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GOOLWA AD THE SOUTH COAST.
NOTES, HISTORICAL AND DESCRIPTIVE.
By C. E. Hodge.
Goolwa was originally known as 'The ? Elbow,' from the fact that it is situated opposite the nor'-western point of Hind marsh Island, where the River Murray
zases an acute turn-^-elbow-Iike— m its course to the mouth. The aboriginal term for elbow -was 'Goolwa,' hence it is one of the comparatively few towns in South Australia reminiscent or the days of natural primitive., conditions, .and the nomadic blaekfellow. It is interesting to note the early nomenclature of the three principal toiffis on the coast, suggested, no doubt, by coastal , contour, viz., the 'El- bow' (Goolwa), the 'Knob' (Port Elliot), the 'Point' (Victor Harbour). The Early Days. Goolwa is linked' up with very early 'AtiBtralian history.- In 1829-30 Capt. Stiirt made his remarkable trip down the Mur .rmnbidgee and the Murray in a whale boat. He thus discovered the latter river, and named it after the, then, Secretary of State for the Colonies, Sir George Murray. It is recorded that Sturt left' his boat at
the Elbow (Goolwa), and walked to the mouth of- the river. As the result of this trip we have the names given by Sturt to the lake and to physical features on its outline, viz., Lake Alesandrina — in honour of the Princess (who seven years later be came Queen Victoria); Point Sturt, after the leader; and Point MacLeay, after Sir George MacLeay, the naturalist of the ex pedition. In later years, the island, circled by the .river, was named 'Hindmarsh,' after the first Governor. . It is also re corded that Capt;,'Barker, in 1831, began a Burvey of the coast from Cape Jervis, and, en route, called at Goolwa, thence to the Murray mouth, where he met his tragic end at the hands of the aborigines. ' We thus have two visits to the Elbow; the first 41 years and the second five years be fore South Australia was proclaimed a colony. It «eems fitting, therefore, to give this historical setting of Goolwa, at one time a buBy and important town, now a back number in consequence of a policy of, centralization. After the .first settle ment of Europeans at Encounter Bay in 1839, the population gradually extended along the coast, and small towns were formed at Port Elliot and Goolwa, while sheep stations were established around the lake and along the banks of the river. Navigation and Trade. Although population was being attrac .ted to Goolwa, the river had not been utilized to aDy extent for trading purposes up' to 1851. In that year the Legislature offered _a premium of £4,000 to. the first two steamboats which should succeed in navigating the .Murray, from' Goolwa to the' junction of the Darling. An enter prising resident, Capt. Randall, immedi ately set to work to build a steamer at Goolwa. In two years it was ready, and the following notice appeared in The KegisteT of February, 22, 1853:— 'Com- mencement of Steam Navigation on the Murray.— We announce with much plea -gure.that the Messrs. Randall have success fully started the steamboat Mary Ann, built by them on the banks of the Mur ray. The ilary Ann is 55 ft. long, 9 ft. beam, 20 tons, working at 8 h.p.' It was further stated that the boat would leave in a fortnight's time with a cargo of flour for the Victorian diggings. In the same year, 1853, another 'enterprising resident, Capt. Cadell, determined' to make a bid for the Government premium, and bought m steamer called the Lady Augusta in Melbourne, and brought her through the Murray mouth He also built a barge at Goolwa, which when launched ,with due eclat, was christened Eureka by Miss Yotraghuaband, with a bottle of cham pagne A few days later the Lady Augusta uitb, the barge in tow* and His Excellency (Sir Henry Young) and other distin guished . men - on board, started on her initial trip. Capt. Randall in the Mary Ann was also navigating the river, and arrived at Swan Hill a few hours after Capt. Cadell's boat. On her return jour ney of nearly. 1,500 miles, the Lady Au gusta picked up cargo, which included 220 bales of wool. The first consignment
of wool to be brought down the river. Tiere fwas great jubilation, not only in Goolwa/ biit- in .'.the city also, and an offi cial dinner was given to Capt. Cadell and his officers Vat' parliament ?:? House, 'when congratulatory 'and optimistic speeches ?were-- made by: His! Excellency the- Gover- nor; Sir Jolin Morphe'tt, Sir E. 'D. Han ion, and others. At the present time and in present circumstancta/ the following ex cerpts front two speeches will be of in terest:— Sir John Morphett said, 'It is certain that by the navigation of the River Murray 'we practically annex the Province of South Australia a large tract of ex port producing country. It i3_certainiy that- by this 8tep' we afford to pur agri culturalists 'the .means -of conveying their products ?-: to the doors of| the consumers, thus, securing to them the_ best markets* end I consider it- is- certain that naviga tion of, the B.iyer Murray is the first step is that most important object, the union of' the Australian colonies.' Hia Excel lency said:— 'We have been able to pene trate the margin of vast tracts of the in terior of this great continent.- and have peacefully opened up a great highway of upwards of 1,500 miles in length, and of perpetrial' durability and unfailing utility throughout the greater potrion of every cydmary year.' There was no hint o£ building railways in competition with the natural- highway for the river trade, and lad any -member of that assembly pro posed, that the river be tapped at dif ferent 'parts -by the building of railways eo that the produce mHit be taken direct to 'Port Adelaide, he would ' have either heen howled, down or treated with pity m A& btiflS Quite sound mentally.
