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Swan Hill

Swan Hill is a city in the northwest of Victoria, Australia on the Murray Valley Highway and on the south bank of the Murray River, downstream from the junction of the Loddon River.

Details

  • Area:126.581 km2
  • Elevation:68 m
  • Population:10,905
  • Local Government Area:Swan Hill Rural City Council

Description

Swan Hill is a city in the northwest of Victoria, Australia on the Murray Valley Highway and on the south bank of the Murray River, downstream from the junction of the Loddon River. At June 2018, Swan Hill had a population of 11,103. # History In the Dreamtime, Totyerguil (from the area now known as Swan Hill) ran out of spears while chasing Otchtout the cod. This chase is part of the mythology of the creation of the Murray River. Based on evidence from Coobool Creek and Kow Swamp, it appears that Aboriginal people have lived in the area for the last 13,000–9,000 years. The area was given its current name by explorer Thomas Mitchell, while camping beside a hill on 21 June 1836. Among the reeds on the point of ground between the two rivers was a shallow lagoon where swans and other wild fowl so abounded that, although half a mile from our camp, their noise disturbed us through the night. I therefore named this somewhat remarkable and isolated feature Swan Hill, a point which may probably be found to mark the junction of two fine streams. The European community grew up around a punt river crossing, which was established as early as 1846. This crossing serviced the growing agricultural area, and was the only river crossing for 100 km. The Post Office opened here on 1 February 1849.In 1853 Francis Cadell navigated the Murray river from its mouth in South Australia to Swan Hill in his paddle steamer, Lady Augusta. He arrived on 17 September 1853, narrowly beating William Randell of Mannum, who arrived 4 hours later in the PS Mary Ann. This demonstrated the feasibility of river traffic, which flourished until the introduction of the railway. In 1876 Swan Hill was described in the following terms: Swan-hill is a small, and, notwithstanding its 20 or 25 years of existence, not very flourishing, township… The population does not exceed 100 persons, but the township can boast of a substantial post and telegraph office, which is the principal building in the place.There is a church built of brick, belonging to the Church of England, and a small wooden chapel owned by some other denomination.The hospital, for Swan-hill can also boast of a hospital, is prettily situated at the junction of the Little Murray with the main stream.The district around the town is principally pastoral.About 10 or 12 miles distant there is a salt lake, from which a coarse salt is obtained and exported to Riverina and the Upper Murray.There is a mail three times a week, and the township is already connected with the metropolis by telegraph. In 1883 the first of several red brick water towers were built to supply the growing town with water. Water was pumped out of the river and into the top of the tower by a wood-fired steam engine, and then flowed by gravitation to surrounding businesses and private residences. Many of these towers can still be seen around town. The railway from Bendigo was extended from Kerang to Swan Hill station in May 1890, being extended to Piangil in 1915.The punt river crossing was replaced by a timber truss, steel lift span bridge in 1896.The first six telephones were connected in Swan Hill on 2 October 1911. The National Bank was phone number 1.In 1914, Isaburo (Jo) Takasuka produced the first commercial rice crop in Australia. He grew Japanese (Japonica) varieties on 200 acres (81 ha) of flood prone land on the Murray River near Swan Hill. The Chinese had been growing rice in Australia since at least 1877.Swan Hill became a city in 1965. ## Burke and Wills The Burke and Wills expedition reached Swan Hill on Thursday, 6 September 1860 on their journey across Australia from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentaria. They made Camp XV (their fifteenth camp out of Melbourne) in the police paddock on the banks of the Murray River in an area that is now Riverside Park. The expedition stayed in Swan Hill until Monday, 10 September while they reorganised the stores. Burke dismissed four men; Essau Khan, Brooks, Lane and John Polongeaux. He then hired Alexander McPherson, a saddler from Epsom and Charlie Gray, a former sailor from Scotland who had worked as an ostler for Cobb and Co between Bendigo and Swan Hill and who was now employed at the Lower Murray Inn in Swan Hill. The party was strengthened further by the arrival from Melbourne of journalist, William Hodgkinson, and scientist Georg von Neumayer. The local inhabitants gave the expedition a rousing farewell as they crossed into New South Wales. Folklore alleges Burke and Wills planted a Moreton Bay Fig tree in the garden of the local doctor, Dr B W Gummow. The tree is now approximately 27 metres high and has a branch spread of approximately 44 metres and can be seen in Curlewis Street. # Weather # Things to do

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