The Murray River is, both historically and economically, the preeminent river in Australia. It would be comparable to the Mississippi River in the United States, as far as being both a key medium of transportation and an important part of the iconography of a region and era. As with the Mississippi, the paddle wheeler was the iconic mode of transportation, important in one age and charmingly preserved in the present.
Also like the Mississippi, the Murray both waters and drains a region far greater than that which is in close proximity to its shores. Combined with the tributary Darling River, it constitutes a river system of tremendous economic importance. The Murray-Darling Basin is home to nearly 70 percent of Australia’s irrigated land. The Murray is both shorter than the Mississippi and has a lesser volume of water, but its importance to its homeland is as great or greater.
I had departed Sydney and was following the Murray westward. It was outside of Mildura, Victoria, that I saw the paddle wheeler below. It was a lovely reminder of how both Australia and the United States did much of their growing up around the same time.