Morgan is located in the traditional lands of the Ngaiawang people. There are several traditional names recorded for it that mean ‘meeting place’. This seems fitting as it is located on the right river bank near a bend where it turns from flowing westwards to southwards and the river seems to slow and pause.
Once a busy river port in the days of the paddle steamers, it remains a beautiful town full of historical significance and charm. Now a relaxed and fun place to visit and experience all that the Riverland region has to offer, it remains a thriving rural community.
The first white Europeans to visit the region of Morgan was Charles Sturt and his expedition, who passed the river bend in 1830. Almost a decade later the first overland European expedition of Oakden, Willis and Wood passed through the area which they named the Great South Bend. It is at Morgan the River Murray acutely changes its direction, flowing from west to south, and it’s also known as the Northwest Bend. Morgan was proclaimed a town in 1878, which was the same year the railway line from Adelaide via Kapunda was opened. The town was named after Sir William Morgan, the then Chief Secretary, and later Premier of South Australia. A large wharf was built, and Morgan, being the railway terminus, became one of the busiest ports on the Murray. It handled nearly all the goods that were being imported and exported (particularly wool) to and from a vast region upstream from Morgan along the Murray and Darling Rivers. At its peak, Morgan was the second busiest port in South Australia.
Climate and geography
Morgan has a semi-arid climate with hot dry summers and cool winters. Like the other parts of the region the average rainfall is low and falls across the year.
Latitude 34°02′0″S 139°40′0″E
late Jan to early Feb
Mallee loam, river clay, river flat
Things to do, places to go
Today, Morgan is a popular place to spend time holidaying on the river, enjoying all the outdoor activities it provides. A free road transport ferry service operates 24 hours for river crossings. As one of the oldest settlements in the region, many historic buildings remain in the town including the two town hotels, both historic, sitting opposite each other and facing the riverfront, offering a lovely spot to stop for lunch or an afternoon beverage.
Like much of the Riverland, wine is grown and produced in a warm dry Mediterranean climate featuring cool winters with some rain and warm dry summers.