I E F C H R O N O L O G Y O
F E U R O P E A N S E T T L E
M E N T
N T H E M U R R A Y V A L L E
Y S O U T H A U S T R A L I A
By Peter J REILLY... 1997
1802 ... As part of his circumnavigation of the Australian continent, Mathew Flinders charts the coastline of
1830 ... Capt Charles Sturt's expedition discovers, and traces the River Murray to the sea.
1831 ... Capt Collett Barker inspects the coast of Gulf St Vincent, treks to Mt Lofty and, from the heights, observes "a considerable indentation in the coastline", subsequently named Barker Inlet. ... He then inspected the Murray Mouth area, where he is attacked, and killed, by natives.
1836 ... Colony of South Australia proclaimed, and Wellington became the first crossing point on the Murray in S.A..
1837 ... At the Colony's first land sale, Morphett bought 4,000 acres on the west bank, around Wellington.
1838 ... Hawdon and Bonney were the first to overland cattle from NSW, they followed the Murray into SA. On 12th March they discovered and named Lake Bonney. Eyre, Sturt and others shortly followed and soon hundreds of thousands of sheep and cattle were travelling this route annually; - Lake Bonney and Overland Corner became favourite resting and crossing spots to the overlanders, who, river permitting, could re-cross the river in the vicinity of present day Blanchetown. The alternative was to trek around Nor-West Bend. Either way, the route became generally known as The Sydney Road.
1838 ... Duttons of Kapunda took up the Nikalapko pastoral lease on the north bank opposite present day Cadell.
1839 ... Governor Gawler's "Goolwa to Nor-West Bend Expedition"; - travelling in sailboats with horsemen accompanying them on the bank, the party travelled from near Goolwa to North-West Bend from where a contingent of horsemen made a cross country dash to Mt Bryan resulting in Henry Bryan becoming lost, never to be seen again. - Some rash decisions plagued this expedition, which was otherwise notable for including ladies with a view of dispelling settlers fear of the natives.
1840 ... Morphett installed and operated a ferry, at Wellington.
1841 ... Tit-for-tat slaying between Overlanders and Aborigines culminated in the Rufus River Massacre of August 27th; - Edward John Eyre was made Protector of Aborigines. - Moved to his Moorunde lease near "Blanchtown", and ended white settlers fear of the Murray aborigines. At the time he was the only white settler between Wellington and Nor-West Bend.
1841 ... Campbell and Levy (overlanders) took up Nor-West Bend Station, an area of 361 sq.mls around present day Morgan.
1844 ... Roonka [176ml] on the west bank, homesteaded by the McBeans, it soon became a staging point for Overlanders and Explorers.
1845 ... McFarlanes arrived and settled on east bank at Wellington.
1846 ... A Murray/Darling flood, noted in the diaries of Sturt's "Central Australia" expedition.
1846 ... Cook brothers took up runs on east bank around Tailem Bend.
1847 ... Murbko [178ml] on the east bank homesteaded by the McLeans, they were the first to use fences on sheep runs.
1850 ... Governor Young and party ascend the Murray to the Rufus on horseback, and continued to the Darling via whaleboat.
1851 ... Chambers Bros. took up the Cobdogla run opposite present day Kingston and successfully bred fine horses. In time their runs extended from the NSW border to Purnong and their Taylorville homestead became the hub of Riverland affairs. The imposing North Adelaide mansion, "Carclew", was their city home.
1852 ... Gundagai flood undermined Eyre's irrigation dam at Moorunde: - In a prelude to his foreshadowed steamboat attempt, Francis Cadell voyaged from Swan Hill to Wellington in a canvas boat.
1853 ... Chapman occupied the east bank in vicinity of Lock 5#.
1853 ... Randell then Cadell took the first steamboats up the Murray River and into NSW.
1855 ... Edwards settled Coninka at what we now call Murray Bridge. It became a popular spot to 'swim' stock and wagons across the river. The water was usually calmer than at Wellington.
1856 ... Napper built a storehouse, traded and irrigated at Lake Bonney where, in 1863, he built his 'Accommodation House'. His wife is credited as the first white-woman settler in the region.
1859 ... 'Overland Corner Hotel' opened for business.
1861 ... Craignook, a huge station around Purnong, settled by Thomson.
1863 ... Blanchtown, surveyed back in 1855, was now proclaimed as a Riverboat Port.
1864 ... Edwards Crossing (Murray Bridge) chosen as site for bridge.
1870 ... First officially recorded flood peaked 11M at Morgan. It washed away homesteads at Craignook [117ml] and Murbko [177ml].
1871 ... Gebhart took up Markaranka run, on north bank near Cadell.
1873 ... Bridge at Edward Crossing completed. (Murray Bridge)
1876 ... Benjamin Walker built a flour-mill at Mannum.
1877 ... J and D Shearer began making farm machinery at Mannum.
1878 ... Railway reached Nor-West Bend, Morgan officially proclaimed.
1879 ... Railway reached Murray Bridge, but did not cross the river.
1884 ... Railway finally crossed the river at Murray Bridge and settlement boomed as lines spread out across the mallee.
1887 ... Renmark began as a Chaffey Bros. irrigation project.
1890 ... A Darling flood peaked 8.25M at Morgan.
