River Rivals


“The Murray and Darling river system, which flows through such a huge area of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, has seen some of the most colourful episodes in Australia’s history.

Francis Cadell and William Randell, the pioneers of steamboats on the Murray, worked alone, yet each managed to have a boat running on the river within a few months of the other. Neither of the men knew very much about boats, rivers, navigation or steam engines, yet they were the founders of the great riverboat age in Australia, and were directly responsible for the opening up of large areas of grazing land and the rapid growth of settlement.

The stories of their many races up the rivers, to be the first at the river ports each season and so obtain the highest prices for their goods, have become almost a legend. As have their various ways of crossing sandbars and overcoming every imaginable obstacle which this river system placed in their paths.”

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