History of the Lower Lakes and Coorong with timeline

There were conflicting interests between the early farmer settlers, pastoralists, and fishers during white settlement in South Australia.

Below is a collection of online historical records regarding the early development of the state of South Australia as it relates to the region of the Lower Lakes and Coorong. Knowing who wrote the history enhances our understanding of the past.

Read our collection of newspaper stories from the early 1900's.

Information from various sources is presented in the form of a timeline with different views represented by three different bands. The top band from the SA State Library website with click through links to their pages. 

The middle band is a collection of historical references from people associated with the fishing industry  in South Australia. There are excerpts from Evelyn Wallace-Carter's book "For They Were Fishers" regarding the fishing industry around the Lower Lakes and Coorong.  Events from the report "The Coorong - A multi-species fishery Part 1 - History and Development' by A.M. Olsen have been included. There are also oral interviews recorded by the Alexandrina Library Local History project of individuals who lived in the area pre-barrage time.

The bottom band are the dates from the pamphlet "A Fresh History of the Lakes; Wellington to Murray Mouth, 1800's to 1935" by Sim and Muller.

Scroll along the timeline with your mouse or left/right arrow keys.

Click here for a map of the region with markers from the effects of the drought and the barrages holding back seawater.  Zooming into the map brings up satellite images from 2009.

Read oral history interviews of what life was like before the barrages.


A Timeline of River Murray history from 1802-2004 is available at the State Library of South Australia.

The report "The Coorong - A multi-species fishery Part 1 - History and Development'.

Author:   A.M. Olsen .

From the book "For They Were Fishers" a history of the South Australian Fishing Industry by Evelyn Wallace-Carter .  With excerpts from her book about the Lakes and the Coorong

Alexandrina Library Oral History transcripts

    Interview with Jim Marsh Goolwa Barrage superintendent

    Interview with Bert Lundstrom

    Interview with Syd Smith

    Interview with W.A. Pretty 

    Interview with Richard Spencer

    Interview with Harold Bedford

Excerpts from the above interviews here.

"A Fresh History of the Lakes: from Wellington to the Murray Mouth, 1800's to 1935" by Terry Sim andKerri  Muller  

Photos of the building of the Barrages in 1930-40

Link to the whole album http://images.slsa.sa.gov.au/mpcimg/59500/B59473.htm

Photos of mulloway pre 1950's


Fisherman holding a 91 lb Mulloway at Milang


circa 1938




This page is a work in progress as more sources are located.