Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cry me a river

The mouth of the mighty Murray River (Australia's longest river), Hindmarsh Island, South Australia

Where Go the Boats?
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Dark brown is the river,
Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating-
Where will all come home?

On goes the river,
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore.

The car ferry at  Morgan, South Australia 

The Murray River Queen Paddle Steamer, Waikerie, South Australia

A river bend at Renmark, South Australia

The port of Renmark, South Australia

Sacrilege, I know, but I'm not fond of the Murray River, depite its claim to fame as the third longest navigable river in the world, after the Amazon and Nile. Being a beach gal, I find rivers generally to be too still, murky and in desolate sort of places. Inland rivers in particular give me the grumps. I hate being too far from the coast. I find it dislocating. We were hardly 'outback' Australia, but it was rugged territory and I yearned for a sea breeze. How did those early explorers cope and what on Earth possessed them to head out 'back of beyond'? You can have fame and fortune, but give me an ocean view. These poor people have river 'beaches' which appeared to be mostly sorry, muddy affairs. "It just wrong", as Ro-Ro is fond of saying about things he finds disturbing.

This is part of the route we travelled from where the road turns sharply off to Renmark to Echuca-Moama.  The Murray rises in the Australian Alps, draining the western side of Australia's highest mountains and, for most of its length, meanders across Australia's inland plains, forming the border between New South Wales and Victoria as it flows to the northwest, before turning south for its final 500 kilometres or so into South Australia, reaching the ocean at Lake Alexandrina.  Like sleeping dragons, rivers can lure you in with their reptilian quiet until they show their full force in flood-time.  As we continue to see in our eastern states. 


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