Week 3 - Is Nancy Cato's All the Rivers Run- a saga which spanned eight decades and four generations.
Orphaned after a shipwreck off the Victorian coast in 1890, the beautiful and spirited Philadelphia finds both love and adventure aboard a paddle-steamer on the Murray River.Sent to live with her guardians Uncle Charles and Aunt Hester at Echuca, she invests some of her inheritance in the paddle steamer PS Philadelphia. Her life is changed forever when she meets the paddle steamer's captain Brenton Edwards. Delie is torn between the harsh beauty of life on the river with its adventures, and the society life in Melbourne with her blossoming career as a painter.
It is the image of river life that is the backdrop to the story.
At the time Echuca was Australia's largest inland port, and the paddle steamers were responsible for the majority of goods transportation to the inland. At its peak, nearly 200 steamers plied their trade on the Murray, Darling and Murrumbidgee Rivers.
Supplies were carried by steamers to remote rural properties, and farm produce transported back to ports like Echuca to connect with the railway system and ultimately the cities and the sea ports.
The paddle steamers lasted into 1900s till improved road and rail services replaced the river trade.
|Yanga wool loaded on the PS Trafalgar at the station wharf|
|Details of 'Yanga' at the turn of the century|
|The 'Yanga' shed with machine stands on the left and blade stands on the right|
And the family history link - with a tradition of sheep farming, ancestors shore around the district and up into New South Wales. Family folklore had Old Tom involved in the shearers' strife and the burning of the 'PS Rodney', but more of that next post.