Lower Darling Region
Australian Inland Botanic Gardens
Established at Buronga in 1983, these gardens showcase a range of Australian native and exotic plants. Also featured are native salt-tolerant plants which have thrived and lowered the water table considerably. Managed by the community, the gardens use the world’s best methods of irrigation, drainage, salinity management and soil conservation. The gardens also reflect the diversity of plant life in the region’s semi-arid climate.
Great Darling Anabranch
This ancient path of the Darling River extends south of the Menindee Lakes to the Murray River. Hearths, middens, scar trees and burial sites are evidence of 27,000 years of Aboriginal occupation. Lakes in the northern parts of the Anabranch provide native fish and bird habitat. Since white settlement in the 1860’s, landholders have used Anabranch water for stock and domestic purposes. A new pipeline now supplies landholders with water and allows the Anabranch to return to a wet-dry regime to improve habitats for native fish and birds.
While Moorna is the name of a large property west of Wentworth, it was originally surveyed for a town in the early 1800’s. Buildings included a customs house for the riverboat trade. As this trade grew, it was realised that the junction of the Murray and Darling rivers would be a better site for a town. Remains of the original buildings and roads are still being identified.
This natural freshwater lake is an important spiritual and social centre for Aboriginal people. For thousands of years, the Maraura people inhabited the area, leaving behind middens, scar trees, shells, campsites, burial sites and marsupial bones. The lake was also the focus for conflicts with the increasing numbers of overlanders; the most notable conflict was the Rufus River massacre. The lake plays a key role in managing the Murray and Darling rivers, assuring water and environmental flows for South Australia. The lake is also managed to protect cultural heritage and burial sites from wind and wave erosion.
Situated on the South Australia border, Kulkurna Station was purchased by the NSW Government in 1998 as a reserve for conservation. Due to river regulation, highly saline ground water levels have increased and the frequency of flooding has declined. Through the efforts of the NSW Murray Wetlands Working Group, South Australian and NSW agencies, creek and wetland areas receive additional water to help reduce the impacts of drought and salinity on the trees. Kulkurna has a number of significant birds and animals as well as endangered saltbush species.