Week by the river

Trip Start Jul 25, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Mannum camping area

Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Friday, February 8, 2013

We finally hit the road for Mannum around midday, Des was rather disgruntled and agitated about this as he had wanted to leave much earlier. But Maureen and I couldn't see any need to hurry when it is just over an hours drive from Adelaide. 

Hindsight, now if I could bottle this and sell it, I would make a fortune. As we meandered through the picturesque towns, Adelaide hills and countryside I saw so many wonderful places that I wanted to stop and take photos of. This was not to be as I stopped once when all the contents of a cupboard spewed onto the floor after a very sharp corner and Des and Maureen stopped, rushed back to see if I had 'broken down' again.
I explained that the cupboard door needs a latch or something to keep it closed, cleaned up the mess and then off we went again. Des is a great person, but doesn't go too much for sightseeing, so I said to myself...'not to worry I'll retrace my route after Mannum.

Drive over the last hill and there it is in all its glory, Mannum another quaint and historical town right on the Murray River, as we turned the last bend the main street came in to view and it was lined with beautiful old buildings that hugged the curbs.The Murray Princess with all its trimmings was tied up and eagerly awaiting to take its next lot of enthusiastic tourists on a cruise up...or down the river, I knew I was going to enjoy this week surrounded by water, great people and awe inspiring scenery.

We crossed the river on the ferry and found our friends John and Jen were already settled in right near an small inlet which was perfect. Within an hour Maureen and Des had set up there tent and we were ready for our first of many...it's 5 o'clock...somewhere'.

The dogs loved being able to roam, and Luana was in and out of the water trying her best to catch the ducks...while Lola...well she stayed as far away as possible, but did her best to chase after the birds on land...

Next day we were joined by another couple Chris and Rayleen. They had brought a small tinny with and it was quickly launched and those brave enough to venture out, did so.
I'm not brave but it had been years since I had had the chance to throw a line out so I found myself in the tinny along with Des and Chris. There was no motor, just the power of good old sweat and tears behind the oars. We didn't go very far as Chris wanted to throw some crab baskets out near the reeds and besides, there were too many people roaring up and down the river on their jet-skies or fancy speed boats trailing the proverbial skier causing backwash to venture too far. 

Chris threw his baskets out and we tied up to get down to the art of fishing.

Oh dear god! What have I done?

Oblivious to Chris and I sitting either end of the tinny...patiently waiting for our big catch lol...imprudently Des stands up, loses his balance and almost tipped us over. And all he could say was, 'you guys getting anything'? After half an hour we gave up and rowed back to camp.

Before we knew it the week had passed and it was time to move on. As I'd been talking to John about solar panels he convinced me that I should invest in some so that I wouldn't need to worry about running out of power all the time, or staying in caravan parks. So, rather than go all the way back into Adelaide I decided to go to Murray Bridge and try my luck there. 

Hindsight. Ah! if only I'd taken those photos...

The first settlement in the area was in 1840. The first ship (a side-wheel paddle steamer) built on the Murray River was launched at Mannum by William Randell in 1852. A shipbuilding industry continued in Mannum until into the 20th century. William Randell is memorialised by the preservation of the boiler the Paddle Wheeler; Mary Ann in the town's recreation park. His dry dock today holds the Marion, an 1897 built paddle wheeler; managed by the National Trust of Australia as a museum. The Marion left active service in 1950 and spent until 1963 as a boarding house.A number of other manufacturing industries were established in the town, and some continue; although not as large as they once were. The largest heavy manufacturing company was David Shearer (later Horwood-Bagshaw) who made farm equipment.Mannum'ssignificance as a river port declined with the railways reaching Morgan in 1878 and Murray Bridge in 1886. The largest ship operating on the Murray is the Murray Princess, a passenger stern-wheel paddle boat based at Mannum offering weekly cruises. The restored historic paddle steamer PS Marion is also based at Mannum and cruises several times a year. Before restoration, it was a static display in a drydock for many years. Because of its position on the Murray River; in 1954 the Mannum-Adelaide pipeline was built to help provide Adelaide with a reliable water supply.The 1956 Murray River flood involved the rising of waters in the Murray River and flooding of many towns in three states of Australia, including the towns of ColignanIraakMannumMurray BridgeMilduraNangilocRed CliffsRenmarkWentworth and many others.The flood occurred due to higher than average rainfalls in Western Queensland and heavy rains in the proceeding three months in Murray catchment areas,peaking at 12.3 metres at Morgan, South Australia. Some areas were flooded up to 100 km from the natural flow of the river.The flood was and still is considered the biggest flood in the recorded history of the River Murray and described as "the greatest catastrophe in South Australia’s history".As a result of the flood, the Menindee Lakes were constructed to store high flows from the Darling River.

(Gotta give it to the Ozzie's when it comes to drinking not even a flood stopped them). Hotels in the main street of Mannum operated their bars from the second floor with boats tying up to the balcony.

 The flood water broke the levee bank on 24 August, and had not fully receded until Christmas. To many locals it is common knowledge that the beginning of the roof on the Visitors' Centre in Main Street was the height in Main Street.

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