Pental Island

Pental Island is a rural district immediately south-east of Swan Hill. Bordered on one side by the Murray River and on the other by the Little Murray, it extends south-east for 24 km, ending where the Loddon River meets the Little Murray.

The Little Murray River is predominantly a distributor of the Murray River, although it has been argued that it is more a continuation of the Loddon.

The island was part of a vast Reedy Lake/Bael Bael pastoral run (1845), from which it was subdivided as a separate leasehold in 1851 and held by William Splatt until 1854. Known as Splatt’s Island, it was later named Pental, possibly a reference to the Greek penta (five) major bends in the Little Murray River.

In the 1880s a punt operated between the island and Fish Point, as the pastoral leasehold was surrendered for farm holdings. In the early 1900s a bridge was built with a drawbridge span, and a fixed deck bridge replaced it in 1928. There are now bridges from Swan Hill and Fish Point, but none from New South Wales. A school functioned intermittently during 1908-24; floods occasioned temporary closures.

The island is protected by the Loddon floodway across it and by levee banks designed to a 1 in 35 year flood level. In January 2011, when the Loddon River had big floods upstream, the levee banks were improved and flooding prevented. Pental Island’s census populations have been:

area census date population
Pental Island 1911 178
  1933 91
  1954 100
  1961 84
Pental Island and environs 2011 194

At the 2011 census, dairying accounted for 8.0% of employment and other farming for 13.3% of employment. Pental Island also has a caravan park.