Wanted, a Port. . ' From this date the river ? was con stantly navigated by an ever-increasing number of boats. Wool and other pro duce were brought, down, while flour and goods of all descriptions were taken up, for Victoria. In view of the growth of trade down the river a port for shipment became necessary, and Port Elliot was selected. A train line .was - constructed from Goolwa to Elliot, and the desired outlet-7 for trade -at once v utilized. Later an the train line was extended to Vic tor Harbour, which eventually became^ the port of shipment. The trucks for'con reying ' the wool, &c, ' were '?- all . run' by horse traction. Passenger trucks were also provided, and a picture of one of them standing at the Goolwa Station is shown below. v- ? Negotiating the Murray Mouth. About this period the practicability ot negotiating the passage of the Murray mouth by steamer, and .taking the wool and other produce direct to the ship's side instead of transhipping at Goolwa and then by rail, was Being discussed. '^An occasional boat did go through, biit in The Register , of June 19, 1808, the follow
ing paragraph appeared: — 'Some time ago Capt. Johnston . of the , Murray 3teamer trade went to ' England to- superintend the construction 'of s steamer to trade between GooIwm and Port Adelaide through the Murray Month. A telegram was received on Monday from Capt. Johnston as follows: — 'Got the steamer Murray into Victor Harbour yes terday, 117 days out. Waiting a fair vind to bring her to port.' ' I caa find no record of the career ot the Murrav in re gard to trading through the mouth, but in later years Capt. Johnston, obtained another 'steamer, the Queen of the South, and for a considerable time- 'traded wita her regularly to Port Adelaide;,, via .??the moutpj . Accompanying is a picture of :the Queen^ gay with bunting, lying in.^he river.,' Tn recognition of bis enterprise Capt. ''Johnston was presented' with' a handsome cup. He negotiated the mouth with several steamers, even at ui^ht. Ou one occasion he took the steamer .'Ger- trude, with two barges, through the mouth to Victor Harbour, and returned in. the steamer to Goolwa. Capt. Jame3 King also traded on the Murray, and, frequently took his boats through the. mouth. .He built the steamer Frances' Cadell and the barges Jupiter^and .Venus. The Jupiter is rjn^ Tunning Vtween Milan); and Menineie, and has in her the epaines of the -Frances Cadell. In 1859 Cjipt. King was presented with an illuminated address expressing satisfaction -'itu. ike careful and Eeamanlike manner in which he had carried on the coasting trade'and naviga tion of the sea mouth of fhe Murray. Accompanying the- address were a gold watch, a sextant, and barometer. One of those who ^igned-therjsdjdress ;WTj§ His Excellency the Governor' (Sir 'Richard Ma'cDonnell) .In June,' '1S76, Capt? War ren took the steamer 'Amphibious, which had come from Melbourne, through the mouth* although he: had never previously entered the river. He said that with a suitable boat he would have no hesitation in negotiating the mouth at any time. The Government and a Port. The volume of trade so increased that it was felt the provision of a safe port was essential, and that, although it had been amply demonstrated that the mouth was navigable, and that the steamers which passed through had never met with any mishap) a canal from Goolwa to Vic tor Harbour would be safer, and far' more practicable. Accordingly, in 1874, Sir J. P. Boueaut, when submitting the Eublic Works Loan Bill to the House of Assem bly, included in his 'expenditure:— 1. The building of a breakwater at Victor Har bour. £50,000. 2. A canal from Goolwa. to Victor_ Harbour, £150,000. The first part of the scheme was carried out, but although the canal scheme- was strongly supported in policy speeches and public meetings, and' the people of the south tried to move heaven and earth in its_tavcur, nothing has ever been done to thus unite the great waterway with the ' Southern Ocean for trading purposes. . In all proba bility the scheme would have been carr.cl out had not Parliament, before the break water was completed, resolved to tap tne river at Morgan by railway, thua divert ing trade from Goolwa. and a southern port. The question of a port, however, waa kept alive, and Major Johnston, an expert, waa brought out to report thereon. In 1919 the major's report was before tl:r House of Assembly, in which he recom
