Goolwa, South Australia


Goolwa is another small town that is a popular holiday destination. It's about an hour from Adelaide so it's a convenient place for a weekend retreat. It's also a very popular town for people to retire to.

Originally though, Goolwa was established as an inland port, the first in Australia. In the mid 1800s, Australian waterways were the main way of transporting goods, paddle boats were used as the river was shallow. Goolwa is located at the end of the Murray River, just before it enters the ocean. The Murray mouth is dangerous for ships, it has ever changing sand bars and very shallow water, so it was far too perilous for ships to pass through the mouth to the ocean. Therefore goods were transported down the river to the wharf at Goolwa, unloaded and then loaded onto a train (the first ones were horse drawn trains) and taken to Port Elliot and then loaded onto sea going ships there. 

This little paddle steamer is the Oscar W, it's a restored paddle steamer that takes tourists for trips around the lake. It was built in 1908, I saw it as I was walking down to the wharf and tried to take a picture before it got too far away! The engine is a wood fired one and the when the steam is let out, it toots! I heard it before I saw it!

This old building was the customs house, at the time of the river trade, each colony could collect taxes (custom duties) on the goods that were transported. The local council now own this building and it's used for community events.

The Goolwa train station from where the goods were loaded onto train carriages and moved by rail to a sea port, first to Port Elliot and later to Victor Harbor. The station is still used as there's a little steam train that operates on Wednesdays and Sundays and during school holidays called "The Cockle Train" which makes round trips to Victor Harbor. It's a fun activity to do with children.

Down by the historic wharf area and near the train station are the old horse stables. Horse power was used to move the train carriages down the rail line to Port Elliot and these were the stables where the horses were kept. Eventually they were replaced by engines. The former stables became derelict and then after World War II they were restored and are used as an RSL (Returned Services League) a clubhouse for former military personnel.

Goolwa is a pretty little town with many old historic buildings so it's a popular destination for a Sunday drive.

More historic buildings! This had been the police station and courthouse, when a new one was built, the old buildings were turned into a regional arts centre.

I didn't stay here, just saw it as I walked past as it's in the main street. This B&B just looked so pretty and thought perhaps a future stay was in order! I did look it up and the house had been built by a headmaster of the Goolwa school and was used by subsequent headmasters until the 1980s! It then went into private hands and now has been converted into a B&B.