Slow River: A journey down the Murray by Steve Strevens

By Steve Strevens

Steve Strevens explores Australia's nice waterways - the Murray - from its resource in Victoria's excessive nation to its mouth within the nice Southern Ocean. He tells the tale of the folks and groups who've lived alongside its banks and the way the river has replaced in view that ecu cost.

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Around 320 000 people from over thirty-five ethnic groups passed through. It later became what was supposed to be temporary accommodation for migrants who had been offered free or assisted passage in return for two years of labouring for the government. When they’d completed their obligations, the migrants were free to go anywhere. There was not much to see apart from a few of the huts which formed the main part of a half-finished project designed to become a cultural heritage site. After walking around the huts I sat for a minute on one of the wooden steps leading into a corrugated-iron building that boasted one window per room.

A notice on the door said that it was only open on weekends or selected holidays. A giant arrow pointing towards the footpath would once have proudly blinked in neon but was now quietly rusting away. The old cinema, long since gone, had become a discount clothes and junk shop. At the caravan park the river was just a trickle of water between two rows of sand. There was no chance of a boat trip. The woman in the office was unhappy. She couldn’t remember the river ever being so bad. ’ The river height—or lack of it—showed off the sandbars.

Then the wobbling started again. It might have been a warning. With new water and increased height, the current was quite swift and I quickly found a rhythm. As long as the canoe was guided rather than forced along, paddling was reasonably easy. I was confident it would stay that way. Ted Jackson, for instance. He was nearing his eightieth birthday and had completed eighteen marathons. Ted loved the challenge and had told me he did it to keep in shape. He held the record for the longest canoe trip in Australia.

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