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Chart of the Murray River, between Funnel Bend and Echuca
Title : Chart of the Murray River, between Funnel Bend and Echuca Chart of the Murray River, between Funnel Bend and Echuca
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Date of creation : ca. 1880
Format : Map
Dimensions : 470 x 11500 mm
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

River trade along the Murray peaked during the 1880s when several hundred paddle-steamers, along with barges, were operating on the river. In the 1850s the South Australian Government had offered a prize for the first vessel to reach the junction of the Murray and Darling rivers: Captain Francis Cadell's Lady Augusta narrowly defeated the Mary Ann under Captain William Randell. The 'race' had proved that the River Murray was navigable and the great era of paddle-steamer trade on the river began.

The river system became the main method of transportation and communication between inland to the coastal regions. Paddle-streamers carried cargo and supplies to and from pastoral stations, as well as mail and passengers. In the early years, wool was one of the chief cargoes shipped down river, with wheat and flour, building materials and general stores. Later, as the irrigation colonies became established, dried and fresh fruit formed part of the regular cargo.

Lacking published charts showing navigational conditions of the Murray-Darling River system, paddle-steamer captains created their own. Scrolled out as the boat proceeded along the river, each captain could annotate the chart as needed, recording mileages, dangerous snags, sandbanks, stations, woodpiles, wool sheds, billabongs and more.

This particular hand-drawn chart shows 168 miles (270 kilometres) of river, detailing the bends, reefs and snags as well as landing places, stations and towns.

Period : 1852-1883
Region : Riverland and Murraylands
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