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Renmark, Riverland, South Australia (SA)
Renmark, a great destination no matter what the season
Renmark was transformed by Australia's first irrigation scheme, is 258km north-east by road from Adelaide in the Riverland. The dry climate and year-round sun make Renmark and nearby Paringa a great destination no matter what the season.
There are galleries made for browsing, fruit stalls to stock up on the district's famous products, beckoning wineries, billabongs and secluded creeks to explore by canoe, and fish and yabbies to be caught. The town is also well off for riverfront picnic spots. And be sure to set aside an hour or two to check out the thousands of varieties of blooms on show at Ruston's spectacular rose garden.
The lookout tower, part way along the road to Murtho and Customs House presents a panoramic view over the cliffs at Whirlpool Corner and the river plains. Renmark is a convenient launching pad for journeys into the region's internationally significant conservation parks, including the Bookmark Biosphere.
Things to do and See in Renmark
The riverfront is also the base for several houseboat fleets, including the original houseboating on the Murray River company Liba Liba. Original proprietor Ian Showell conceived the idea of a floating house while in Egypt. The boats he saw along the Nile became the inspiration for what is now a multi-million dollar Murray River industry.
The historic PS Industry fires up on the first Sunday of every month. It's one of the few remaining paddle steamers from the busy river trade days.
The watershed in the town's history was the development of the irrigation schemes in the late 1880s that turned this countryside into Australia's food bowl. The Canadian-born Chaffey brothers are often called the founders of Renmark. Their original home, Olivewood, is now a National Trust museum and gives an important insight into the history of the town. See more...
McCormick Centre for the Environment
Wine and Dine
Sample the local drop at Angove Winery cellar doors. You can also get a taste of the region's great food and wine at many of the restaurants, pubs and the community club. Renmark Hotel is a good dine with great river views.
The late Frank Harding was born in nearby Werrimull in Victoria in 1935. After he resigned from the Police Force, Frank commenced a career as an artist, building a studio and gallery in Renmark. There are 2 stunning galleries. Gallery 1 has a 3,000 square metre ceiling mural of bushrangers and their exploits; many paintings showing the diversity of Frank's ability and a large collection of Australian memorabilia. Gallery 2 houses the unique "They Flew for the King" collection of aircraft paintings. Each painting depicts an actual event and has ben authenticated and signed by the Pilots. More...
Take a stroll along the Renmark riverfront interpretive walk. This easy five kilometre walk (also suitable for bikes) interprets historical information about the town and river. An extension of the walk takes you to the nearby town of Paringa.
Dinghy Backwater Tours
Discover the backwaters of the Murray on a backwater tour with Canoe the Riverland. You will see a very different side to this great river. Allow 2 hours for this guided Dinghy Tour of the Murray Rivers creeks and lagoons above Renmark.
As well as ideal for horticulture, Renmark's climate is perfect for roses and from September to July the main street is flushed with blooms. Ruston's Rose Garden is the largest rose garden in the southern hemisphere and hosts a glorious mix of modern and heritage roses of all kinds and colours. All things 'rose' are celebrated in October in the town's nine-day Rose Festival.
Chowilla Station and Reserve
Just 40 kilometres from Renmark, where the outback meets the river, are a wealth of natural, historic and cultural experiences at Chowilla Station. Go with a group and stay in the Shearers' Quarters overlooking the Murray River, hire a canoe and explore this pristine natural bushland or discover this peaceful location on a houseboat. Camping and tours are available.
Interesting Renmark Facts
- Renmark Hotel opened in 1897 as the first community owned hotel in the British Empire.
- Ian Showell built the first commercial paddle powered houseboat on the River Murray. Launched 1961.
- PS Industry holds the oldest boiler in a paddle steamer, which was built and installed in 1934 and is still in operation.
- At 500 ha Angove's Nanya vineyard is one of Australia's largest.
- Angove's ranks among the largest and longest running privately owned wine companies in Australia.
- Largest Rose Garden in the South Hemisphere.
- Chaffey Brothers were the founders of Australia's first irrigation settlement in Renmark in 1887. Renmark was the first irrigation colony in Australia.
- The first selection of fruit trees grown by the chaffey Brothers included the first navel orange tree brought to Australia and later on grapefruit.
- The Paringa suspension bridge is one of only 4 still spanning the River Murray. Built in 1927 and still carries B-double trucks as part of the Sturt Highway.
Brief History of Renmark
Renmark takes its name from the Aboriginal word meaning 'red mud'.
Although, there were other white settlers in the area prior to their arrival, the Chaffey brothers are honoured as founders of Renmark. The Canadian born George and William Chaffey were invited to Australia to create an irrigation colony at Mildura. The project was delayed due to political disputes and in the meantime an agreement of the establishment of an irrigation colony at Renmark was signed on 14th February 1887. Renmark is Australia's oldest irrigation settlement.
30,000 acres from the Bookmark Station lease was granted to the Chaffey's on which to build the new colony. Vineyards and fruit blocks slowly emerged throughout the district.
In 1893, the Renmark Irrigation Trust was established to supply water to the growers, and in the early years, it also played a role in the administration and governing of the settlement.
Initially, Renmark was almost a prohibition settlement but on 3rd March 1897, a liquor licence was granted to the Renmark Hotel and it became the first community owned hotel in the Commonwealth and was administered by a trust.
During its brief history, Renmark has witnessed many changes. Once it played a major role as a port for paddle steamers, until the introduction of the railway signaled the end of the river trade ear. The railway was, in turn, made redundant with the advent of prime movers to transport freight.
The township has survived memorable floods (such as 1956), droughts (as in 1914) storms and threat of bushfires. All of these in just over one hundred years.
In recent years the focus of the the area has once again returned to the river with a growth in tourism and usage of the river for recreational purposes. Future developments have considered the tourism potential in the area by including features such as accommodation and recreational facilities
84 Murray Ave
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