- Click play to see Albury-Wodonga's growth from 1984 to 2018
Over the past four decades, Albury-Wodonga has transformed, with the Twin Cities' population jumping from just over 61,000 people in 1986 to more than 90,000 - and growing.
And as more and more people settled on the banks of the Murray, the cities themselves have expanded and grown to meet demand.
From small marks on the map, Albury-Wodonga's footprint has spread, with developments creeping through formerly vacant blocks as the cities sprawled in most directions and carefully planned suburbs like Thurgoona and White Box Rise turned from ideas into homes.
But with experts forecasting the Border's population could quadruple and reach upwards of 439,000 - what will the region look like in 40 years time?
And can the Twin Cities cope?
Megacities and rapid growth
By 2056, the Australian Bureau of Statistics believes the nation's population will have increased by 75 per cent, with an additional 19 million people calling Australia home.
Regional Australia Institute explored the impact this growth will have on Australian cities and what role country areas will play in the national expansion.
RAI chief executive Kim Houghton said if current city-centric settlement continues, the majority of the population growth will occur in the outer suburbs or major cities, with regional areas experiencing only modest levels of growth.
- Click play to see Thurgoona grow from 1984 to 2018
"Australia's population is set to grow by up to 19 million by 2056, with the Sydney and Melbourne to hit 'megacity' status in the next few decades. Brisbane and Perth will grow to the size of Sydney and Melbourne today," Dr Houghton said.
Under this business-as-usual model, Albury-Wodonga's population will reach more than 125,000, RAI estimates.
But, if the country instead plans for more balanced population spread, with a focus on dispersing growth regionally, Albury-Wodonga's joint population could reach 439,000.
Sadly, regional Australia is being neglected.Kevin Mack, Albury mayor
Victoria's regional development minister and member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes launched the research this week saying she'd work with councils, businesses and community to ensure population growth was sustainable.
"Having grown up in Benalla and now raising my kids in Broadford, I know how fantastic life in regional Victoria is - and this report speaks to the opportunities that exist in the regions," she said.
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Ms Symes said the research would help shape future strategies to attract skilled workers and their families, as well as helping governments better understand how to ensure population growth in regional Victoria delivers for communities.
RAI's report made three recommendations, that regional settlement strategies are developed for major cities and surrounding areas; that migration strategies for regional Australia are elevated; and that a national awareness campaign is established to promote regional population opportunities.
No growth without services
Albury mayor Kevin Mack said the population estimates and plans like those proffered by RAI and Bridget McKenzie, who said Albury-Wodonga's population could triple to 375,000 people in 20 years through a regional deal pilot, are "pie in the sky" ideas.
He said regional Australia was in crisis, and significant policy shifts at a both federal and state level are needed to support regional growth.
"Sadly, regional Australia is being neglected and most areas are struggling," Cr Mack.
"There aren't enough services, there isn't enough attention being placed on regional needs.
"I don't think the government is doing enough on a state or federal level to provide attractions and incentives for people and businesses to move to regional areas."
- Click play to see Baranduda and Wodonga grow from 1984 to 2018
Cr Mack said just because regional Australia has land doesn't mean it's automatically ready for mass growth.
He said the city's infrastructure is well placed to cater for expansion, but the government needs to 'get serious' and shift their focus to the needs of regional areas and ensuring they have access to adequate and fully staffed health, education and transport services.
Wodonga council's acting chief executive, Debra Mudra, also emphasised the need for investment.
She said population growth could lead to improved social and economic outcomes for regional communities - but it could also put additional demand on infrastructure and services.
Ms Mudra said any dispersed population modelling need to be undertaken in a sustainable way and budgeted for by all level of governments.
"Key infrastructure that is a state responsibility and demand-driven like schools, health services and transport, needs to be planned and considered as it requires significant funding and time to be realised," she said.
"Without good planning and the necessary infrastructure and services being available, such efforts to disperse the population will not have the intended outcome and put strain on existing local infrastructure."
Lessons from the cities' past
When Wodonga Historical Society's Uta Wiltshire first moved to Wodonga in the early 70s, the city was more country town, than urban centre.
Sewerage had not long been installed across the city, and many of the city's thriving developments were barely a distant thought.
"It's probably spread equally in both directions (east and west)," Mrs Wiltshire said of the town's development.
Since then built-up areas like Leneva and Baranduda have developed from farmland into thriving urban hubs and the Hume bypass was constructed.
Between 1970 and 2015, Wodonga's population tripled from just under 13,000 to more than 38,000 and the number of rated properties more than quadrupled from 4000 to 17,000, including about 15,000 homes.
Wodonga's director of planning and infrastructure Leon Schultz said currently the city is forecast to reach a population of 57,314 by 2036, but it has the capacity to support an ultimate population of 100,000 people.
Areas are already zoned and earmarked for future development.
"With an expected demand of 7000 to 7500 dwellings up to 2036, the city has a residential land supply of 32 to 36 years of zoned land and more than 50 years of unzoned capacity," he said.
The Leneva-Baranduda growth area should cater for an additional 14,000 homes.
Across the river, Albury's population has increased from 38,700 in 1986 to more than 51,000 in 2016.
The city has sprawled at its edges, spreading as Thurgoona, Lavington and Springdale Heights developed into well populated areas.
Two cities, one regional deal
Cr Mack said the construction of the Hume bypass did wonders for Albury and Wodonga, as did the fore-planning of the Albury Wodonga Development Corporation.
He said the corporation outlined and set up future subdivisions that have come to life in the past 50 years and helped put the Twin Cities in a 'fantastic position to prosper'.
He hopes the Two Cities, One Community partnership can pick up where the corporation stopped and be instrumental in the planning of Albury-Wodonga's future direction.
"We're primed to be in position now to be the '70s brainchild of Gough Whitlam," he said.
"We're in a position now to say we're ready to go and launch, but we need fuel to launch it, which gets back to the point before about policy and is the government serious about regional Australia?"
Cr Mack said he was still waiting for both state governments to formally sign off on the federally-announced regional deal pilot.
Ms Mudra said Wodonga council was working with their Albury counterparts to focus on increasing investment and employment on the Border through the Invest Albury Wodonga partnership, which has received federal support through the $3.2 million regional deal.