A couple of Saturdays ago we treated ourselves to a day out and drove, with no clear plan, to Echuca, a town on the Murray about 200km to the west of us.
In the nineteenth century Echuca was a major inland port on the Murray, and, like Morgan in South Australia, a railhead and a transhipment point for grain and freight from the railway to the paddle steamers that plied the Murray.
In fact before the railway systems of South Australia were connected in the 1880’s, if you wanted to get from Melbourne to Adelaide it was either the coastal steamer, or a train to Echuca, riverboat to Morgan, and train back to Adelaide.
While the regular paddle steamers are long gone there are still a number of preserved paddle steamers at the Echuca wharf museum, plus various other attractions, including a mock colonial period street and an old mailcoach that gives rides around the town.
All in all a bit hokey, but it did kind of give a feel of how things might have been a hundred and fifty years ago. And if living history is not your thing there’s number of reasonable restaurants and a couple of second hand bookshops on the main street.
In a strangely naff sort of way I liked it …