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Mission steamer 'Etona'
Title : Mission steamer 'Etona' Mission steamer 'Etona'
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Date of creation : ca. 1900
Format : Photograph
Dimensions : 105 x 155 mm
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

In colonial times, the life-blood of South Australia was the Murray River, providing the means for the early settlers to establish farms along its banks, to build towns and grow crops. From the 1850s the river also became a means of communication and travel as the era of the paddle-steamers opened. The idea of floating missions on the river first came up in the 1880s. In 1888 the Rev. FCB Fairey, a Congregational minister, paddled a canoe over hundreds of miles along the river, 'visiting stations, selectors and woodcutters on the banks of the Murray.' (Adelaide Observer 4 August 1888, p. 30) This followed in the wake of the first 'missionary on the Murray', the Rev. JJ Halley. Later the Methodist Church sponsored a steamer, Glad Tidings, to visit the Village Settlements under the Rev. WC Butler.

George Kennion, the Anglican Bishop of Adeladie, decided to purchase a paddle-steamer to be used as a floating church. While in England he canvassed for financial support from the boys at his old school, Eton College. When the steamer was purchased in 1891 it was, therefore, named Etona. Canon Billy Bussell, whose wife was Bishop Harmer's sister, was a much-loved minister on the Etona for some years. The Etona ceased operating in 1912, by which time the Murray River towns had become less isolated through the extension of the rail network.

Related names :

Bussell, William John

Butler, W. Corley

Fairey, F.C.B.

Halley, J.J.

Harmer, J.R. (John Reginald), 1857-1944

Kennion, George Wyndham, 1845-1922

Etona (Ship)

Eton College

Murray River (N.S.W.-S. Aust.)

Coverage year : ca. 1900
Place : Murray Bridge (S. Aust.); River Murray
Region : Riverland and Murraylands
Further reading :
Anglican Church of Australia. River Murray Mission. Register of baptisms, 1894-1913, SRG 94/61

Fenton, ME. The mission paddle steamer Etona, Houghton, S. Aust.: R. Williams, 1994

Godson, Harry. Personal papers, 1880-1961, PRG 1258/1/Album 10

Hilliard, David. Godliness and good order: a history of the Anglican Church in South Australia, Netley, S. Aust.: Wakefield Press, 1986

'The story of the Etona', Murray News, February-June 1994

Webb, Lucy. Personal papers, PRG 231



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