The Darling and Murray rivers junction 1880.
At Wentworth, a certain aura surrounds the site where two of Australias longest rivers converge. It is here at the junction the Darling River joins the Murray and their silent turbid waters glide silently by on down through locks, weirs, lakes and wetlands and eventually into the Great Southern Ocean. Sturt was responsible for discovering this area and some years later in1859 the town of Wentworth was proclaimed, named after William Charles Wentworth, a NSW Explorer and Politation. The Murray Darling region was not considered initially for irrigation but for grazing and vast stations were established with the rivers offering quick and efficient freight for wool and other essential items. A paddle steamer was capable of shifting up to 2000 bales at a time, the alternatives were bullock, donkey or horse teams that were slow, labourous and expensive.
Darling street Wentworth 1900.
In the early days Wentworth was the second busiest port in country NSW. During 1890, 425 paddle boats checked in at the Wentworth Customs Office, the most for any one week being 31. The port of Wentworth became so prominent in fact that the town was on the short list of three as a place to build the "Capital" at the time of federation
Thegoa Lagoon and its proximinity to the Darling and Murray junction was an important meeting place for Aboriganls of the region. The last meeting took place during 1860 and it's reported some 500 people from various tribes in the region gathered there. Later in the century this area became part of the travelling stock route and known as the Wentworth Common. There were up to 150,000 head of stock pass through here annually.
The gaol, designed by colonial architect James Barnett was built in 1881 to replace the over crowded lockups, the design was then used for the building of the Dubbo and Long Bay gaols which included cells for females. The Wentworth gaol finally closed in 1927 and even today remains in excellent condition and a popular point of interest for travellers. With that brief view of some of Australias rich and exciting history we now gallop through the years to 2010 and see the latest shop to open here in Wentworth. Yes, The Packsaddle Leather Company under the brand name of Rugged Luxury has taken up residence in the old post office shed site abandoned about 1888
The P.S.Ruby was built in 1907, a 205 tonne vessel that was used to deliver freight and passangers to stations and ports along the Murray. It retired from duties in 1938 and became a house boat. By 1968 and in a state of dissrepair it was purchased by the Rotary club and moored opposite the Wentworth wharf. In 1996 the shire council took responsibilty for the vessel and with the help of many locals began an eleven year restoration programme untill finally in 2007 the P.S. Ruby was ready to once again to grace the waters of the mighty Murray and Darling Rivers. Those involved should be very proud of their efforts in achieving the magnificient result
Cormorants, Murray River Wentworth.
Wildlife on the Murray
During my travels throughout Australia which spans from the time I left school back in 1967 until now I have visited many interesting places. There is no doubt river towns have that little bit extra to offer being the places first settled and the evidence of our earliest stone buildings in most cases are still standing and in use. Wentworth has two major rivers, plenty of historical buildings to see and is fast developing as a place of interest for tourists. Darling street, the main drag in lined with shade trees and wide footpaths covered with equally wide verandas. Several coffee shops and three gallery's help create the atmosphere required to keep towns as such a place to visit and relax in. Mildura on the other hand is full on, a huge retail area of imported products and mega stores all over the place. On my first weekend open at Wentworth many of the people through my shop were on a days outing from Mildura to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of this historic town. This may be a good place to invest in real-estate. Until next time. Steve and Sass