The Murrumbidgee River
is a major river in the state of New South Wales
. The word Murrumbidgee
means "big river" in the local Aboriginal
language. The river flows for 1,578km from its source in the Australian Alps near Mount Kosciuszko
to its confluence with the Murray River
. It drains most of southern New South Wales and is the most important source of irrigation water for the Riverina farming area. The Molonglo River, which flows through Australia's capital city Canberra
, is a tributary of the Murrumbidgee.
The upper Murrumbidgee was discovered in 1823 by a party of settlers led by Mark Currie, but the extent of the river was not realised until 1829, when Charles Sturt and his party rowed down the length of the river to the Murray, and then down the Murray to the sea. (They also rowed back up, against the current.) The Murrumbidgee basin was opened to settlement in the 1830s and soon became an important farming area. Important towns on the river include (from source to mouth) Yass, Gundagai, Wagga Wagga, Narrandera, Hay and Balranald.