Copyright and Back cover





© 1985 by Leslie Margaret McLeay

Printed by Kitchener Press, 49 Wodonga Street, Beverley SA 5009
Typesetting by Douglas Middlebrook
Design and layout by Simon Fisher
Distributed by Wakefield Press, Adelaide.

Cover illustration: The landing of explorer Captain Charles Sturt near Goolwa after his historic journey down the Murray was re-enacted for the fiftieth anniversary of
Federation in 1951.


The Narrinyerri ‘blackfellers’. . .
whalers and sealers …
Charles Sturt the explorer…

Sir Henry Fox Young and his lovely Lady Augusta .. .
Yorkshire boatbuilder Sam Shetliff …

Scottish skippers Francis Cadell and George Johnston . . .
and their shallow-draught paddle wheelers ‘Albury’, ‘Gundegai’ and ‘Queen of the South


. . .just a few of the characters brought to life by Leslie McLeay in her dramatic and fascinating history of Goolwa and the River Murray trade.


A resident of Goolwa herself since the 1950’s, Dr. McLeay was surprised by the large number of original buildings still standing then, and captivated by first-hand accounts from the descendants of the old river skippers and other pioneer families in the area.  Delving into historical records and archives, she traces out the forgotten stories of the dreams and hopes, enterprise and imagination of the early settlers their plans and controversies, adventures and catastrophes – as they brave the floods and snags of the river. the tides and bars of the Murray mouth, to forge rail and sea links between the world and Australia’s mightiest river.

With the help of authoress Nancy Cato and delightful pencil sketches by Harry Rolland, Leslie weaves her sensitive and warm-hearted tale through the changing fortunes of the busy little town of the ‘elbow’. ..