Apr 28, 2014

crossing the Mighty Murray by punt .....

Located 105 km south-east of Adelaide in South Australia, Wellington is a small settlement on the banks of the River Murray. Like Tailem Bend, prior to European settlement the area around Wellington was home to the Ngarrindjeri people. They made bark and reed canoes and lived on the fish and the animals which came to the riverbank.

Originally established as a private enterprise in 1839, the Wellington Punt was the earliest and most important ferry crossing on the Murray River.

The Wellington ferry was a vital link on the Great Eastern Road to Victoria, being used by travellers, stock and the mail service.
In 1849 the South Australian Government took over its operation and constructed a new ferry landing which, in the early 1850s, served the escort coaches bringing gold to Adelaide from the Victorian goldfields.
The Wellington ferry was busy. Reports for February 1852 indicated that a total of 1234 people and 1266 horses and bullocks, pulling 164 carriages, crossed the river during that month. Total fees collected were £64. During October to November of the same year the punt serviced 3000 passengers, 361 carriages and 2777 draught oxen.
The early ferry services unreliable and sometimes dangerous and out of action for several days at a time. Sand drifts from the Lake region caused extreme concern and often became a barrier to the crossing. Recurring floods also interfered with the ferry service.
At least four Wellington punts have sunk during a crossing. Perhaps the most notable was in 1958 when the ferry sank with a truckload of cattle and three cars. The divers who later recovered the vehicles reported that there were other derelict punts on the river bottom.

and it takes no more than 10 minutes to cross the other side and you are on your way again!

Wellington Ferry
Ferry service operated by SA Department of Transport
Phone   (08) 8532 8111
Email: dtei.enquiries@sa.gov.au
Website: http://www.transport.sa.gov.au/

Previous blog posts:

staying overnight at Mt Gambier

The Beachport Jetty

useful URL's ....

Wellington on the Murray River

The Historic Punt Crossing at Wellington


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