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Tailem Bend is a town on the Murray River in South Australia.
Tailem Bend is a version of the aboriginal name “tailem” which was used for the area. The word means “bend” and is associated with the sharp bend that the Murray River makes in this location.
Perched on a cliff overlooking the Murray River, Tailem Bend was proclaimed in 1887 and became a major railway town with lines servicing the Murray-Mallee area.
Prior to European settlement the area was inhabited by the Ngarrindjeri people. They made bark and reed canoes, and lived on the fish and animals residing beside the river.
Following Captain Charles Sturt, the whole area along the Murray was opened up by overlanders who moved sheep and cattle across the land. By the 1840s there was a ferry across the Murray River at Wellington which meant that the more difficult terrain, particularly the high cliffs, around Tailem Bend were overlooked in the development of the river bank.
The town's real roots lie in the railway. It is essentially a railway town - created when the railway came through the area in 1886. It’s unique curved railline structure maintains it's formation with the bend in the river.
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