mended: — 1. Extension, of the break water and -.' provision' of-, jetties *? or wharfs at jT Victor Haibour- .-at an estimated:- -cost of ',£375,000.: i.A railwayifromMoaarto to Sandergrbye £155,000. He .stated that if this. work sere not done' ': the rhills line wonldhave to- be duplicatei-'frpm Eden to Murray Bridge at a cost^Of £962,000; ???? This rail s-ay from: Monartoi waa in Heu;o£.'the caijal lyhlch, however, ; ;waa.''goji»g . ^o 'cosi £125,000 more than the 'latter, and would be -another nail inv Goolwa's coffin. In Mntrast to the above we find thaj the Commissioner of 'Railways, when.' giving svidence before one, of lthe: many com missions, said, 'The River Murray is, in my belief, the.pTOperouflet^or produce from, the eastern . agricultural areas. It is ridiculous to carry goods- long-distances yver costly railways when by the proper development of tie . river they can go direct to the sea.'' -One bogy, put up was that the cost of bringing wheat down the river and through the canal would be greater than by railway. Not so, accord ing to the Commissioner of Railways. Fur ther, Capt. Sunman, a trader,.on the Mur ray, once Eaid' that he ' would guarantee; if the river were navigable,~to carry goods at£l a ton' each way, -for more -thati 1,000 miles. 'The railways could 'not ap pioach that tariff. In addition to this, it was pqinted out by the late Mr. TiGoode when giving evidence before a . commis sion that the power which will move eight tons, on . a rail way.,- will' move 32 .on the water.' '; .*?.':':'.. -j_V.v '. ?. ??-,?.- Gbolwa's-'Misfortunesv ' . ' During the long years. of consideration the sittings of commissions, the obtaining
of reports from highly paid experts in regard to. a southern -port, the people of the south were living in a state of ner vous tension, and Goolwa was slowly dying, railways were built to Murray Bridge and Morgan. The former, inter state, waa essential, and had to cross the river somewhere, but it nevertheless took a large, percentage of trade from Goolwa. The Morgan line was more deadly in ita effects on the southern town. Then came the locking' scheme so as t-3 make the river permanently navigable. This was essential.' for in some' years the river has been so low that persons could walk over its bed in places, dry shod. We used to tear of steamers being held up in con sequence of low water and considerable trouble was' caused in the delivery of stores. An old-time river _ trader, Capt. Walters, who was at one time a member of the crew of the Lady Augusta, told me that ; on one trip the steamer was stuck up,- and the cargo had to be tran-, shipped 'at Windomal, six miles above MurrnmBidgee. It was stowed in an old hut, andihe was left hi charge to pro tect it from being pillaged by aborigines, and he had to wait for orders before the goods could be delivered. When Sir Henry Galway laid a stone at Blanchetown to mark the site of the first lock, there was great jubilation, and great _ things were predicted in regard to irrigation and navi gation. Now, however, there is nothing to navigate, as the fleet of steamera has disappeared, and with a permanently navi gable river, the prospect of a port at either Goolwa or Victor Harbour seems further off than ever. In spite of recommenda tions by experts, 'consideration by com missions, thie efforts of the River Murray League, the opinions of men well qualified to,' pronounce opinions, and regardless of natural provisions, the ultilization of the noble stream has been ignored. His Ex cellency (Sir Anthony Musgrave), when retiring from office as Governor, in one of his farewell speeches, urged — one might say-^-implored— South Australia 'to pawn her clothes rather than lose the chance of capturing the great river trade.' In this connection the followip' letter, which ap peared in the press some years ago, is of interest. The writer of it' says:— I recall with vividness the excitement which pre vailed, 'he glowing anticipations that were aroused, the confidence that was expressed when the Boueaut broad and comprehensive policy was outlined at Victor Harbour, and looking back on the fate to which that national Kcterae was doomed, I cannot cea.