27 September 2022

Riverina Rewind: The Murray Cod Hatcheries

| Chris Roe
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Woman, baby and emus

Sylvia and baby Marina Douglas, 1987. Photo: Museum of the Riverina (Douglas collection).

This week the team from the Museum of the Riverina is taking us back to the 1980s and the iconic Murray Cod Hatcheries.

Did you ever visit the Murray Cod Hatcheries and Fauna Park on the Sturt Highway?

Just 10 minutes out of Wagga on the Sturt Highway, the entrance is still marked by the iconic giant Murray cod, albeit in a state of disrepair.

The hatchery was filled with ponds that were brimming with fish, and also had breeding tanks on the premises.

When it was open, it was possible to view some of the biggest cod in the region, alongside other fish species.

The park was also home to native fauna including kangaroos, koalas, dingoes and wombats.

READ ALSO Riverina Rewind: The last of the Murrumbidgee dreadnoughts

The precinct also included a small fossil museum.

In 1995, what was surely one of Wagga’s most popular tourist destinations closed.

The sign remained a landmark over recent decades and presented a popular photo op for passing tourists.

While the hatchery remained in business under new management until 2019, malformations in the fish forced its ultimate demise.

The cause remains an ongoing controversy, with claims the deformity was the result of contamination from the nearby Royal Australian Air Force base.

Looking back to happier times, we’d love to hear your memories of visiting this landmark site.

Photo and information provided by Michelle Maddison, curator of the Museum of the Riverina.

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