Travelling Australia - Journal 2012
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30 June - 2 July 2012 - Goolwa
The weather for our brief stay in Goolwa was not particularly good with a cold wind and frequent rain. We visited our usual places (bakery, newsagent, supermarkets and coffee shops) as well as looking at some of Goolwa's natural features.

When the Murray River was discovered the assumption was made that it was like a European River and would easily provide access to the interior from a navigable mouth. Goolwa was originally envisaged as a possible capital of South Australia at the mouth of this inland river but the reality of a dangerous river mouth slowly dawned and the risk to shipping attempting to negotiate the Murray River mouth was realised. The capital was established elsewhere. Goolwa became an officially designated inland port (in 1853) where freight from inland pastoral properties carried by paddle-steamers was transferred to a railway line running to Port Elliot for export on ocean-going sailing ships (commercial shipping attempting to negotiate the Murray mouth was ruled out). After Port Elliot proved unsuitable as a major port the railway line was extended to Victor Harbor; Goolwa then flourished as a freight-handling terminal and centre for building and maintaining paddle-steamers and river barges. Many of the older stone public buildings in Goolwa built at this time remain attractive features of the town.
Goolwa Courthouse Goolwa Courthouse built when the town was an important regional centre.

Railways eventually replaced the river trade; Goolwa's importance as a port was gone and it became a centre for local farming and fishing. Goolwa also became a popular destination for holiday-makers from Adelaide.

Many of those holiday-makers bought, or built, holiday homes or "shacks" around Goolwa and many people have retired to Goolwa which has expanded to house these people. Goolwa now has three recognised satellite suburbs in Goolwa North, Goolwa East and Goolwa Beach. Many houses in these suburbs are empty, either because they are holiday homes or holiday rental properties. Houses expected to be empty for months appear to have been prepared by not having gardens; instead they have grass from fence to fence with concrete edging (about 30 centimetres wide) around the house making mowing the grass easier and eliminating overgrown garden beds.
New Housing New housing extending along the shoreline.

The large number of seasonally occupied houses tends to dominate Goolwa's appearance, especially in the outer suburbs, and must pose problems for local government in this historical town tries to recognise the history while dealing with popularity as a holiday destination. Goolwa also claims, with good cause, a connection with local features including the mouth of the Murray River, the Coorong and Lake Alexandrina and these must be included in the balance of development and preservation.
Seals New Zealand fur seals have moved relatively recently into the Coorong near the Goolwa Barrage.

Great Egret Great Egret paying very close attention to its next meal. Goolwa is a point of entry to a large area recognised as excellent for observing native birds.

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