1891 ... Pastoral Leases expire, ending the era of the huge stations.
1894 ... Willow planting began on riverbanks to aid high water navigation.
1906 ... Loxton surveyed, but stagnated until a second wave of ex-servicemen arrived in 1949.
1910 ... Waikerie got going with private blockies, after failing as a commune in 1890's.
1911 ... Berri instigated as fruit growing district.
1917 ... Flood reached 9.7M at Morgan.
1919 ... Cadell irrigation area opened and allotted to ex-servicemen.
1922 ... Blanchtown Weir/Lock completed, it had taken 7 years.
1925 ... Second 'bridge' for railway alone completed at Murray Bridge.
1929 ... Lower Murray Reclamation and Irrigation Scheme completed. Gov. Jervois (1877-83) had instigated this levee building and swamp drainage scheme.
1931 ... Flood peaked 9.8M at Morgan and breached some levees.
1952 ... Flood peaked 8.6M at Morgan.
1955 ... Flood peaked 8.3M at Morgan and pre-empted the 1956 flood.
1956 ... Flood peaked 12.3M at Morgan, breached all levees and was the highest flood recorded since white settlement. Traditionalists argue that it was only the 'locks' that made it higher than the 1870 flood.
1974 ... Flood peaked 8.5M at Morgan (old annual floods peaked about 5-7M, but by 1974 the Snowy Mountains Water Management Scheme, designed to 'even out' the Murray's fluctuations, was fully operational.)
PRE-HISTORY FLOODS - Scientific data has revealed that a 1,100BC flood rose to a level of 12.6M at Morgan, and another in 1,780AD reached 14.3M.
1st COMMERCIAL VOYAGES UP THE MURRAY:
SA Government offered 2,000-pounds reward, to the first two steamship to reach the Darling junction.. - Capt Francis Cadell had the 105ft 'Lady Augusta' built in Sydney with 2x20hp steam engines.. - William Randell built his own 55ft 'Mary Ann' at Gumeracha and Mannum, with a single 8hp engine and the, now infamous, "square" boiler.
March ...... W R
Randall started, but shallow water in Penn Reach stopped him.
Aug- 5 ...... River rising, Randall and the Mary Ann again set off from Noa-No landing.
Aug-18 ..... Mary Ann had boiler trouble, spent two days repairing it.
Aug-21 ..... Mary Ann spent this Sunday a few miles above Moorundee. [170ml]
Aug-22 ..... Mary Ann moored vicinity Warru Station (Nor-West Bend). [202ml]
Aug-25 ..... Cadell left Goolwa with Governor Young and invited guests aboard the Lady Augusta and barge. They regularly steamed from before sunrise, until darkness halted them.
Aug-28 ..... Lady Augusta spent this Sunday moored at Moorundee Station. [166ml]
/ Mary Ann spent same Sunday moored at Chapman's Station. [344ml]
Aug-29 ..... Lady Augusta took on wood and spent night at Warru Station. [205ml]
Aug-30 ..... Mary Ann entered NSW [406ml]
Sept- 3 ..... Lady Augusta entered NSW
/ Mary Ann passed the Darling junction. [517ml]
Sep- 6 ...... Lady Augusta moored in the Darling and lay over throughout Sunday 7th.
Sep-11 ..... Lady Augusta passed site of present day Mildura. [551ml]
Sep-12 ..... Mary Ann passed through Euston. [697ml]
Sep-13 ..... Lady Augusta passed through Euston.
Sep-14 ..... Mary Ann passed the Murrumbidgee junction, and moored about. [772ml]
/ Lady Augusta steams past the moored Mary Ann at 10.30pm..
Sep-15 ..... Mary Ann reclaimed the lead, the boats continued to leapfrog due to mishaps and wooding-up stops.
Sep-17 ..... Lady Augusta arrived at Swan Hill about mid-day. - The Mary Ann arrived a few hours later.
Much dancing and celebrating occurred at Swan Hill. Cadell left his barge to be loaded with wool, and went exploring up-river as far as the Gunbower [948ml]. In the end, he had to go fifty miles up the Wakool to load the wool; - Randall continued up-river.
Sept-24 ..... Randell had difficulty with a submerged reef (Murrumbidgee Reef 1055/1056ml), but managed to get through to Maiden's Punt [1067ml] and was heartily welcomed by locals.
FRANCES CADELL; spent a lot of time exploring and clearing snags in the Murray and Murrumbidgee, where he traded with a variety of steamers until about 1860. He then returned to the sea, spent some time in New Zealand then moved on to the Dutch East Indies. He antagonised many in the East Indies, where, in 1879, it is reported he met his death, either at the hands of a mutinous crew or some disgruntled East Indies Islanders.
WILLIAM RANDALL; committed himself to the Darling, though he traded throughout the Murray/Darling system; He built boat-yards and docks at his Reedy Creek station, and a town called Mannum grew-up around him; "His" town boomed until 1884, when the Murray Bridge railway stole the freight trade, and Mannum's importance declined: - In his later years "W R" was active in SA politics but he remained involved in the river and its trade until he died, in 1911.
© P J Reilly 1998 ..... E-mail Inquiries
For a chronology on the progress of South Australia, as a whole, click on > Flinders Ranges Research:
Return to Homepage