is a city in the Australian state of South Australia, located 76 kilometres (47 mi) east-southeast of the state's capital city, Adelaide, and 77 kilometres (48 mi) north of the town of Meningie. At the 2011 Census, Murray Bridge had a population of 16,708, making the city the fourth most populous city in the state, after Adelaide,Mount Gambier and Whyalla.
The city was originally known as Mobilong and later as Edwards Crossing, before being renamed as Murray Bridge in 1924; deriving its name from the road and railway crossings over the River Murray (River Murray Removals). The city is situated on the Princes Highway, the main road transport link between Adelaide and Melbourne.
Main street of Murray Bridge
Murray Bridge is in the traditional lands of the Ngarrindjeri people, who refer to Murray Bridge as "Pomberuk". The first European explorer was Charles Sturt who camped there on 8 February 1830.
The first road bridge across the lower Murray was completed at Murray Bridge in 1879. The bridge also became a shared road and rail bridge in 1886 until the separate rail bridge was completed in 1925. The bridge was designed for 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) though in actuality, only1,600 mm (5 ft 3 in) trains ever used it.
In 1979 the Swanport Bridge, carrying the South Eastern Freeway across the Murray River was completed 5 kilometres (3 mi) downstream, removing most through traffic from the historic Murray Bridge.
The urban area that contains and surrounds Murray Bridge had a population of 16,708 as at the 2011 Census. At the 2006 census, the population was 14,048 and at the 2001 Census, the population was 12,998.
At the 2006 Census, 10.4% of the population were born overseas, and 4.5% were Indigenous Australians. The median weekly household income was A$639 per week, compared with $924 in Adelaide. 13.3% of the population identified themselves as Lutheran, while a higher 24.7% identified with no religion.
In 1924 the Murray Bridge rowing team was chosen to represent Australia at the Paris Olympics. The Murray Cods as they were known won the Australian Eight Oared Championships (the King's Cup) and were invited to compete in a test race at Port Adelaide between South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. Although accustomed to rowing over 3 miles, the Murray Cods were able to defeat the other crews on the 1 mile and 420 yards (2 km) course. The story of their fund-raising and exploits in Paris are detailed on the Australian Rowing History website .
Murray Bridge is home to the infamous Bunyip, a mechanical replica of the legendary monster is located on Sturt Reserve. Many South Australian children fondly remember their first visit to the Bunyip, putting a coin in the machine and watching the Bunyip emerge from its watery cage complete with shrieking sound effects.
Murray Bridge is also home to the River Murray Football League, which plays Australian rules football. The league consists of the Murray Bridge based clubs of Ramblers and Imperials and the district teams of Mypolonga, Mannum, Tailem Bend,Jervois and Meningie.
In 2005 the city's golf course, Murray Bridge Golf Club, held the State's premier regional junior team event, the Brett Ogle Cup (named after the Australian Professional golfer Brett Ogle). The home team went undefeated and qualified for the state final, losing narrowly. The team had not previously experienced such success; junior golf in the region has since obtained a higher profile.
Another sporting association in Murray Bridge is the Murray Bridge Amateur Swim Club (The Cods) which competes in meets with other clubs, as well as Country Championships (a large meet for all of the rural South Australian swim clubs) and state and national championships.
Murray Bridge is also the home of the Murray Bridge Racing Club, Murray Bridge & District Table Tennis Association, and holds the 24 hour Australian International Pedal Prix race annually in September. Murray Bridge Lutheran Tennis Club plays hard court tennis on their home courts based at Christian Reserve. Hard court tennis is hosted by various clubs throughout the community, including Jervois, Brinkley, Mannum, Mypolonga and Tailem Bend as well as clubs within the township. Hard court tennis is played on both Friday nights and Saturday mornings. There are both Junior and senior divisions. Friday night tennis offers a social alternative, often offering barbecues and after-game drinks. Lawn tennis is played at Sturt Reserve on Saturday mornings and afternoons from October to February, and is organised by the Murray Bridge Lawn Tennis Association.
Murray Bridge also has a rich motor racing history. Established in 1958, Riverview Speedway is one of Australia's premier country dirt track ovals regularly hosting Australian title meetings in most racing categories including bikes and cars.
Murray Bridge is also known for its basketball, having won numerous State Country Championships and many of its young players going on to represent South Australia in the National Championships.
Murray Bridge is also home to the Riverview Speedway which has been in operation since 1958. Located on the eastern side of the River, the speedway is a 360 metres (390 yd) long Dirt track racing venue that caters to both Motorcycle speedway and car racing, hosting numerous Australian and South Australian championships during its existence. On 12 November 2011 the speedway hosted its first ever World Championship event when it will host the FIM 2011 World Sidecar Speedway Championship with Murray Bridge's own Jesse Headland winning the title as passenger to NSW based rider Darrin Treloar. Headland was the winner of the 2010 Championship in England with his father Mick Headland..
Murray Bridge is part of the state Electoral district of Hammond, which has been held since 2006 by Liberal MP Adrian Pederick. In federal politics, the city is part of the division of Barker, and has been represented by Liberal MP Tony Pasin since 2013. At local level, Murray Bridge is part of the Rural City of Murray Bridge local government area.
Local schools include: