray-Darling river systems.

Darling River gets its water from its several tributaries of 'headstreams' like the Bogan River, Murrumbidgee Rivers originating from the Great Dividing range and has given rise to many small streams that keep breaking and joining the main rivers like the formation of Menindee lakes.

These headstreams rise and flow in the Eastern Highlands, near the Northern new South Wales and Southern Queensland border, and the river continues to flow southwest from there. This western turn makes it meet the Murray River and creates the Murray-Darling Basin.

The river confluence at the Murray-Darling Basin is the most important river system in South Australia and the world. It is home to many plants species, and the region around lakes and ocean is home to many towns. Read on to know more about this important river!

Knowledge knows no boundaries. If you like reading this fun article, you might also want to check out our fun facts on river Thames and rivers in Colorado.

Where do the rivers meet?

Darling River meets the Murray River in the town of Wentworth, which is a border town in New South Wales, Australia.

The New South Wales border area is also known as the Victoria Border and is around 149.8 mi (241 km), far away from Murray River's mouth. From the Victoria border, Darling River continues to flow southwest, meets the Murray River, and creates the Murray-Darling Basin. It is 2097.1 mi (3375 km) long.

The Murray Darling Basin consists of the three longest rivers running through Australia: Darling River at 1702.5 mi (2740 km), the Murray River at 1572.1 mi (2530 km), and the Murrumbidgee River at 1050.1 mi (1690 km).

It is one of the most important confluences of rivers as a site that produces extreme natural flora, oceanic animals, smooth irrigation and provides a shelter for both human population settlements and their livelihood.

The Murray-Darling Rainbowfish

The Murray-Darling Rainbowfish going by the scientific name Melanotaenia fluviatilis is a native fish species to the country of Australia.

Going by different names such as the Australian rainbowfish, the Murray-Darling rainbowfish, the Crimson-spotted rainbowfish, or the pink eared rainbowfish, this fish was discovered in the Murrumbidgee River in New South Wales as early as the 19th century in the '70s.

Although they do not seem colored on the outside, with sharp and steady fin patterns and bright scales, they are a part of the rainbow family; here is why.

As the interesting name 'rainbow' implies, these fish are named so because of the beautiful colors they reflect when light touches their bodies, creating different shades and hues of yellow, blue, or red. The color of the fish grows deeper and enhances as they grow older!

They are now found hugely in many tributaries of Darling River, the Murray River, the Murrumbidgee River, and the Macquarie rivers. Still, their population is on the decline due to the over usage of these rivers for human needs.

They inhabit rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, and many other aquatic sites with dense growth and vegetation for their food. Slow-moving waters also lie in their habitats, where they reside alongside the grassy banks and branches with a temperature zone of 71.6-77 F (22-25 C).

The Course Of Darling River

Darling River flows through mainly five headstreams, and the more extensive river system's origin is supposed to be the Severn in Australia.

Darling River then flows down to be Dumaresq, Macintyre, Barwon and finally becomes Darling River, all in order. It is such a complicated river system that its course is almost three times longer than the actual distance where its waters flow. Darling River officially starts between the Brewarrina and Bourke, at the confluence of the rivers Culgoa and Barwon.

Unfortunately, however, a lot of its tributaries like the Bogan, Paroo, and Culgoa have started losing themselves mainly due to two reasons. The first one is the river flow obstructed by the flooding and irrigation processes and head low dams (called a weir), and the second reason is the high salt content in the river itself.

This forces the rivers to lose more water than gained through evaporation. Another reason waters from tributaries cannot meet the main river is drought.

Darling River is Australia's most extensive river system when we consider its tributaries.

The Importance Of Darling River

The confluence of the Murray River and Darling River creates a precious natural resource: water. It makes almost 3.6 million inhabitants depend upon the basin as its water source. Nearly three-fourths of Australia's crops are cultivated in these plain lands, and Canberra, the capital of Australia and its main functioning center, lies at this basin.

The Darling Murray River basin covers around 13.8% of all the land of mainland Australia, making it one of the largest agricultural centers of the country, if not the world.

Although earlier this used to be a significant route for transporting goods and materials from one place to another, the river's importance as a transport route is no longer much needed.

However, it is of prime significance otherwise.

It is often called the 'food basket.' It acts as an important cultural heritage to the Australians, providing opportunities for agriculture, pastoral livelihood, irrigation facilities, numerous flora and fauna, increment to the gross value of GDP, and improving in the tourism sectors.

It is home to 35 different endangered and 98 different waterbird types, and finally, 16 different internationally recognized wetlands. 100% of Australia's rice and 28% of Australia's dairy comes from this source.

However, due to the over-exploitation of many natural resources in the basin, there is a negative impact on the country's climate coming in the form of irregular rainfall, temperature rise and fall, and floods and droughts.

Population Centers In The Darling River Basin

Different pastoralists and agriculturalists mainly occupy the Darling River basin at present. It started to be colonized as a principal river system source in 1815, under the leadership of Sir Ralph Darling.

Sir Darling sent the explorer (and later his secretary) Charles Sturt for an investigation to find the lower courses of a specific river, which is now a tributary, at which point, he discovered the important Darling River.

Much of where Darling River flows from is plain, fertile land, hence suitable for large population centers to be built up beside its banks.

Along with the capital city, the basin is home to nine major inland urban centers that Australia has.

These centers include Toowoomba, Bendigo, Tamworth, Orange, and Wagga Wagga. The basin covers many important states, including Victoria in Southern-East of Australia, New South Wales on the East coast of Australia, Queensland in Northern-East of Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory or the ACT.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created many interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Darling River facts, then why not take a look at rivers in Mississippi or Puerto Princesa Underground river facts.

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Written by Rajnandini Roychoudhury

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

Rajnandini Roychoudhury picture

Rajnandini RoychoudhuryBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature. 

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Fact-checked by Sudeshna Nag

Master of Arts specializing in History

Sudeshna Nag picture

Sudeshna NagMaster of Arts specializing in History

Having earned a Master's degree in History from the Presidency University in Kolkata, Sudeshna was able to refine these skills and broaden her knowledge base. Not only is she an accomplished fact-checker, but she is also deeply invested in gender research, societal interactions, and mental health. Her professional repertoire also includes experience in translation between Bengali and English content

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