On This Day …

Thursday, 25th August, 1853

Sir Henry Fox Young, governor of South Australia, offered a reward in 1851 for the first boat owner to navigate the Murray River to the Darling River Junction. He wanted to see trade routes open up using this great inland river. The first two boats would be up for £2000 each if they met the conditions.

On 25th August, 1853, Captain Francis Cadell launched his paddlesteamer, the Lady Augusta, from Goolwa (south of Adelaide) to complete this journey. His was not the first paddlesteamer on the river, however, and he soon found himself in a race against Captain William Randell on the Mary Ann. Although the Mary Ann was a smaller boat, the two raced neck and neck most of the way.

The Lady Augusta finally sailed ahead and reached Swan Hill first, on 17th September, hours ahead of the Mary Ann. They enjoyed some celebrations before heading on their way, Lady Augusta returning to Goolwa with a load of wool, and Mary Ann continuing on to Echuca before returning. And so the age of the paddlesteamers began.

Have you ever been to Mildura or Echuca and taken a ride on one of these old cruisers? How would you describe it?

Published in: on 24th August, 2012 at 10:29 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I think the Mary Ann is sometimes moored at Goolwa, set up as old museum for tourists. I’m sure I’ve seen it there. The Lady Augusta may be around the place too. Goolwa is one of my favourite river destinations, not far to drive and it has a lovely Christian book shop which supports Aussie authors 🙂
    Mildura and Echuca are both a bit further away from Goolwa (although closer to you, Amanda) and both well worth a visit too. No, I’ve never been for a ride on one, but it’s lovely to see a beautiful old paddle steamer cruising past. They remind me that life used to be lived a lot slower than now.

    • And I bet they thought they were so fast back then, too. 🙂 I went on a paddlesteamer at Echuca a few years back. Loved the chug and hiss of the pistons – nice relaxing cruise.

  2. Reminds me of ‘All the River’s Run’. I loved that miniseries. SOOOOOOOO Romantic. I’ve never been on one of these boats – but what a way to travel. Would be very relaxing.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever watched that series. Must do a catch up! It was a different life back then, eh!

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