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australia:vic:echuca

Echuca and surrounds

Echuca-Moama:

Introduction:

  • historic inland port on the junction of the Murray and Campaspe Rivers only 2.5hrs drive from Melbourne
  • the Campaspe River arises from Macedon Ranges just north-west of Melbourne, passes near Kyneton and is dammed to form Lake Eppalock near Heathcote before continuing its journey north to Elmore & Rochester before joining the Murray at Echuca
  • Echuca is the closest Murray River town to Melbourne with Moama being its sister town on the NSW side of the Murray
  • the Murray River water level is seasonal albeit modified by controlled water release from Hume Weir
    • water levels in Summer averages 8ft falling to low in Winter which may be as low as 4-5ft, then rising in Spring as snow melts in the Alpine region which on occasions cause flooding with water heights of 33ft (eg. 1993) although usually water heights tend to peak at 25-30ft
  • the Murray region is endemic with Murray Valley Encephalitis Virus carried by mosquitoes which are most active at dawn & dusk
  • climate:
    • being north of the Dividing Range it is usually several degrees hotter & dryer than Melbourne although being inland, tends to have cooler nights

History:

  • 1838 - region explored by the “Overlanders” after Charles Sturt had navigated the Murray-Darling systems in 1829
  • Moama village established in 1845, originally known as Maiden's Punt, after James Maiden - punt owner, station master, publican & post-master - the township was re-named Moama in 1851
  • Moama became a popular cattle market & crossing place, but when the cattle market crashed in late 1850's, so did Moama - partly attributed to strong competition from Echuca
  • Echuca founded in 1853 by Henry Hopwood who provided punts & a pontoon bridge which were the only means of crossing the Murray & Campaspe Rivers
  • 1855 - 1st land sale in Echuca, Major Thomas Mitchell purchased allotment in 612 High St on which he built a hotel, beating his great rival Henry Hopwood who had to settle for the adjoining block to the south.
  • 1861 - Common School opened
  • 1864:
    • Echuca becomes an inland port when the Melbourne-Echuca railroad is completed allowing paddle steamers to transport wool from Darling & Murrumbidgee Rivers as far north as almost the Queensland border to Melbourne where it was exported overseas
    • Bank of Victoria opens
  • old Moama village was wiped out by flooding in 1870
  • 1870's the steamer boom era:
    • Echuca becomes the largest inland port in Australia and second only to Melbourne as a port in the 1870's
    • Echuca's paddle steamer & red-gum industries flourished from 1865 to 1880's when new railroads opened more economic routes to the colonial cities
    • Echuca 208 School built in 1874
    • Bank of NSW opens in 1877
    • Iron Bridge opened in 1878 and with gradual decline in river trade, the commercial centre moves southward away from High St, to Hare St, towards the railway station, which by then was a busy transport terminal.
    • Chinese Masonic Society building built in 1878 which became headquarters for the Chinese population who were largely market gardeners
  • 1900, the steamer trade is killed off by railway competition
  • major flooding:
    • 1906, 1916, 1993, 1996
  • Murray River waters regulated by series of weirs & dams constructed in 1920's after a drought in 1914 left the Murray as a series of pools
  • most of the current paddle-steamers were built in 1920's
  • 1974: rejuvenation of the old High St which had became rundown, with the recreation of Port of Echuca as a tourist centre and the retrieval & restoration of a paddle steamer, the P.S. Alexander Arbuthnot, which had sunk 20yrs earlier
  • Echuca was 'put on the map' by the filming of “All The Rivers Run” in the early 1980's

Tourism:

