The Murray River - Playground And Vital Resource.
Reflecting On The Murray
One morning I was up early - it does happen occasionally. Looking out of the window I saw that the surface of the river was, if not quite like glass, at least undisturbed by power boats towing skiers. The reflections off the water looked just beautiful so I grabbed the camera and went out.
Well, I wasn't the only one awake. No pun intended.
The slight ripple enhanced the effect.
Early in the morning ducks and purple swamp hens (with absolutely enormous feet) were everywhere.
One Sunday morning Pam, under the auspices of her role as Tour Guide, Short Wheel Base, forced me out of bed and made me accompany her on a cruise up and down the Murray River on the Paddle Steamer Industry
. The boat was built at Goolwa back in 1911, down by the Murray River mouth. She performed general duties such as keeping the river clear of snags (underwater obstacles, that is, not sausages) and later assisted in the construction of the weirs. She was retired in 1969. Her replacement was named after the Aboriginal word meaning 'Industry'. What puzzles me is why Aborigines would have a word for 'Industry'.
Paddle Steamer Industry leaving on her afternoon cruise. Her boiler burns wood.
featured as a static museum for a number of years while interest in restoring her mounted. In 1990 restoration work commenced and later that year she featured as the Lady Mabel
in the television series, The River Kings. She was re-commissioned as a historic working vessel in 1995. Just as all the restoration work was carried out by volunteers, so she is operated by them to this day. Her engine is fully exposed and is really very simple, her paddle wheels being fitted directly on to the ends of her crankshaft. Thus there is no gearing, nor is there a flywheel. Her crank throws are at 90° to one another so that one of the double acting pistons is producing maximum power while the other is changing direction.
The starboard crank (looking astern). The crank throws are painted red as is one of the valve operating cams and the crankshaft.
On the left of the picture, a yellow guard covers the crankshaft where it passes over a gangway, transmitting the torque to the
starboard paddle wheel. The main bearing housings are painted green and the boiler, which operates at 90 p.s.i., is on the right.
At weekends the river was quite noisy with power boats towing skiers every which way.
We passed our caravan (arrowed) twice.
A pelican flew gracefully overhead.
Pam slipping the captain a $10 tip as she disembarked. Sorry, that should read 10 cents. That's water in the bottle.
A Little More On The Murray
Recently I've been carrying on about the plight of the Murray River. Perhaps a bit too much, you think? Anyway, after leaving Renmark for Adelaide, we stopped in Blanchetown for a lunch break and to look at Weir/Lock Number One.
For comparison purposes I have pictured below Weir Eleven at Mildura, Victoria. Beneath that is Weir One at Blanchetown, South Australia. Despite the water of the Darling River having joined the Murray's water between those two weirs, the flow has been so drastically reduced that hardly a trickle remains.
Weir and Lock Eleven at Mildura in Victoria.
Weir and Lock One at Blanchetown in South Australia. Whatever flow is left dribbles over the furthest five gates.
Where has the rest of the water gone? Some has been pumped out for town water supplies but most of it has been taken by crop irrigators along the way. The river still has 275 kilometres to flow through South Australia to its mouth, so it's no wonder the government of that state is at loggerheads with the upstream states of Victoria and New South Wales which take first bite of the cherry.
An interesting fact: The water below Weir One (pictured immediately above) is only 750 mm (2’ 6”) above sea level but must flow 275 kilometres to reach Lake Alexandrina then enter the Southern Ocean at Encounter Bay.
The total length of the Murray is 2,530 kilometres. It even has its own flag.
The Murray River Flag.
That's all for Page 65, folks. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.
Footnote: This re-working of Page 65 was completed on 15th June 2013. It conforms to HTML5 and CSS level 3.