Navigation of the Murrumbidgee

22 September 1865 The Sydney Morning Herald

The Wagga Wagga Express of Saturday says :-

As the presence of a steamer at Wagga Wagga is an event of some importance in the history of the town, we may mention that the Nangus reached her moorings near the southern bank of the Murrumbidgee near Church Hill, on Friday evening, about 7 o'clock.

She is an iron vessel, 70 feet in length, drawing little over eighteen inches of water, and is propelled by an engine of 12 horse-power, driving a pair of side paddles eight foot by two.

She is owned by Mr. Jenkins, of Nangus station, near Gundagai, where she was built; and was constructed by Mr. Chapman, engineer, of Sydney, who, in company with her proprietor, accompanies her down the river on this her maiden trip.

She has two barges in tow, also of iron; and is intended for the upper Murrumbidgee trade-between Gundagai and Hay.

The steamer and barges are calculated to carry sixty tons of cargo, although on the present occasion she has little over twenty tons.

The vessels remained here until Thursday about mid-day, when they proceeded downstream, the river being just "exactly what it should be," and everything bidding fair for a prosperous voyage.

It is now seven years since the first steamer ploughed the waters of the Murrumbidgee within sight of Wagga Wagga, and more than five years since the last advanced thus far up the stream.

It was in November, 1858, that the veteran river pioneer, Captain Cadell, accompanied by Captain Johnson, first reached here in the Albury, when the cargo, consisting principally of spirits was seized by chief constable O'Keefe; but, on proof being adduced by Captain Cadell that the goods were consigned, they were released, and the steamer proceeded on her voyage to Gundagai, where she duly arrived in safety.

In August, 1850 (sic), the Albury, having made the passage down successfully, returned to Wagga Wagga heavily laden with general cargo, Captain Cadell was again in charge, and had on board a steam saw mill for Adelong.

This time, however, the steamer met with an accident up the river, and failed to reach Gundagai.

The saw mill machinery was landed at Mundarlo, and the vessel returned down the stream as far as Hay, where she was met by the Gemini, Captain Randell, making her way up.

The Albury at once took in the best cargo procurable at Hay, and again started for this place in company with the Gemini, the vessels arriving together about the latter part of September in the same year.

In December, we were again visited by the Albury alone; and in March and July, I860, the Gemini made a couple of trips to this place, principally laden with flour.

From this latter period till last week - an interregnum of nearly four years - steam navigation on the Murrumbidgee, in this quarter, has from various causes, been a dead letter.

Under good management, enterprise in this direction would lead to most satisfactory results, in a commercial sense, and that the navigation of the river would prove an immense benefit to the Riverina population.

It is to be hoped that its resumption at the present moment by Mr. Jenkins will pave the way for a much greater effort at no distant period.