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No 98 September 2012

Page history last edited by ghistory.volunteer@gmail.com 8 years, 1 month ago



                                        ALEXANDRINA LIBRARY SERVICES


                                                     news  No 98

September 2012                                                                                                          by Dawn Juers and Helen Halm




Well, Dawn touched base and took off again!  But she’ll be back for the interesting events being held in October.  The Friends of the Library are holding their AGM on October 24th at 11.00am in the Goolwa Hotel.  Contact acting secretary, S. Edwards 8555 1460.


As part of the National Regional Arts Conference www.kumuwuki.org.au being held in Goolwa we have been invited to participate in the Goolwa Archive Project.  If you are interested in becoming an archivist (for an hour) or contributing to the material being collated for the Snapshot project please get further details from the attached flyer and let Katerina know.


What follows is research Dawn had prepared before taking off for sunnier climes.


In August 1857, it was advised in the “Observer” that signals will be displayed from a flagstaff on Barker’s Knoll to vessels approaching the Murray Mouth bar from seaward or intending to proceed to sea. The various signals were listed.

Tenders for the Signalman’s cottage were called in August 1858 with Messrs Clark & Oswin’s tender being accepted. The cottage was a wooden structure built on piles driven well into the sand, with a brick chimney and shingle roof. The total cost of the house was £214/17/- ($429.70).


The first official record of a signalman at the mouth of the Murray River appeared in the Stat. Register of 1858 “E. Creamer appointed by the Gov. McDonnell in Aug. 1857 at £150 per year.” An allowance of a house was made. Creamer had been the Harbourmaster at Pt Elliot.

It appears Mr Creamer only stayed 3 years as Mr P.A. Nation was appointed in 1860 – But with No Salary!!! In 1861 the Signalman received a wage of £100 per year.


There is no other reference until Feb 1878 when James McRobert* was appointed signalman at £150 per year at the new signal station on Mundoo Island.


On 10th June 1881 the President of the Marine Board visited the Station which was closed and the signalman removed by the end of that month.

It appears the Murray Mouth Signal Station had a chequered life as it was closed a number of times with Thomas Taylor, harbour master, Pt Victor (Victor Harbor), inquiring whether the signalman would sail the lifeboat from Victor to Pt Adelaide, as was done when the station closed previously (1864). He informed the Marine Board that he had been offered only £3 per year for the house at the Murray Mouth as, by then, it was then a complete wreck. There were a few applicants wishing to rent the house –


H.D. Gouge (on behalf of a client)

J.A. Lundstrom

Harry Packer (if necessary would act as signalman)

W.G. Head (offered £8 rent per year)


Donald McLean was the successful applicant and given permission to rent the house at £5 per year from 16/11/1881 to 16/11/1882. Under the terms of the agreement he had the use of the house and 10 acres of land.


The papers on hand also list  the stores to be returned which are what you would expect – Flags, rockets, blue lights, powder magazine, signal balls, sounding pole. Mr Brown, of Goolwa, was given charge of the Boat Compass, Clock, Barometer & Lifeboat. A Dinghy was sent to Pt Adelaide.


*James McRobert kept an interesting log of the comings & goings at the Mouth from June 1877 to June 1881. I have listed a few of them here –


18/8/77 - 22/8/77                  new flagstaff erected by the crew of P.S. “Grappler”.

6/9/77                                   painting new flagstaff

8/9/77                                   “Enterprise” arrived at the Mouth on trial run.

27/12/77                              Capt  Johnson and crew in lifeboat surveying the Bar.

11/3/78                                S.S. “Queen of the South” crossed the Bar for the first time.

21/3/1878                            Mr Ferguson, Pres. of the Marine Board noted that the cottage needed repairs.        The tidal gauge pile to be replaced; lifeboat                                required covers and sails

8/7/78                                   P.S. “Decoy” arrived from Melbourne..

2/11/78                                “Queen of the South” grounded on Bar – refloated next day with assistance from P.S. “Wentworth” after throwing some cargo overboard.


In June 1879 McRobert  noted that a large whale was close in, towards the Mouth.


According to the log the P.S. “Decoy” was the last boat to sail through the Mouth whilst the Signalman was on duty (28 Feb 1881).


After the station closed it was found that the reserve had never been approved by the Lands Dept!



Footnote: Winners of the Friends of Goolwa Library Fathers’ Day Raffle  were Rosemary Decker

(1st) and Adrian Pederick (2nd).



*for photos see pdf version



SNAPSHOT: Goolwa Archive Project (GAP)




SNAPSHOT: Project Outline


In October 2012 a team of local volunteer archivists will take a different approach to

collecting and publishing an alternative version of Goolwa’s history. SNAPSHOT will invite

local people to record their experiences, opinions, and hopes. The aim of the project is to

record our little stories over two days: Oct 19th & 20th from 2 - 5 pm. The archive material

will be published as a book and donated to the History Room of the Goolwa Public Library.

SNAPSHOT will provide an intimate glimpse into people’s lives; the ones rarely found in

history books. Come along and bring your letters, photos, objects and stories. Tell us

what you think is worth preserving & recording!


Volunteer Call Out: Want to be a Local History Archivist?

Interested in local history and archival work? Want to participate in a history project?

Would you like to contribute to a new historical snapshot archive of Goolwa in October

2012? Are you able to take part in a one-hour training session to become an archivist?


Archival Training Sessions: Tues Oct 16th and Wed Oct 17th at 4 pm

Venue: Goolwa Library community room, 11 Cadell Street Goolwa

No matter what your age, experience or background, we’d love to hear from you!

All archivists will be needed for just one hour on Fri Oct 19th or Sat Oct 20th 2 - 5pm.

If you’re interested in collecting archival material, talking to people and serving tea in a warm

and welcoming environment then contact us via the email or mobile below.


Project dates: Friday Oct 19th & Saturday Oct 20th 2 –5 pm

Project venue: Goolwa Public Library, Community Meeting room

Project artist & coordinator: Katerina

Email: katerina@triageliveartcollective.com Mobile: 0409 682 999



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