Skip to main content
Now building my TET.Life Store.

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

Guest Post: MY SOOPER DOOPER NEW CONSERVATORY/ART STUDIO!

Today's guest post is by Artist, Writer, and Mental Health Advocate, Jo B Creative who writes for her blog, Creating My Oddessey.

You should see our (almost) brand new conservatory, half of which is my art studio. 'Lucky me!' I think to myself. Not every creative bod can boast that. It's HUGE! Like a giant greenhouse.

We first moved to our pleasant cul-de-sac house - great for raising kids - when our son, who's on the cusp of thirty-one, was four. One of the main reasons that we wanted it was that, apart from its location on the fringes of a historic market town in rural Hampshire, UK, it had a sizable conservatory looking onto the back garden. It was brown wood framed and had a corrugated transparent roof sloping down from downstairs ceiling height. On the face of it, it doesn't sound that glamourous, but we loved the idea of a conservatory. Luxury! I even liked the red brick walls which it was built against - the original exterior of the house - and the light …

Finding Time to Skate - Swap a Skateboard Session into Your Weekly Workout Routine

A common problem among skaters dealing with work/life commitments (typically older skaters with families, careers, or both) is finding the time to actually spend on a skateboard. In fact, life in general getting in the way of skateboarding, is what often leads so many to drop out of the sport, only to rediscover it later, once everything else starts to even out.

I'm certainly in that category. Never really giving skateboarding away altogether but only using a skateboard to get from A to B, when I didn't have a vehicle, for many years. In the last couple of years I've been trying to get back into the sport properly, i.e. building up my trick list and skating for fun and not just to get from A to B.

The problem is I have so many interests, projects, paid work, and more, that I would often leave skateboarding to the end of my day. Kind of as something to look forward to. Except I wouldn't be that motivated to really improve because my mind would be fried from everything …

The Lego Man - He's got all that!

Who would have thought that owning one of the worlds largest, private Lego collections could take you so far. Tom Lucieer of Angaston, South Australia, not only has met the Queen (of England) but is a frequent guest of her majesty and family when they are in Australia. He's also met Prince Charles, Lady Diana and Camila Parker-Bowles. Not only that, he grew up with TV Vet, Dr Harry, and is a friend of the Irwin family (yes, that's Steve Irwin's family).

Tom will happily tell you all this as part of the guided tour of his collection, which, aside from Lego, includes much railway memorabilia and colourful anecdotes about days gone by, his achievements and more. Frequently he will finish each particular monologue with the phrase, "Have you got that?", just to check that he hasn't confused you because, as he points out, his display and the stories behind it are a lot to take in at once.

In the photo you can see Tom holding a special award, which I think is for bein…

Creating a Mobile Independent Artist Business - Part 10: Opportunities to make money (Part A)

In my last post I looked at What to Create and Finding Your Market. This post is something of a natural follow on from finding your market as many of these money making opportunities include their own market places that you can research to see what kinds of themes and subjects sell best.

It's worth doing this research to find out if the art you're already creating is a good fit for that market place - which is ideal - or if you may have to consider expanding your interests to cover popular themes in order sell in a particular market.

12 Side Hustle Ideas You Won't Overthink and Can Start Right Now

Have you been thinking about starting a side hustle to earn a bit of extra money but haven't been able to make a start because of everything you don't know about running your side hustle yet, or because of other things you think you have to do first?

If this is you then chances are, what you're really doing is making excuses not to start. I can't start anything new until I cross a few more things off my to do list. Sound familiar?

I'm too busy to start my side hustle and don't have the time to work on it just now.
One reason you may be stalling is a perceived notion that your side hustle is actually too complicated, and is going to require a lot of research and education before you're even ready to make your first dollar.

Here are some side hustles you can start in the next hour or two for low or even no cost. You don't need to know the ins and outs of everything you just need to start, everything else is 'on the job' training. It doesn't m…

Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) *Spoiler Free*

Ten years in the making and Marvel finally releases part one of the Avengers versus Thanos, A.K.A. Avengers: Infinity War.

After seeing all 18 films in the MCU prior to this, and liking most of them, I was pretty confident this movie would not disappoint.

Other than a few minor issues - that are all my personal taste and in no way reflect on the quality of the film - it really delivers. Thanos is indeed the big, bad villain of the MCU that we've been antcipating.

Movie Review: Spider-Man - Into the Spider-verse (2018) *No Spoilers*

I didn't go see Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse in theatres because a) Sony, and b) Animated movie... and if there's a c) Sony + Spider-man.

Then I started hearing all this word of mouth that this movie is really good so I thought, 'yeah, still not going, I'll wait for the home release'.

Then it won all these awards including an Oscar for Best Animated Feature... so I guess this movie must be good...right?

I rarely see animated features in the cinema because I have little faith in them to deliver enough entertainment at an adult level. Especially movies like Into the Spider-verse which you know is skewing for a younger demographic (as all Spider-man films in general do due to the popularity of the character with kids).

Having bought this movie on DVD (which is why I'm reviewing it now) I don't regret not having seen it in theatres, even though it would have looked amazing on a big screen.

The animation style is what really makes this film stand out. If I…