Sixteen artificial billabongs on the floodplain of the River Murray, New South Wales, were surveyed over a 14-month period to observe the effect of different hydrological regimes on the development of aquatic macrophyte communities. The billabongs were initially planted with Vallisneria sp. and Myriophyllum papillosum Orch. in November 1994, then flooded. The 16 billabongs were divided into four treatments: summer flood, spring flood, permanent inundation, and a control treatment that was initially flooded and then allowed to vary in depth with rainfall and evaporation. The plant communities were surveyed on six occasions between April 1995 and June 1996, and percentage cover was estimated on each sampling occasion. Fourteen aquatic macrophyte taxa were recorded over the study period. Billabongs in the permanent and summer treatments exhibited less plant diversity than did billabongs in the control or spring treatments. Terrestrial plants germinated on the exposed areas in both spring and control treatments, but not in the other treatments.