SHG&HSI Newsletter Page 2 - May 2000

Genealogical &
Historical Society Inc.
No. A17295X
Inaugural  Member Society of Genealogical Society of Victoria Inc

Quarterly Newsletter
 Number 62
May 2000
Page 2

President's Report
Jan Guse

With a current membership of 157 members our Society is continuing to grow.

    Guest speaker at our February meeting was Bill Hogg, a third generation Riverboat Captain.  Bill gave us an interesting insight into his life on the river and spoke on paddlesteamers in general.

     At the March meeting, Graham Gardner spoke on his two current publications - A Pictorial History of the "Swan Hill Lawn Tennis Club 1900 - 2000" (which was launched at the Tennis Club's Easter Tournament) and "Federation & Murray-Mallee Country (Swan Hill & District 1901 - 2001)" which is due to be launched on Australia Day 2001.  Graham also gave us a brief run down on all his other previous publications.

     The Family History Workshop held in March was a great success, and I would like to thank all those members who helped with the organizing, catering, and running of the workshop.  Also to the Swan Hill Regional Library for allowing us to hold the workshop in the library premises.

     The topic for the April meeting was "How to Record & Organise your Family Tree Data, Photos, Documents etc".   Members discussed and displayed their various methods of collating their data, use of computers etc

Jan Guse


     All sold ticket stubs, unsold tickets and money MUST BE RETURNED to Ms Maree Snowden, 13 Clark Street, Swan Hill. 3585  BY THE  24TH MAY, 2000.
     Please remember that 95% of ticket proceeds will be retained by our Society.

History of the Swan Hill Riverboats
May 2000 Feature


1848:   Edmund Morey and John McKinlay [early  settlers of the Euston area] urged the South Australian Government to put steamers on the Murray River.
1850:    In August the S.A. Legislative Council £4000 to be equally divided between the first two iron steamers of not less than forty horse-power, and not exceeding two feet draught when loaded, to navigate the Murray from Goolwa to the junction of the Darling
1852:   The Gold-Rush in Victoria gave the final economic push to launch riverboats on the Murray. There was a large market for goods on the goldfields and  loads of wool from the stations could be carried on the return trip.
1853:    William Randell, took his boat the 'Mary Ann' for a trial-run on the 19th. of February. She then  reached the Murray-Darling junction on September 3 and later Euston on September 12. The Lady Augusta then just beat the  Mary Ann to Swan Hill also in late September after they virtually raced each other from Euston.
The Lady Augusta under Captain Cadell first navigated the Wakool on 28 Sptember 1853 returning with 441 bales of wool
1855:    The Albury and her barge Wakool reached the town of Albury.
1857:   The Mosquito under Captain Masson navigated the snag filled Murrumbidgeee to Balranald.
1858:   The Gemini then reached Hay [Langs crossing] on the 27th August and the Albury reached Gundagai the highest point navigated on the Murrumbidgee on 16th September.
1859:   The Albury reached Mt. Murchinson on the Darling: a point above present day Wilcannia.
1878:   The Bunyip reached Seymour on the Goulburn only 62 miles from Melbourne.[Buoyed by this remarkable achievement the Seymour people built a wharf to accommodate their riverboat which never eventuated.]
1893:    Captain George White in the P.S. 'Brewarrina' reached Mungindi on the Queensland      border, the furthest point reached on the Darling (Barwon) River.
1956:    The last paddle-steamer to pass through Balranald was the 'Etona', during the 1956 flood.
1973:  The last steam-powered paddle-steamers  to travel along the Murray were the 'Pevensey'      which steamed from Mildura to Echuca between July 22 and August 7; and the 'Enterprise' which      steamed from Murray Bridge to Echuca and returned.

1. The boats and their crews which operated on the  inland rivers were divided into two groups:      "Top-enders who operated out of the Port of Echuca and "Bottom-enders" who worked out of South Australian, Murray River ports.

2. In total, 6500 kilometers of the 8000 kilometer Murray Darling River System were navigated by paddle-steamers.

3. River lengths: Darling 2616 km., Murray 2606 km., Murrumbidgee 1578 km., Goulburn 547 km.

4. The most important era for river transport on the Murray-Murrumbidgee-Darling River System was the 50 year period between 1864 and 1914. River transport reached its peak during the      decade 1870-1880.

5. The largest amount of wool to be shipped by paddle-steamer to Echuca was 96,654 bales in 1880.

6. The railway linking  Melbourne to Echuca which was opened In 1864 greatly stimulated river trade.

7. The 1914-18 period marked the end of the riverboat era due to the combination of five factors:
  * Competition from railways
  * Men leaving the rivers to go to war and not returning.
  * The uncertainty of water levels
  * Severe drought prevented boats from  operating resulting in people switching  to other forms of
  * The arrival of motor transport.

Graphics By: Jelane
WebPage by SHG&HSI Members
Updated: 19 May 2000