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Swan Reach Museum fascinating collection of a bygone era

Swan Reach MuseumThe Swan Reach Museum holds a fascinating collection of memorabilia, which reflect upon the early European history of this magnificent part of the Murray River in South Australia.

The Museum

The Swan Reach Museum is housed in the original school building that was built in 1917 for the grand sum of £2,124/9/11 ($4249). In the early years, attendances generally fluctuated between 40 and 50 students. During the two wars many men enlisted in the Armed Services, which left the town sparsely populated and caused the student numbers to drop to as low as 19 because the youth were required to work at home.

The original Swan Reach School closed in 1972 due to the establishment of a new Area School adjacent to the town's sports oval. The local kindergarten then made use of the building until 2001 when the Mid Murray Council granted permission to the Mid Murray Lands Local History Group to establish a museum.

The museum's collection consists of documents, photographs and historical items relating to its two themes, namely the history of education and social history of the area. The museum's collection extends beyond Swan Reach to include historical items from the river and rural communities of Murbko, Maggea, Copeville, Bowhill, Black Hill and Blanchetown.

Available at the Museum are: Souvenir spoons, fridge magnets, stubby holders, tea towns, colour 1956 flood postcards of Swan Reach, town, family and river history books and works by local artists.

Swan Reach Museum New DisplaysAdmission - Gold coin donation

Visitor comments

'Brings back lots of memories' - Leeton, N.S.W.
'Fascinating and interesting' - Hobart, Tasmania
'Very important place' - Washington, U.S.A.
'Really enjoyable' - Auckland, N.Z.
'OH what memories' - Littlehampton, S.A.
'Thanks, many, fond memories' - Swan Reach, S.A.

Indigenous History of Swan Reach

The Aboriginal name for the Swan Reach area, 'Kongorong' was derived from the large numbers of black swans resting gracefully on the river lagoons in the vicinity.

The most populated Aboriginal site in the area was Moorundie, which was located 19km upstream from Swan Reach. Edward John Eyre (the explorer) leased a portion of this land in 1893 from the Government who in turn appointed him as 'Protector of Aboriginies.'

In 1860 Eardley Heywood, one of the area's earliest settlers, was the lessee of Portee Station (which included Moorundie). Eastern Well and Swan Reach Station. These stations grazed a total of 33,000 sheep. The Swan Reach Station homestead is now part of the Swan Reach Hotel. Moorundie, was the name of a local Aboriginal tribe who lived and hunted in the area. It is also an Aboriginal word, meaning sandy.

White settlement

In 1899 Paul Hasse, then the owner of the Swan Reach Station conducted a private survey and subdivided a portion of this land into township allotments. The land division was subsequently approved in 1900 by the local council and this was the beginning of Swan Reach.

Swan Reach quickly established itself as an important trading post with wheat, barley, wool, wood and dairy produce being exported paddle steamers who, in turn, transported goods back to support the town and rural communities.

Swan Reach Museum

20-22 Nildottie Road
Swan Reach, South Australia, 5354


Wednesday 2pm - 4.30pm
Saturday 10am - 12pm
Sunday 2pm - 4.30pm

Phone (08) 8570 2019 for an appointment

Visit our Attractions page to contact us

Swan Reach
Visit Swan Reach

Swan Reach is a great place along the Murray to stop, rest and enjoy some great, old fashioned Murraylands lifestyle.


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