Renmark is a town in South Australia's rural Riverland area, and is located 254 km (157.83 mi) northeast of Adelaide, on the banks of the River Murray. The Sturt Highway between Adelaide and Sydney runs through the town; Renmark is the last major town encountered in South Australia when driving this route. It is 31 m (101.71 ft) above sea level. At the 2016 census, Renmark had a population of 4,634.
It has been suggested that the name Renmark refers to a local Aboriginal word meaning "red mud" (the original inhabitants of the area were the Erawirung people). However, the mud at Renmark is not red. Alternatively, it could be derived from the name Bookmark, later Calperum, the station founded by the Chambers brothers, from which 20,000 acres (8,100 ha) was excised for the town and irrigation project. Another possibility is the name of an early settler in the district, William Renny. The first unambiguous use of the name (as "Renmark Flat") in newspapers was in October 1888.
Captain Charles Sturt was the first European to pass through the area in January 1830, as he navigated the length of the Murray River from the Great Dividing Range, eventually reaching Lake Alexandrina.
A settlement began to grow in 1887, when the Renmark Irrigation Settlement was established by George and William Chaffey, who created a system of open drains using water from the Murray River, (called Renmark Irrigation Trust) to allow orchards to be planted in the area. By pumping water onto the hot red sand they transformed it into a fruit growing area similar to California. The Chaffey brothers' business collapsed in 1893, and the Renmark Irrigation Trust was created to manage the irrigation scheme.
Renmark was proclaimed a town in 1904 and a municipality in 1935.
Renmark was connected to Adelaide by rail on 31 January 1927, when the railway line across the bridge to Paringa was opened. It was later extended west as far as Barmera, and known as the Barmera railway line, but then closed in 1983 then the last scheduled train to cross the bridge was on 31 December 1990.
Renmark has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:
- Murray Avenue: Renmark Hotel
- 149 Murray Avenue: Renmark Irrigation Trust Office
- 24 Ral Ral Avenue: Renmark Post Office
- Renmark Avenue: Renmark Distillery Bridge
- Renmark Avenue: Olivewood
- Sturt Highway: Paringa Bridge
Tourism, industry and facilities
Renmark is a multicultural centre for the Riverland area. The river itself offers excellent spots for fishing, waterskiing and boating. The area is known for the cultivation of grapes, citrus fruits, tomatoes, vegetables, wheat and wool. Orange trees stretch for hectares as do vineyards and stone fruit orchards. Other industries include almond growing and pistachio nut cultivation.
Renmark is also home to the region's only restored paddle steamer, wine companies and the rose industry. Renmark hosts the Renmark Rose Festival every October.
There is a shopping centre known as Renmark Square, camping grounds, and a 380 metres (420 yd) dirt oval speedway known as the Riverland Speedway.
Murray River National Park
- Paringa Paddock (1,161 ha (2,870 acres)), including Goat Island, between Renmark and Paringa; and
- Bulyong, or Bulyong Island, on the west side of the river upstream from Renmark, accessible only by boat.
Paringa Paddock (which includes Goat Island) contains areas of riverine woodlands, wetlands and river flats. The floodplain is lined by huge river red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) and river box (Eucalyptus largiflorens). The wetland complex provides habitat for koalas, birds and reptiles, and the park provides recreation for people of all ages and abilities. There are walking and biking trails developed by the Renmark Paringa Council and the local community. Bulyong is home to many wildlife species, such as western grey kangaroos, emus, pelicans, kingfishers and parrots.
Channels from the following television networks are available in Renmark:
- ABC Television
- Special Broadcasting Service (SBS)
- WIN Television (7, 9 & 10) as SES/RTS – RTS-5A relays the programming from Seven Network (Seven SA), Nine Network (WIN SA) & Network Ten (Ten SA), Sky News Regional, Fox Sports News, with local commercials inserted
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) broadcasts a local radio station, ABC Riverland (1062 AM), along with the national stations Triple J (101.9 FM); ABC Radio National (1305 AM); ABC Classic (105.1 FM); and ABC News Radio (93.9 FM). In addition, there are commercial radio stations, including 5RM (801 AM); Wild Country Radio] (1557 AM); Magic FM (93.1 FM); TAB Racing Network (95.5 FM); and Riverland FM (100.7 FM).
