The year the Berriquin Irrigation District opened
work also began on the Lawson Syphons, near Deniliquin.
These syphons would carry the Mulwala Canal
beneath the Edward River, westward to supply water
to the Deniboota Irrigation District.
Work was expected to take four years, but a few
weeks after NSW Premier Alex Mair turned the first
sod on construction Australia was launched
into World War II.
Initial planning and other preparations continued
until 1942 when work was finally suspended due to a
shortage of materials and manpower.
By this stage the Mulwala Canal had reached the
Edward River. An escape adjacent the river channelled
flows from the canal into the river.
Work on the syphons resumed at the end of the war,
in 1945. It continued for the next decade, hampered
by repeated flooding in the Edward River and
continuing material and labour shortages.
The NSW Government had trouble at times raising
loan funds for major works, but the Lawson Syphons
and Deniboota scheme were high on the list of
projects “in the national interest” and received
The Lawson Syphons were completed in 1955 and
officially opened by NSW Premier John Cahill on
April 27, 1955.
Joseph Alexander Lawson, MLA NSW Member for Murray 1932 ~ 1973
The Lawson Syphons are named after Mr Joe Lawson
who was instrumental in securing government support
for the development of the region. Elected as the
Member for Murray during the Depression in 1932, Mr
Lawson was an ardent advocate of irrigation.
When he first came to parliament, NSW used virtually
none of its share of the Murray River’s waters. When
he left parliament, in 1973, the Southern Riverina
districts were using around one million megalitres a