Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Lyrup SA


Postcode: 5343

Lyrup is a town in South Australia’s rural Riverland area. Lyrup is located on the banks of the Murray River. It is 267 kilometres north-east of Adelaide, the capital of the state of South Australia and 25 kilometres from Renmark. As of 2000, the population of Renmark (combined with the neighbouring settlement of Lyrup) is 8,054. The town itself has about 300 residents.

Lyrup is accessible by ferry. It was established in 1894 by the South Australian government as a part of the creation of a communal land system (one of twelve settlements). 243 people originally settled in Lyrup. The town was gazetted on September 24, 1896 and was named after “Lyrup’s Hut”, a boundary rider’s shack.

Lyrup still maintains a communal land system. It has a community club, general store and picnic areas. The area around it produces grapes, stone fruit and citrus, almonds, apricots and some corn.

Just a few kilometres upstream from the Riverland capital of Berri, the village of Lyrup is one of the few towns left on the Murray where you can hop a free ride across the mighty waterway on an original river ferry. Lyrup was one of 12 village settlements established by the South Australian Government in 1894 when 243 settlers were virtually dumped on the river bank to develop a self-contained communal system with the barest of materials and supplies.

Under the revolutionary strategy, settlers were encouraged to work the land and share the profits. Lyrup, whose affairs and 800ha farming and grazing operations are still run by a village association, was the only one of the 12 pilot groups to survive the collapse of Australia’s first socialist experiment. The town and its 300-strong populations are at the heart of the Murray River National Park which protects a seasonal flood plain that supports large colonies of waterfowl.