Nonfiction 4

Australia’s Great River Landscape - Murray River and Mallee by Shane Strudwick

By Shane Strudwick

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One day while visiting Mr Robert McPherson a large sheep station owner they saw an old swagman trying to catch a sheep for his Corryong Courier tuckerbox. ’ And jumping down he chased the swaggie away, (Jumbuck was an Aboriginal phrase for sheep). This caught Paterson’s imagination and he softly spoke the lines of ‘Waltzing Matilda’. Accompanying Paterson was Miss Christina McPherson, who was intrigued with the words, and told the poet that she had heard a brass band playing a tune that she though would suit them.

It seems quite clear from the recordings of the day that the Murray itself was taken for granted; there was no thought given to the likely effects of the irrigation proposals on the river or its health, except for the possible effect on those living downstream from the water diversion. As in most cases ‘downstream’ meant South Australia, and that was a separate Colony and not of great concern to Victoria and New South Wales. B. arrived in April 1888 and agreed to take over the Renmark operation.

The fountain at the Grand, the only remaining relic of the Chaffey Office, was brought to Mildura on the PS Gem together with another fountain that originally stood in front of Rio Vista House. Mildura Adelaide Canberra Melbourne 39 Bridging the River John Foord Bridge built in 1892, Corowa-Wahgunyah Murray River’s first bridge was built 1873-1879, Murray Bridge Lift span bridge at Barham Koondrook, 1904 Bethanga Bridge, 1927-1930 Renmark Paringa Bridge, 1926 Allan timber truss bridge at Swan Hill, 1896 Bridges along the Murray River are not just functional, they are scenic and are also historical engineering attractions.

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