National Geographic : 1963 Sep
(page 342). Their original home-now an art gallery-and their first irrigation pump (George was an engineer and had been a ship builder) stand as memorials to them. I saw the pump from the river as I went past in an old paddler named Mayflower. The ship was 77 years old, and could float on the water in an average bath. The Murray and its tributary, the Darling -the only river system worth the name in all the Commonwealth-used to be the Missis sippi of much of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. Blue-gum stern-wheel ers and paddlers hauled wool, grain, stores. I remembered as a child seeing the Murray dry, and big teams of horses hauling wool bales in a cloud of dust across its bed. "She's trained now," said the skipper. "Fixed up with locks and weirs-water's too precious to let it run to waste. "The Murray's about 1,600 miles long, but she's slow," the skipper went on. "She takes four months to roll a drop of water from her source to the mouth. I've been told she's the slowest, tiredest river in the world. I can be lieve it, too. Around here she has a fall of about an inch a mile. "Ever eat Murray cod? It's good eating, but I wonder it doesn't taste like mud. It's as tired as the river-just makes a hole and sits in it, grabbing at what passes by. If it's a hook, that's too bad." I ate no Murray cod. Used to salt-water fish which get some exercise, I didn't relish the thought of their sluggish bulk. So far, so good. I was seeing something of Australia, but there was a great deal yet to see. There was no future in turning into a land version of a Murray codfish, to sit pleas antly in the sunshine there forever and let the world and its problems amble by. END OF PART I KODACHROMESBY ROBERTB. GOODMANC) N.G.S .