Barmah is a town in Victoria, with the distinction of being located north of the southerly border with New South Wales. The border between the two states is the mostly westward-flowing tributary of the Murray River. Just downstream of Barmah, the Murray winds south, then east far enough to put a small point of New South Wales directly south of Barmah before resuming its generally westwards course.
Barmah is near the largest River Red Gum forest in the world. The Barmah State Park is on the floodplain of the Murray River, and when it floods is an important breeding ground for Murray cod. The flood is enhanced by the geological features of the riverbed, as the channel narrows at an area known as the Barmah choke.
The Barmah Forest is listed under the Ramsar Convention for wetlands. It is rich in bird species and is the breeding ground for the Superb Parrot, a species listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
The geography at Barmah is explained by a geological event that occurred 25,000 years ago, when an uplift of land along the Cadell fault forced the Murray River onto a new course for 500km. The river had to force its way through theBarmah choke taking over the Goulburn River in the process. The uplifted land that led to these changes is noticeable as a continuous, low, earthen embankment along the road leading into Barmah from the west, which may appear to the untrained eye as man-made.
It is thought that the name derives from an Aboriginal word paama, meaning meeting place. Whether or not that is accurate, there is evidence that the Barmah forest was inhabited by a large Aboriginal population and was a plentiful source of food.