- Thomas Angove, a winemaker from Renmark, invented the process for packaging cask (box) wine, patented by his company on 20 April 1965.
- Ruby Hunter, Aboriginal singer-songwriter and partner of Archie Roach, was born in 1955 on Goat Island.
Renmark is surrounded by mallee scrub. It is situated in a grassland location, north of Goyder's Line, with hot dry summers and cool winters. Under the Köppen climate classification, Renmark has a semi-arid climate (BSk) with seasonal temperatures a few degrees above Adelaide's temperatures, although it has many more touches of frost in winter, and it also lacks Adelaide's sizeable winter precipitation. The average rainfall of Renmark is 233 millimetres (9.2 in) , falling evenly throughout the year, as thunderstorms in summer, with cold fronts in winter, and a combination of the two in spring and autumn. Record temperatures have ranged from 48.6 °C (119.5 °F) on 20 December 2019 to −6.1 °C (21.0 °F) in June 1998.
|Climate data for Renmark (1995–2019)|
|Record high °C (°F)||47.1
|Average high °C (°F)||33.9
|Average low °C (°F)||16.5
|Record low °C (°F)||6.3
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||19.2
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.2mm)||2.9||3.0||3.2||4.1||7.0||9.3||10.2||8.8||7.0||6.3||5.7||4.9||72.4|
|Source: Bureau of Meteorology|
- "Search results for 'Renmark, LOCB' with the following datasets selected - 'Suburbs and localities', 'Counties', 'Hundreds', 'Local Government Areas', 'SA Government Regions' and 'Gazetteer'". Location SA Map Viewer. South Australian Government. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Renmark". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
- "GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES ACT 1991, Notice to Assign Boundaries and Names to Places (to areas within the District Council of Renmark Paringa)" (PDF), The South Australian Government Gazette: 1433, 16 March 2000, retrieved 11 February 2019
- "Electoral district of Chaffey". Electoral Commission SA. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
- "Electoral division of Barker" (PDF). Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
- "River Murray Towns: Renmark". SA Memory. State Library of South Australia. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
- "River Navigation Improvement". South Australian Register. Adelaide. 28 October 1885. p. 5. Retrieved 3 July 2012 – via National Library of Australia.
- Brady, Maggie (30 December 2021). "How Australia's biggest wine-growing region came to pioneer alcohol control". The Conversation. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
- Rails into Renmark Shields, Brian Australian Railway Historical Society Bulletin, February, 1999 pp43-51
- "History in the Renmark Paringa District". Renmark Paringa Council. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- "Renmark Hotel". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Renmark Irrigation Trust Office". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Renmark Post Office (Place ID 106138)". Australian Heritage Database. Australian Government. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
- "Renmark Distillery Bridge (The first pre-stressed concrete bridge constructed in South Australia) [Concrete Girder]". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Olivewood Site, including dwelling ('Olivewood'), Chaffey packing shed, palm trees lining driveway, olive grove and garden". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Paringa Bridge over the River Murray [Metal Vertical Lift]". South Australian Heritage Register. Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- "Murray River National Park". National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia. 15 November 2021. Retrieved 19 March 2022. Text may have been copied from this source, which is available under a Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0 AU) licence.
- Murray River National Park (PDF) (Map). Government of South Australia, National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia. 2020.
- Wikipedia citation "Our Venture". Renmark Pioneer. South Australia. 16 April 1892. p. 3. Retrieved 20 March 2022 – via National Library of Australia.
- "About us". Murray Pioneer. Retrieved 20 March 2022.
- Crystal Ja; AAP reporters (13 September 2009). "Eclectic mix honoured on Australia Day". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
- Bradbrook, Sam (18 March 2022). "Push to rename Murray River island after iconic Aboriginal musician Ruby Hunter". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 19 March 2022.
- "Renmark Aero". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. February 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2020.
- Town map (2011), showing Renmark, Paringa and Paringa Paddock, with Goat Island
- The Age travel guide - Renmark (2004)
Localities of the Renmark Paringa Council
Towns of the Riverland
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