8 February 2008 - Narrandera to Casey Weir
A bright and sunny morning after a cold night. Before hooking up the caravan we drove into Narrandera for a brief shopping trip before collecting the van and leaving Narrandera on the Newell Highway going south. Traffic was fairly light with the occasional transport truck; these often passed us in pairs.
South of Narrandera the Newell Highway ran through stands of cypress lining the road through cropland, elevation was 160 to
170 metres. The cypress had ended when we were 38 kilometres from Narrandera and were
passing through open, flat, plains devoted to crops which had been harvested fairly recently. 55 kilometres from Jerilderie
we passed a single, very large, paddock of sorghum.
From Narrandera the highway gently descends towards the Murray River and at 134 kilometres from Narrandera, and 26
kilometres before Tocumwal, we were greeted by a sign saying 'Welcome to the Murray'. Presumably we were now in the Murray
River Valley. We stopped at Tocumwal (on the NSW/Vic border) for petrol before continuing on to the Big Strawberry where we
had lunch including strawberry pancakes.
Soon after leaving the Big Strawberry we reached the Murray Valley Highway; instead of turning along that road, we continued south along a subsidiary road towards Benalla. This was a long, straight, nearly flat road through crop and grazing land which joined the Midland Highway near the Broken River about 8 kilometres north of Benalla. We stopped near the intersection at a large rest area with neither fresh water nor a toilet; judging by the cleared areas along the bank and the number of access steps cut in the clay down to the river, fishing is the main activity here. The Broken River is backed up behind Casey Weir into a lake of slowly moving water with a variety of water plants growing around the edges and a good collection of
substantial snags in the river. The weir was built in 1884 to make water flow from Broken River back up Broken Creek for agricultural purposes. A fishway added in 2005 permits native fish, typically Murray Cod and Golden Perch, to migrate along the river for breeding.
We parked on a broad, cleared area near the river bank and settled for a night there. Late in the afternoon a cool wind came up but rain did not fall, although some threatened.
||Casey Weir, across the Broken River, is old and quite dark in colour. In the foreground a recently built fishway allows native fish to negotiate the weir to complete their breeding cycle.|