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River Murray Towns: Wellington

  • Located near where the River Murray enters Lake Alexandrina, Wellington is approximately 105 kilometres south-east of Adelaide.
  • The first parties to overland cattle from the Port Phillip District crossed the River Murray at a point near Wellington.
  • John Morphett, the South Australian agent of the Secondary Towns Association in England, recommended that a major town should be established near where the River Murray enters Lake Alexandrina. Consequently, the area was surveyed in 1840.
  • The settlement was initially known as Morphett's Crossing.
  • Morphett established a ferry service at Wellington, probably in 1839.
  • From 1841, a police station was established at Wellington.
  • By 1846, the name Wellington, after the Duke of Wellington who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, was the officially recognised name of the town.
  • In the same year, a punt was established to replace Morphett's ferry.
  • This punt was replaced by a government ferry - the first government ferry across the River Murray in South Australia - in 1848.
  • In 1851 gold was discovered in Victoria leading to a mass exodus of working men from South Australia. Wellington was the crossing point over the Murray on the way to the gold fields for the diggers and the gold escort, led by police commissioner, Alexander Tolmer, established the South Australian government to safely bring the gold back to the state.
  • When the first bridge across the River Murray was built at Murray Bridge in 1879 and the main railway lines were built through Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend, traffic through Wellington waned.
  • Today the area around Wellington is used for farming, particularly dairy farming.

Further reading

Turner, Robert. Sand on the roof: the story of Wellington on Murray, Wellington [S. Aust.]: Wellington Progress Association, 1977

Links

MurrayRiver.com - Wellington

Sydney Morning Herald Travel - Wellington

Alexander Tolmer
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Leaving the Ballarat Diggings
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Mt. Alexander Gold Diggings
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Punt, Wellington
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State School, Wellington
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Wellington Ferry crossing the Murray River
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Wellington Police Station
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