river australia south
MURRAY COD. Of the numerous freshwater Perches inhabiting the rivers and watercourses of Australia the Murray Cod (Oligorus macquariensis) is one of the largest, if not the largest, and the most celebrated on account of the excellent flavour of its flesh. In conferring upon the fishes of the new country familiar names, the early colonists were evidently guided by the fancied resemblance in taste or appearance to some fish of their northern home rather than by a consideration of their taxonomic affinities. These, as far as the Murray Cod is concerned, lie in the direction of the Perch and not of the Cod family. The shape of the body is that of a Perch, and the dorsal fin consists of a spinous and rayed portion, the number of spines being eleven. The length of the spines varies with age, old individuals having shorter spines, that is, a lower dorsal fin. The form of the head and the dentition also resemble those of a Perch, but none of the bones of the head have a serrated margin. The scales are small. The colour varies in different localities ; it is generally brownish, with a greenish tinge and numerous small dark green spots. As implied by the name, this fish has its headquarters in the Murray river and its tributaries, but it occurs also in the northern parts of New South Wales. It is the most important food fish of these rivers, and is said to attain to a length of more than 3 feet, and to a weight of 120 lb.
.MURRAY RIVER, the largest river in Australia, rises in the Australian Alps about 36° 40' S. lat. and 147° E. long., and, flowing north-westwards, skirts the borders of New South Wales and Victoria until it passes into South Australia, shortly after which it bends southward into Lake Alexandrina, a shallow lagoon, whence it makes its way to the sea at Encounter Bay by a narrow opening at 35° 35' S. lat. and 138° 55' E. long. Near its source, the Murray Gates, precipitous rocks, tower sheer above it to the height of 3000 feet ; and the earlier part of its course is very tortuous, broken, and uneven. Farther on it in some parts loses so much by evaporation as to become merely a series of pools. Its length till it debouches into Lake Alexandrina is 1120 miles, its average breadth in summer is 210 feet, its average depth about 16 ; and it drains an area of about 270,000 square miles. For small steamers it is navigable as far as Albury. Periodically it overflows its banks, causing wide inundations. Operations have lately been undertaken to render its mouth accessible for ships ; but, owing to the force of the southern ocean, navigation is difficult and dangerous. The principal tributaries of the Murray are those • from New South Wales, including the Edward river, the united streams of the Murrumbidgee and Lachlan, and the Darling or Callewatta. It was in 1829 that Captain Sturt traced the Murrumbidgee river till it debouched in a magnificent stream 300 feet wide. This stream, the Murray river, he followed down to Lake Alexandrina, but was compelled, after enduring great hardships, to return without discovering its outlet to the sea. In 1831 Captain Barker, while attempting to discover its outlet, was murdered by the natives. In 1836 the discovery was made by Major Mitchell that the Darling flowed into the Murray. (See AUSTRALIA, vol. iii. pp. 105, 107.)