Navigation of the Murray, &c


Four rare early reports on the navigation of the Murray, Murrumbidgee and the Darling River bound into one volume dated 1857-1866. Small folio, modern blue cloth binding. Bound in the following order; 1858 – 29th October, 1858, 18 pages 1857 – … Read Full Description

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S/N: BK-58394-MURRAY-RIVER–386855
(BC 04)
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Full Title:

Navigation of the Murray, &c





In good condition.


Modern blue cloth.

Paper Size: 

x 335mm
Navigation of the Murray, &c - Antique Book from 1857

Genuine antique



Four rare early reports on the navigation of the Murray, Murrumbidgee and the Darling River bound into one volume dated 1857-1866.

Small folio, modern blue cloth binding. Bound in the following order;

1858 – 29th October, 1858, 18 pages
1857 – 12th November, 1857, 35 pages, 2 large lithographic illustrations
1858 –  9th June, 1858, 21 pages
1866 – 24th July, 1866, 36 pages

The two large lithographic illustrations:
1. Australian Floating Dam. Designed to Improve the Navigation and Irrigation by F. Calder, lithographed by Allan & Wigley, Sydney.
2. Horizontal Self Adjusting Australian Water Wheel Designed by F. Cadell

The reports by the Select Committee and correspondence from various persons were for the investigation and progress as to the advantages likely to accrue to the colony of New South Wales from opening navigation of the Murray and its Effluents, the Murrumbidgee and the Darling, and upon the best mode of clearing the Channels of these rivers. One of the key witnesses in the reports was one of the pioneers of river trade, Francis Cadell (1822-1879).

Francis Cadell (1822-1879)
In 1850 the South Australian government had offered a bonus of £4,000 to be equally divided between the owners of the first two iron steamers that should successfully navigate the Murray from Goolwa to the junction of the Darling River. When Cadell returned to Australia in 1852, he arrived at Port Adelaide in command of the clipper Queen of Sheba. The government’s bonus for the navigation of the Murray River had not been claimed and Cadell stayed in Adelaide, formulating a design for a suitable steamboat in partnership with his father’s agent, William Younghusband. Cadell gave orders for the construction of a steamer in Chowne’s Yard, Sydney. While it was being built, he explored the Murray in a canvas boat named Forerunner in which, with four men, he travelled 1,300 miles  from Swan Hill downstream. The canvas boat was conveyed overland from Melbourne to Swan Hill. After several delays, on 16 August 1853 his steamer Lady Augusta (named for the wife of Sir Henry Young), commanded by Captain Davidson, successfully passed through the breakers at the mouth of the Murray, and on 25 August. It left Goolwa, South Australia on a voyage up the Murray with Cadell in command. Among the passengers were the governor, Sir Henry Young and Lady Young, after whom the steamer was named. They returned on 14 October having reached a point 1,500 miles up the river, a feat for which the South Australian Government awarded him 500 pounds for bringing his boat in through the Murray Mouth, 500 pounds for reaching the Darling and a further 1,000 pounds to be paid at 250 pounds per quarter that he successfully operated his boat(s) on the river. This was a separate agreement made by Cadell with the SA Government.

The original prize moneys were rescinded by the Government, but Cadell did later receive 4,000 pounds for bringing extra vessels to the Murray and operating them on the river. A few months later it was ascertained that the Murray was navigable as far as Albury, New South Wales and the Murrumbidgee River navigable to Gundagai. Cadell had carried a considerable quantity of wool and much trade was expected with the Riverina squatters. A gold and silver candelabrum was presented by the settlers to Cadell, with an inscription that it had been presented to him “in commemoration of his first having opened the steam navigation and commerce of the River Murray 1853“. He joined with William Younghusband, George Young and others in forming the River Murray Steam Navigation Company, whose charter received royal assent in 1854.

In 1853 he had purchased Lioness, a small River Mersey steamer of only 70 tons register in Scotland, had her rigged her as a three-masted schooner, and had her sailed to Melbourne by James Ritchie, George and Thomas Johnston (cousins), John Barclay, John McDonald, William Barker, and John Ritchie. The first four named returned to Scotland for Cadell in December 1853 in the Admiral, returning to Australia in 1854 in the Lady Emma, with the river steamers Gundagai and Albury in sections as freight. The Lioness never made it to South Australia; it had become evident that she was not suitable for the River Murray trade and she was sold in Melbourne.

National Library Australia: Bib ID 4455339 / Report 29th October, 1858
State Library NSW: Reference code (AuSN)b20138295-61slnsw_inst / Report 29th October, 1858


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