  • the Port of Echuca is an historic wharf with:
    • red-gum wharf which sits at water level of > 40ft to accommodate the seasonal changes in water levels
    • many old craft shops & tea rooms 
    • home to the world's largest collection of paddle-steamers
    • regular paddle steam cruises up the Murray River which last from 1-3 hours with some providing 3 course meals for lunch or dinner. Family costs $38 for 1 hour cruise; a 3 course meal and 2-3hr cruise on P.S. EmmyLou
    • Sharp's Magic Movie House (old BW silent films) & Penny Arcade
    • World in Wax
    • Murray Esplanade Cellars wine tasting - official cellar door to Tisdall Wines
    • house boat hire
  • several resort “clubs” in Moama which flourished under the ban on pokies in Vic:
    • Rich River Resort 36 hole golf course 
      • golf - golf attire essential
      • Cafe Mosaics - very good value family meals
      • Tatalia Restaurant - seafood buffet
      • golf-accommodation deals
    • Moama Sporting Club:
      • Chinese smorgasbord meals
    • RSL Club
    • Echuca Worker's & Services Club
  • Madison Day Spa resort in Moama - accommodation, restaurant &/or spa/massage with day spa
  • National Holden Museum
  • Raverty's Motor Museum
  • Echuca's Historic Museum
  • many caravan & camping parks with cabins, including:
    • Riverside - on Moama side, has many units overlooking the Murray
    • Yarraby - on Echuca side of Murray, east of Echuca
  • horse-riding:
    •  Billabong trail rides
  • water skiing on the Murray River (Southern Cross Water Ski or bring your own boat)
  • Go-Kart track
  • Adventure playpark in Moama
  • Paintball games - Semoz Paintball Moama
  • Echuca golf course
  • Echuca tenpin bowling
  • Moama mini-railway
  • Colkerry Parrot Sanctuary
  • Murray River Aquarium & reptile display
  • Moama arts & crafts market 2nd & 5th Sat each month
  • Moama village market 4th Sunday each month
  • Wineries:
    • St Anne's Winery Moama 9am-5pm 7 days opp. Rich River Golf Resort
    • Chanter Estate Moama in restored 1883 church
    • Riverview Estate Moama
    • Kilkerrin Vines Estate Moama
    • Morrison's Riverview Estate Moama

annual events

  • Riverboats Jazz, Food & Wine Festival - mid-Feb
  • RSL & Citizen's Club Great Outdoor Exhibition & Fishing Classic - late April, exhibition & fishing competition
  • Murray to Moyne Cycle Relay:
    • fund raiser for health organisations in Victoria in late March
    • 520km relay bike ride from either Echuca, Swan Hill or Mildura, finishing at Moyne River in Port Fairy 
  • Rich River Rod Run - hot rod car gathering - mid March
  • public holiday celebrations - Australia Day, Easter

North:

  • Barmah:
    • Barmah State Forest:
      • largest red-gum forest in the world, 30km from Moama
      • Kingfisher Wetland Cruises to explore the wetlands
      • Gondwana canoe hire
      • Dharnya Centre - Aboriginal cultural museum 

 

  • Mathoura:
    • a quaint little town with pop. 700 surrounded by lush red-gum forests, 39km from Moama
    • has arguably the best access to the Murray River in the area with no high banks & numerous swimming beaches
    • has some of the best Australian native fishing spots in the country
  • Deniliquin:

 

South:

  • Rochester:
    • rural town en route to Echuca from Melbourne
    • annual events:
      • Great Northern Show carnival - late Feb
  • Elmore:
    • rural town en route to Echuca from Melbourne
    • Campaspe Run H.V. McKay rural discovery centre
      • H.V. McKay who developed the Sunshine Harvester & largely responsible for developing the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine, was born nearby, with his original farm in nearby Drummartin

East:

  • Kyabram:
    • rural town 25min drive from Echuca
    • community-owned Kyabram Fauna Park - crocodiles, snakes, koalas, wombats, wallabies, cockatoos
    • Kyabram Club - restaurant
    • annual events:
      • Kyabram Rodeo - Labour Day weekend

West:

  • Torrumbarry:
    • Torrumbarry Weir:
      • 25min drive (45km) from Echuca on the Murray
      • old weir initially built in 1924 to regulate water flow & height along the Murray after drought in 1914 left the Murray as a series of pools
      • rebuilt in 1996 when old weir started leaking in 1992
australia/vic/echuca.txt · Last modified: 2012/12/29 22:52 by gary1