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Younghusband a short distance from Mannum on the Murray

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Younghusband is only a short drive from Mannum and on the road from Kia Marina. The small settlement is a collection of Murray riverside shacks and houses and a great spot to take a ski or just relax. You'll also see some cliffs as you take the riverside drive to the Bowhill if coming from Mannum. You can hire a river house (commonly referred to as shack) which works out to be an affordable holiday on the Murray River.

Lowan Conservation Park

Noted for its breeding populations of wedge-tailed eagles and Mallee fowl, is 13 km south-east of Bowhill. This park of mallee scrub and grey cypress pines has no facilities, but bush camping is allowed (a fee is payable (085) 82 2644). Access is via the Bowhill-Karoonda Road which provides access to the eastern boundary.

Noa-No Landing

5 km from Mannum on Younghusband Road, in February 1853 Captain Randell launched the Mary Ann and began the river boat era of Australia’s history. A cairn marks the spot.

Younghusband Road Nature Reserve

On the floodplain and is made up of lagoons and backwaters running parallel with the Murray River. From the Purnong ferry follow the river to Younghusband Road, here birdlife is protected and prolific. The scenery alters from sandstone cliffs near Bow Hill to a narrow floodplain close to Mannum. The views over Teal Flat, and from Coolcha and Chucka Bend are worth seeing.

Mid Murraylands Scenic Drive

Distance: approximately 176 km. Begin at Mannum and follow the Sedan Road through the Angus Valley. Turn east at Cambrai, and follow the Marne River to Black Hill, noted for its quality granite, some of which was used in the new Parliament House, Canberra. From Black Hill, the road passes Shell Hill, famous for its fossils, past the Ridley Conservation Park and continues to Swan Reach. Here the scenic drive crosses the river by ferry and continues to the lookout (9km from Swan Reach) and onto Nildottie and Walker Flat. Follow the river south through Caurnamont and use the ferry crossing at Purnong. From Purnong follow the river through Chucka Bend, Bowhill, Coolcha, along Younghusband Road and back to Mannum.

Tartangan boy found after 6000 years

Not far from Nildottie, in 1929, a find was made that confirmed that man had been associated with the Murray River for thousands of years. A skeleton of a 12 year-old-boy was found in rock and through radio-carbon dating, was estimated to be at least 6000–7000 years old. Remains of now-extinct species of mussels were found with the boy who belonged to the Negritos, cousins of the Tasmanian Aborigines. They were small in stature and the first Aboriginal immigrants to come to Australia. In other locations in South Australia their implements and weapons have been found in association with Genyornis and Diprotodon fossils of 6500 years ago.    

During the warm period of our geological history, when the ice caps melted, water levels rose and land flooded, this spot became a burial chamber, one that hadn’t been disturbed for 6000 years.

The news of the find of the Negritos boy was quickly followed by another important find, just across the river. It was a shallow cave which had provided shelter over a 5000-year period. Among the debris implements, charcoal, broken weapons and stone flakes were found. As debris layers were excavated it was noted that the findings belonged to three different stages of culture and some implements were quite different from others. The cave was  a 6m deep cross-section of history. The workmanship of the implements in the top layers, the most recent, was much poorer (in technique) that the earlier, but they were probably just as effective.

But it is only when you put this time scale in relation to our European history that you realise the age of the area. While the 12 year-old-boy searched for mussels along the river edge, the pyramids of Egypt were yet to be constructed.

The area of the archeological finds are sacred sites and also important areas of our national heritage, listed on the National Estate Register and are therefore protected. Entry is prohibited.

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