It was Charles Sturt who named the Rufus River, apparently in honour of his ‘friend McLeahy’s red head’. He was also the first white man to encounter the Aborigines of the area, as he and his crew rowed down the Murray in 1830.
Following Sturt was an influx of European traffic in the form of ‘Overlanders’; moving sheep and cattle along the Murray from the eastern colonies to South Australia.
This movement disturbed the Aboriginal people’s pattern of life – and conflicts between the two cultures arose, culminating in a clash that became known as the Rufus River Massacre of 1841.
There are two areas where camping is permitted. The Rufus River campsite has water, shade and toilets or The Murray River site, which is bush camping only. The Frenchman’s Creek leaves the Murray River and enters Lake Victoria and Rufus River leaves Lake Victoria and enters the Murray River.