North to Numurkah?

I know that it does not have the same ring as the song title ( North to Alaska) suggests, but it was good to get back on the road. In our case we were going to follow the sun , North.
If you has been following our Facebook page, you would know that we have been waiting patiently for a new water tank. We wanted to double our capacity to 200 litres, a must when travelling through the Outback.

On the Friday before Mother’s Day the tank was finally fitted and we were off. The Friday night saw us get about 100km out of Melbourne along the Hume Highway. There is a good rest area called Grass Tree. It is well off the highway and you cannot hear much road noise. Around 10pm it started to rain. We do like the sound of rain on the roof, but if made for a restless night sleeping.

Saturday morning over breakfast we decided on a route north. We would go through Shepparton, cross the NSW border at Tocumwal, through Finley and Hay, follow the Cobb Highway to Hay and then to Hillston and up to Cobar. This would lead us to the western area of Queensland. The exact routing to Julia Creek could wait until later.

I digress from the reason of writing this post. In the many years I have cycled throughout Victoria I have obviously seen water wheels that pump water through the irrigation channels. Not once have I known their actual name. Today in the centre of Numurkah I found out.


The Dethridge Water Wheel was invented in 1910 by Mr J S Dethridge- Commissioner of the then State Rivers & Water Commission. The wheel is the standard means of measuring water deliveries to irrigated farms throughout Australia and to 1700 irrigated farms in the Murray Valley irrigation area.

The water supply for the district is stored in the Hume Dam – capacity 3,038,000 megalitres and the Dartmouth Dam – capacity 4,056,000 megalitres. The water is delivered via the Mulwala Lat at Yarrawonga.

The Murray Valley irrigation area, consisting of 120,000 hectares was proclaimed on October 17, 1938 and the first water from the weir at Yarrawonga flowed into the main channel on October 3,1939. This channel now delivers 365,000 megalitres through 3218 Dethridge water wheels via 1000 kilometres of open Channel.

The irrigation water used on these farms produces a wide range of dairy products, irrigated grain,sunflowers, soya beans, maize, lucerne, wine, stone and citrus fruits, vegetables, prime cattle and lambs. The annual value of this production is in excess of $150,000,000.

Here as elsewhere throughout this country WATER IS LIQUID GOLD.

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