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Socio-Economic Characteristics

Irrigated Crops


Ecological Characteristics


LAP Brochure

Last modified:
Tuesday 16th August 2016

Socio-economic characteristics

LAP Brochure

Prior to European settlement in the 1830s, indigenous occupation of the Region is believed to have exceeded some 27,000 years, with a tribe known as the Ngaiawang replacing an earlier tribe called the Tartanga around 7,000 years ago. Unfortunately the Ngaiawang were displaced as the 'tentacles' of European settlement took hold.

Today the Mid Murray LAP's small resident population (about 4,0001) can expand and contract tenfold with an influx of shack dwellers, tourists and itinerant workers. With a large number of retirees, less than 50% of the permanent population are in the labour force, and only 25% permanently employed. Figure 4 graphically illustrates these demographic attributes.

map of mid-murray region

Based on data supplied by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the majority of the work force is employed within:

  • the agricultural sector (29% of the population based on 1995 Census figures); and
  • the tourism industry (15% based on 1995 Census figures for the retail and hospitality trades).

A breakdown of the various employment sectors are represented in Figure 5 below. It should be noted that employment sectors grouped as 'other' include:

  • mining;
  • electricity/gas/water supply;
  • construction;
  • wholesale trade;
  • transport/storage;
  • cultural/recreational;
  • communication;
  • finance/insurance;
  • finance/insurance;
  • gov/admin/defence;
  • health & community service;
industry demographic agriculture type breakdown

Irrigated horticulture is the prime agricultural production activity in the Region and comprises in excess of 1600 ha of irrigated crops located mainly on the highland areas adjacent to the River valley.

AWE (1999) report that the area under irrigation to be underestimated by 10%. The types of irrigated crops are presented on Map 5.

Irrigation of permanent plantings started on a small scale in 1920 and grew gradually until the 1950's. Swan Reach and Greenways irrigation areas were developed during the 1950's and 1960's and have since remained relatively static. However, AWE (1999) state that other irrigated areas have almost doubled since the end of the 1980's.

Complementing irrigated horticulture, dryland farming activities comprise a small but significant proportion of the agricultural profile within the Mid Murray LAP Region. In general, grazing occurs both on the floodplain and adjacent highland areas, the main concentration of which occurs north of Swan Reach on either side of the River valley. Sheep tend to dominate highland areas, whilst cattle generally are grazed the floodplain. Some intermittent grazing and cropping occurs south of Swan Reach.

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