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Echuca, located at the junction of the Murray, Goulburn and Campaspe Rivers, was once the largest and busiest inland port in Australia.
In those days (the 1880s), the Port of Echuca was center of a bustling river trade, where paddle boats would transport goods (such as wool and timber) up or down the Murray River from the "stations" (outback farms) to the Port of Echuca. At Echuca those goods would be transferred to train and taken to the Victorian capital city of Melbourne (the railway line had been built to Echuca in 1864).
The center of the port of Echuca was a massive red-gum wharf that was nearly a mile in length. In the 1880s more than 300 steamers were operating out from this wharf.
There were three loading platforms, each at a different level, at this wharf, which allowed unloading whether the river was high or low (that is, whether it was at during a normal season, a drought or a flood).
These days most of this massive wharf still exists and you can visit it and admire its huge size and wonderful construction.
While you are in the port area, you can look over the historic paddle steamers such as the PS Pevensey (which appeared in the 1984 TV miniseries All the Rivers Run under the name PS Philadelphia) and the PS Adelaide.
River cruises are available on the PS Pevensey, the PS Alexander Arbuthnot, the PS Pride of the Murray, the PS Canberra, the PS Emmylou, the PS Captain Proud and the MV Mary Ann.
While in the port area, you can also have a beer in one of the riverside pubs from the same era, such as the Star Hotel (1867) and the Bridge Hotel (1858).
The nearby audio-visual display and the scale model of the of the old working port are also worth a look.
Echuca's other attractions include the Red Gum Works where wood is still worked using traditional methods, tools and equipment; the Movie House and Penny Arcade, which screens silent movies and has penny arcade machines for you to peer into; and the World in Wax Museum, where wax figures of famous and notorious celebrities are on view.
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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)