Getting to know Blanchetown for the centenary of locking the river.

Blanchetown gets national importance!

Blanchetown gets national importance!

On May 30 1916, the trip made by governors legislators and reporters to Blanchetown was written up at length in the Register and over the next few blogs I will share excerpts from it:
“Once upon a time, not long enough yet to be a tradition, to say you were going to Blanchetown meant nothing. You might almost have said it was to see a red gum on the Murray. It wasn’t anything to make a fuss about, that was why. Blanchetown was just two banks, with a few buildings on this side and a stately regiment of trees drawn up on the other, and between them raced the grey green waters to the sea. The cockatoos made far more noise than all industries and the people put together. Then one day Blanchetown leapt into first rate importance. It did not matter that Murray Bridge had its wharfs and its railways. Nor that Mannum was one of the oldest centres along the stream and that the original boiler of the Mary Anne was there. And Mypolonga could have its swamps and Pompoota its soldier settlers. Blanchetown was quite content to have its lock, the first on Australia’s neglected Nile. Yesterday Blanchetown was like a poor relation in a large family of River towns. Nobody noticed it very much as they went along. It was a simple little community who lived in a simple little house and had a simple little bank balance. That was yesterday. Today Blanchetown talks back at the cockatoos with a clatter of busy machines and tapping hammers. It sits down by the Murray side with an assured dignity of industrial importance. And people take their hats off now as they pass Blanchetown. They speak of it as the lock. Blanchetown is no longer local. It is national.” To be continued…