«e wondering how the people of South Australia failed so utterly to realize the situation, to seize the chances that were offered. It is not too much to say that had' the policy been carried through in; its entirety the valley ol tbe Murray wonld by this time have been thicsly settled on, and Goolwa and Victor Harbour have become very important maritime centres. I remember Gciolwa .when. it waa already a very busy port with' half a dozen shipping offices gointr hard, agents, G. Ferguson, G. S. Bead, W. 'Wright, J. P. Trip, VV. ' S. Reid, A. Graham. The world went very well then, and Goolwa was full of life and brighlnees, - which ' wonld have con tinued and grown had better councils prevailed with our legislators with regard to conserving the river trade. ' * ' ' Those who may peruse these notes and have not read Sir David Gordon's book, 'The Nile of Australia,' are urged to do so' aB'Sir David 'deals in a most interest ing manner with the River Murray and its problems. : I Acknowledge' any in debtedness to it for considerable informa tion. Poor old Goolwa. 'Hope de ferred maketh the heart sick,'_ and if ever a town had cause for feeling aick, it is Goiilwa. Once flourishing with every prospect and every reason for an ticipating; a great future through ever in creasing-trade, the creation of the artifi cial routes in competition with the natu ral outlet 'for the. ; river 'trade, had the effect .of * destroying its; industries, de pleting its population, and depre ciating - the value of ..property. Dur ing GoQlwa's *J-almy days, eyery_ housa was occupied, and the shops did' big busi ness. -It- had 'a shipyard, where -maiiy steimera*ahd barges were built, andsup plied with boilers and other equipment, by the local foui-dry. It had a flonr mill in full work, and a brewery, pro bably also working full time; those in dustries, together with its fleet of trading boats have disappeared; all snatched away by the : tentacles of that octopus— centra- lization. Personalities and Incidents. Goolwa had some enterprising., progres sive, and far-seeing citizens,- who not only took an active and influential interest in. the town itself, but in the affairs of the' State generally. It also once had its own cavalry company, which took part in' the welcome to the Duke of Edinburgh, when he visited the colosiy in 1887, and the troop, in charge of Iiieut. ,.poL JHigginfl, . , f ormed J&e advance . guard in 'the-escort-fromGlenelg. The names of some' of the earliest settlers' one san' remember were:— Atkins, Grundy,- Goode, Ritchie, Ra:.dall. McBeath, ; Taylor, Eaton. Lindsay. Crystal, Ferguson, Sum ner, Barber, Jones. Cadell,- -Johnston, Spencer, King. Mr. T. Goode, sen., opened a general storekeeping business in 1852. which has been carried on for three generations. The late . Mr. T. Goode, jun.', was an influential man, was the first Mayor of Goolwa, and held office for five terms. Mr. Atkins was one of the earliest .settlers in the district. Mr. T. Jones supervised the construction of the tramwa'y line from Goolwa to Port El liot, and for some years waa in charge of the whole tramway system. Messrs. Eaton and Crystal were both engaged in business, and w«e influential townsmen, as were Capt. CadelI,S Randall, -Johnston, Ritchie. Sumne*, Walters. Barber. San man,. King, all engaged in the river trade. Mr. J. Spencer, once familarly known at Port Victor as 'Gulnare Jack,' from the fact that he waa a member of the crew of the Gulnare, revenue schooner, owned and sailed by Capt. Jenkins— lost in the' Engelberk For Bome years Mr. Spencer sept the Goolwa Hotel, and also ran the brewery. _,He is still hale and hearty, although in the eighties. Another liv ing link with the river trade, is Capt. WalterSi still active and hale, although also in the eighties. Capt. Barber died about two years ago. An interest ing relic of long years ago is the bust of a woman^.over the door of the Goolwa Hotel, it was once the figure head of a- vessel, the Moyambique, wrecked near Goolwa. ,. Part of the staircase, and the cellar supports of the hotel are timber from that ill-fated ship.
PASSENGER TRUCK -AT GOOLWA STATION.
PASSENGER TRUCK -AT GOOLWA STATION.
THE OUEEN OF THE SOUTH AT CLAYTON. -
THE OUEEN OF THE SOUTH AT CLAYTON. -