April A-Z Challenge: E for Echuca
I am back again for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge so have made the commitment to blog every day in April except the Sundays. Some bloggers choose a theme, and others do random posts. For me, a theme works better, so them I’ve chosen for 2016 is Towns in Victoria. I will be choosing towns with a relevance to my family history, where possible.
E is for Echuca, situated on the Victorian side of the Murray River, with a population of about 13,000. My grandparents Thomas Albert Morrison and Leola Jean Waters lived in Echuca for most of their lives.
Echuca was founded in 1850, and originally known as Hopwood’s Ferry, named after Henry Hopwood who started a ferry service, crossing the Murray River. Eventually a settlement was established and this grew into the Echuca we know today.
By the late 19th century, Echuca was the largest inland port in Australia. Steam driven paddle boats transported goods which were sent on to Melbourne by rail. In those days, this was the only way wool, wood, livestock, and other goods could be sold.
By the 1890s, the good times were over for Echuca, as the railways had expanded to country area, doing away with the need for the paddlesteamers.
Today, Echuca is a thriving modern city, and very popular with holiday makers. The paddle steamers are back on the river taking tourists up and down the river and can be hired privately for a peaceful holiday.
The historic Port of Echuca has been renewed, and has that ‘step back in time’ feel as the renovations have stayed as close as possible to the original buildings. Walking along the dirt road of the Port, it is easy to imagine what life must have been like in Echuca in the 19th century.