Skip to main content

Mannum House Boats and the 1956 Flood

May 2 and 4, 2009

Mannum, South Australia is situated on the Murray River about an hour and twenty minutes drive from my home town of Gawler. If you've been following recent posts on this blog then you may be wondering if my frog van was up to this distance.

Fortunately the day before Rose and I spent a very damp afternoon at The Gorge Wildlife Park located in the Adelaide hills about forty minutes south of Gawler. The van had not only got us there without any real problem but had also negotiated some pretty steep hills (one of which had me right down to second gear to make the steepest sections). After that a drive to Mannum should be easy.

Before I get back to Mannum, I didn't write about The Gorge Wildlife park because I've already covered it in 2007 with my post, Gorge Wildlife Park, Cuddle a Koala. That previous trip we had a much better time and weren't rained out. Back then I took 137 photos, this time I took only one and it was a bad photo of a dingo.

Right, that out of the way, Mannum. The town of Mannum held an 'Open Weekend' for their houseboat hire industry where you could go along and inspect a considerable number of houseboats for hire. Rose and I went along on the Saturday.

The Murray River in Australia has received plenty of media coverage of late due to the droughts we've been experiencing. Often regarded as the life blood of Australia (well at least three states anyway) the water levels have dropped considerably in recent years making water for irrigation extremely scarce.

In the media the river is often depicted as dried up however this isn't the case. There is still more than enough water to enjoy a houseboat holiday. In fact if it wasn't for the markers and jetties indicating where the water level used to be you'd probably never even realize that the Murray river was far lower than it used to be.

For example in the photo above of the Murray Princess (which is a luxury paddle steamer and local tourist attraction that you can book cruises on) if you look at the shore in the foreground you can see the water level should be nearly up to the green grass of the park lands.

On our first day at Mannum Rose probably looked through every houseboat, whilst I managed about half before I decided they were all starting to look a bit 'samey' just with different decor. That's not to say it wasn't fascinating to begin with. Some of these boats were bigger and had better kitchen's, lounges, bathrooms and bedrooms than just about every house I've ever lived in on land. Not only that but most had room for two to three bathrooms all of equal size!

Granted many of the house boats were considered five star accommodation, with virtually all of them having a full size spa on the upper deck, but still, for house boats - I'd consider living in one full time!

One particular highlight was this three level houseboat you can see in the photo on the right. The interior on this was stunning. I swear I wouldn't know what to do with all the rooms and space. I'd also have trouble finding ten to twelve friends that I could take a holiday with to fill it.

The very first houseboat we looked at was also both Rose and I's favorite. Unlike all the others it utilized half the lower decks floor space (from front to back) as open plan shared living space. The other half was filled with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The effect was a much more spacious boat than most of the other boats which seem to use the front of the boat for shared living space and the middle to back for bedrooms and bathrooms. The upper sun deck simply had a full size spa and room for an out door table setting from which to enjoy the scenery.

Rose found out this boat was for sale and did some serious talking with the boat manager's step daughter, who was looking after that particular vessel during the open day. I think she nearly talked Rose into actually investing in a houseboat (but not quite).

By the time we'd finished looking at all the houseboats we were running out of light so decided to head home for the day. The trip back was a real drama in its self because I got lost twice, extending out trip by at least another thirty minutes. Damn maps, a lack of good road signs combined with darkness all conspired against me.

After a frustrating time getting home we took a break on Sunday to just relax then headed back to Mannum on the Monday. I figured that since we'd worked out how I'd managed to get lost we may as well go back whilst all the road routes were still fresh in my mind.

Mannum does have more to offer than just houseboats. Rose wanted to walk through the Visitor Information Centre's history Museum and hoped to get a tour of the Marion - a completely restored and working paddle steamer originally built early last century.

Unfortunately we didn't get to look through the Marion due to a school group having taken over the boat for the afternoon however the Museum was extremely interesting though largely focussed on one significant event. The 1956 Floods.

Rose and I learnt that in 1956 all the lower wetlands across three states - which include the Murray River flooded to record levels. If you look at the photo on the right you'll see a tree stump monument dedicated to the floods that includes a measuring stick. The mark right at the top... that's the level of the 1956 floods in Mannum.

If you look behind the tree stump in the photo you'll see the back end of the three storey paddle boat, the Murray Princess. If the boat stayed at its present level and the water rose to the height of the floods, you might be able to stand on its roof without getting your feet wet.

One particular story the museum's video on the floods relates is how the local pub managed to stay trading even though it's entire ground floor filled with water nearly to the ceiling. They simply knocked out a section of railing on the upper floor so people could pull up in their boats and climb onto the balcony.

Apparently things worked really well until the water levels started backing up the sewerage system and the toilets in many of the buildings simply exploded with raw sewage coming back up the pipes. Yummy!

After the museum we decided to seek out some water falls that Mannum is known for. We hadn't been able to find any brochure that actually contained detailed information about where they were located. However Rose did find a photocopied, hand drawn map that looked fairly straight forward and easy to follow. How wrong we were.

Here's a hint to anyone drawing a street map - try writing on the name of the roads. You may be able to find things by distance traveled and their relationship to one site specific landmark but the rest of us are used to street directories and maps with the actual names of roads.

We looked everywhere for these waterfalls, back tracking and more but had to give up as we started to run out of light (I didn't want to be driving home in the dark this time). I swear we followed the map but along the way could not find one single street sign that said 'Mannum Falls'.

If it wasn't for a single photo of them in one of our extremely unhelpful color brochures I'd say Mannum Falls don't exist. If you've been there and taken a photo place a link to it in the comments below. I'd love to see what I missed.

