28 & 29 January 2018
Soon after we landed in Australia, I saw a late night TV show about the history of Echuca and the Murray River. The “Mighty Murray”, Australia’s longest river, creates most of the border between New South Wales and Victoria stretching from the mountains and spilling into the Indian Ocean south of Adelaide. There are several towns along the river we would have liked to visit but we were short on time.
The town of Echuca is a 3 hour drive north of Melbourne. We made the trip Sunday morning and back Monday late afternoon. Connected to Melbourne by rail, Port of Echuca became Australia’s largest inland port in the late 1800’s. Today their paddle steamers (paddle-wheel steam boats) arethe center of the town’s tourism industry.
The first afternoon we visited the National Holden Motor Museum. The museum is a must see for any car enthusiast. One of the owners was gracious enough to give us a personal tour. We enjoyed talking horsepower and comparing Holden and Chevy models.
Holden represents both pride and loss for many Australians. Holden started manufacturing automobiles in 1908 and became a part of General Motors in 1931. Up until 2017, they manufacturered cars in Australia for Australians and the export market. I grew up with the ad campaign ‘American as baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Cheverolet’ but Aussies had ‘Australian as football, meat pies, kangaroos, and Holden.’ Earnhardt and Gordon drove Chevys. Peter Brock drove Holdens. Holden pride turned to loss when General Motors announced manufacturing in Australia would stop and the last Aussie-built cars rolled of the production line October 2017.
National Holden Motor Museum
The next morning we took a 2 hour river tour on the PS Emmylou paddle steamer and visited the Port of Echuca. The port area and ship was like stepping back in time. The boat ride was relaxing, a nice family day on the river. While the Murray is the largest in Australia, it is small compared to the rivers we are acustom. The rental cabins and houseboats along the river’s edge looked like a nice way to spend a family holiday.
Port of Echuca
We planned to complete our trip to Echuca at the Great Aussie Beer Shed, which looked to be a fun novelty museum. Unfortunately it’s only open weekends and holidays. I didn’t see that coming and we didn’t get to see the Great Aussie Beer Shed.
Closed for Business