Mildura Weekly : Friday September 19 Vol 8 No 46
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 MILDURA WEEKLY.COM.AU NEWS 09 continues. This time around they marvel at the many sights the river has to offer, both man-made This is the second of our two-part story about their... of a lifetime “Our councils here could certain- ly learn from the South Australians,” Jenny said. The couple got their biggest surprise of all when they berthed at Murray Bridge. • TAKING A ‘BREATHER’: Jenny and Cliff relax at one of the many riverfront stopovers dedicated to river traffi c, LEFT, and ABOVE and BELOW, two examples of the other rivercraft the couple encountered. That’s the magnifi cent Murray Princess, BELOW. • HARD AT WORK: Cliff takes time out of his ‘hectic’ schedule to catch up on some reading, RIGHT, while Jenny, BELOW, gives the JayCee a bit of a clean. TOP: A stately riverfront homestead. After tying up, Cliff noticed the dedicated houseboat power supply poles along the riverfront. “When we asked were we could pay for the power, we were told: ‘You can’t. It’s free!’” They were also told the local Council considered supplying power as both an enticement for riverboats to pull up, and a contribution towards snaring ‘tourist dollars’ for the town. Even the little towns made an effort, Jenny said. These efforts included signage pointing to shops for supplies, or fuel, or the pump-out station. “Most of the towns have gone to some effort to make it easy for boats to tie up,” Jenny said, and also for people to negotiate the sometimes steep bank with some places boasting steps cut into the edifi ce to make it easier to get into town. “The effort towns have made to service river traffi c is obvious along the Murray throughout South Australia,” the couple said. Now, a tip for the would-be river being evicted from the riverfront at Renmark. Stranded on the Murray in the Riverland for weeks awaiting a fl ush of water down the Murray to raise the water level and make the river navigable for their boat, the couple and the Jay Cee fell foul of the authorities. In a one-page, A4 document, under the letterhead of the Renmark Paringa Council and headed ‘Notice to boat owner/operator,’ the Magors were told that it was time they left Paringa’s Bert Dix Park. They were given several days to move on, and threatened with a $180 fi ne if they didn’t! At fi rst, while not taking the notice as a joke, the couple were a little amused. It was their fi rst eviction notice! However, the Council’s general inspector, who they described as a ‘nice bloke,’ let them know in quite a friendly, but fi rm fashion that the notice was deadly serious. Facing a fi ne, the Magors decided to move on, but not too far because they were still waiting for the water that would facilitate their continued trip upstream and home. The eviction notice has become a most unusual, but treasured, piece of memorabilia. However, the Magors didn’t leave without having their say, writing a letter to the local paper. It appeared under the headline ‘48-hour rule hurts tourism.’ It read, in part: “Does Renmark Paringa Council really want to have visitors/tourists to come to Renmark to stay here, eat here, shop here and generally indulge themselves? Most visitors/tourists do all of the above, and certainly enjoy themselves. However, there is a certain section of these people who are obliged to comply with rules and regulations set out by the Renmark Paringa Council. These people are houseboat visitors to Renmark. “Some are from upstream, but most are from downstream as far as Murray Bridge. Almost all of these boat operator have indicated that they would have liked to go further upstream to Mildura. “Unfortunately, the channels at Warrakoo and Lock 7 have been non-navigable for some months. “Water only started rising the other week, making it navigable for most boats. “So, all these visitors have spent quite some time in Renmark enjoying themselves and shopping here. Unfortunately, several of them have been moved on by council because of its 48-hour mooring limit. That is fair enough in the ‘high season’, but winter is regarded as the ‘off season,’ particularly for the houseboat industry. “Would you not think council would use their nous instead of their authority and rules? Why not bend a little this time of year and push it out to four days? After all, these particu- lar boats would have certainly left more money in town if they could have stayed a little longer.” Cliff and Jenny are not sure if the letter had an impact, but felt that they had done their bit to improve Council’s, and wider community’s, understanding of the houseboater’s point of view. On the other side of the ledger, the Magors were mightily impressed by the efforts South Australian Murray River towns, large and small, have made to cater for river traffi c. All along the Murray, at places like Renmark, Waikerie, Berri, Morgan and particularly Murray Bridge, the riverfront has often been developed. Often for riverboats, but sometimes it also serves as a community recreation area with, in the case of Murray Bridge, outdoor gym equipment. More often than not, the development includes dedicated ‘port’ facilities for river travellers. traveller. Rum may well have been used as currency in the fl edgling Sydney settlement when our nation was founded, but the Magors found that beer and scotch work wonders on the Murray. A few bottles of beer here, a bottle of scotch there. It was amazing, Cliff said how much assistance will be rendered by grateful recipients of this type of enticement. While not going into too much detail, Cliff advised those wanting to follow in the Magor’s wake that a well-stocked fridge, and drinks cabinet, could do wonders. There is also a fl ourishing river version of the good old Aussie ‘bush telegraph.’ “People up and down the river seemed to know when we were coming,” Jenny said. “And everyone along the river keeps an eye out for each other. It has a real community feel.” So, all in all a good trip? The huge smiles on the couple’s faces was all the answer anyone would ever need.
Friday September 12 Vol 8 No 45
Friday September 26 Vol 8 No 47