With that our trip to Mannum was over. The drive home was uneventful and only notable for the fact that I didn't get lost and the Frog van didn't break down at all.

Mannum is a very picturesque, historical town, great for a day out or as a stop on your next houseboat holiday... you won't get sea sick or anything. Rose and I actually rode on one of the houseboats whilst there and we barely noticed any rocking motion at all - even when it was moving along.

Comments

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET.

Popular posts from this blog

How to Transfer Any Line Art to Your Griptape - Easy Skateboard Griptape Art Tutorial

Dog Star Griptape Art by TET Griptape art is once again gaining popularity amongst modern skateboarders. For those of us who have tried to create our own griptape art, using paint pens, you'll know reproducing your design onto the grip, without making any mistakes is incredibly challenging. Mostly because you just have to go for it and draw the design freehand, with paint pens, directly onto the griptape. You can make the odd mistake here or there but if you get the proportions of the design completely wrong, it can be very difficult to fix. Often you just have to live with the mistake. To address the problem I've come up with an easy way anyone can transfer a line art design to their griptape, removing almost all the anxiety of getting the proportions wrong. In fact, you could do this with any line art design, even if you have no drawing skill at all. Watch the video below to see my technique in action and/or skip past the video where I highlight the basic steps to get your de

Batman Cosplay Breaks the World Record for Most Functional Gadgets

Julian Checkley in his record breaking Bat Suit. If anyone should hold the world record for most functional gadgets in a cosplay suit it's Batman. Not the actual Batman, whose suit is actually his work clothes and not cosplay, the honour goes to Batman Cosplayer, Julian Checkley.

ANZAC Day and the South Australian Governor General's New Fence

ANZAC Centenary Memorial Walk, Adelaide SA. Australian's love to honour their war heroes and so they should. South Australia is no exception, with memorials to fallen soldiers in almost every town and city. Adelaide even has road bridges named after famous battles from the Vietnam war. ANZAC Day (April 25th) is the one day where we put all those war memorials to use in memory of all who served from World War I onward with parades and dawn services attended by thousands. Arguably, ANZAC day is more popular than it ever has been in Australia, with pilgrimages back to Gallipoli in Turkey now a thing that many Australians hope to do at least once. To see and attend services where it all began.

Skateboard Trick Tips: Two Ways to Ollie North (Ollie One foot)

You have to be quick to see my Ollie Norths! Ollie One Foots, otherwise known as the Ollie North, is one of those skateboard tricks you learn and then tend not to do very much as more interesting trick challenges grab your attention. However it does look really cool if you learn how to kick your front foot well past the nose of your skateboard. Still shot from Braille Skateboarding's Ollie North tutorial. I was inspired to make my video below, showing two different techniques to achieve a successful Ollie One Foot, when I not only saw that Braille Skateboarding's Tutorial used a different method to the one I had learned but also, when I looked at various other video tutorials, I discovered yet another technique, with no one using the method I had originally learned. Braille's method is to simply Ollie and drag your front foot past the front of your board. The second method I came across in several video tutorials is to Ollie, drag your front foot and tap your

A.I. Can Now Create Art Based Upon Text Prompts - DALL-E 2 and CrAIyon (Formerly DALL-E Mini)

"a painting of a fox sitting in a field at sunrise in the style of Claude Monet” Image by DALL-E 2, OpenAI.com One thing people have often said is that machines will never replace creative artists because they lack the imagination and emotion required to create anything meaningful. A.I. technology is now good enough to work as writing assistants, including sites like Jasper and Rytr , where you simply tell the A.I. what you want to write about and it'll produce a complete article on that subject. The article may not be perfect but it can sure save you a lot of time. DALL-E 2: Realistic images and art from a description in natural language. With the release of DALL-E 2 there is now an A.I. that can produce realistic (or artistically styled) images based entirely on text prompts in seconds. We're not just talking about collaging a few images together here either. DALL-E 2 can create images where everything looks fairly seamless and purposefully included. Rather than me try

Artificial Intelligence, Chat Bots, and Sentient Machines - Where is my Robot Companion?

As fascinating and exciting as the world of robotics is companies like Boston Dynamics , Disney Imagineering , and Engineered Arts (which I wrote about their very human-like robot, Ameca , in my previous post ), have demonstrated it's very possible to create human like robots. That is, something along the lines of C3-PO from Star Wars , or Sonny from iRobot . Arguably, what isn't possible at this time, is creating a sentient robot i.e. something that can think for itself, develop its own ideas, and even have emotions.  I say 'arguably' because being 'sentient' is a somewhat relative term. If we're talking the equivalent of human sentience then current robots and artificial intelligences (A.I.) are a long way off. However, we can create robots that are capable of learning on their own.  You could, conceivably create a robot that starts out following its programming then, over time, learns behaviors and problem solving in ways never conceived by its creator

How to Start From Nothing - a Video by Sorelle Amore Finance About Starting Any Kind of Business

Sorelle Amore. It's the million dollar question for many people wanting to start a business who feel they don't have the knowledge, money, skills, time, or all four, "How do I start from nothing?" If that's something you want to know too then the video below by  Sorelle Amore , an Australian photographer and social media entrepreneur success story, who is most known for literally writing the book on how to take an #AdvancedSelfie, has an answer well worth considering. Just in case you feel advice from a professional selfie photographer couldn't possibly be meaningful Sorelle's journey to financial freedom in just two years is well worth looking into. One takeaway for me is that at age 28 she was broke, but turned things around and was a millionaire by age 30. While that's an exceptional result of quite a lot of hard work, writing books, building courses, and more, what it says to me is, it's possible to be financially secure in less than two years