Moama Historic Precinct | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Moama Historic Precinct

Item details

Name of item: Moama Historic Precinct
Other name/s: Echuca Rail / Road Bridge, Echuca Wharf
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Landscape - Cultural
Category: Historic Landscape
Location: Lat: -36.1194961523 Long: 144.7508991500
Primary address: Hunt Street, Moama, NSW 2731
Local govt. area: Murray
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
VOL42 FOL19
VOL92 FOL19
VOL42 FOL20
VOL91 FOL209
VOL42 FOL21
VOL91 FOL210
VOL42 FOL22
VOL42 FOL23
VOL42 FOL24
VOL42 FOL25
VOL30 FOL61
LOT1 DP723760
LOT2 DP723760
LOT256 DP726663
LOT559DP758686
LOT8 DP776982
LOT1 DP851678
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Hunt StreetMoamaMurray  Primary Address
Ward StreetMoamaMurray  Alternate Address
Forbes StreetMoamaMurray  Alternate Address
Echuca RoadMoamaMurray  Alternate Address
Murray RiverMoamaMurray  Alternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
 Private25 Mar 99
 Private25 Mar 99
 Private25 Mar 99

Description

Physical description: The Moama Historic Precinct includes the Echuca Road / Rail bridge and the Echuca Wharf facing it downstream. The area was once the site of Chinese market gardens, houses, a saw mill, a thriving ship building business and one of the busiest boat slips on the Murray River.

The land is now open red gum forest with minimal use, but there are the remains of the boat slip and associated machinery and the hulks of two large river barges lie nearby.
Current use: Public Space
Former use: Aboriginal land, public space, river, wharf

History

Historical notes: Prior to European occupation the Aboriginal inhabitants of the Echuca/Moama area were the Jodajoda. The Yorta Yorta was a language group, the members of which it occupied the area around Echuca to Cobram and south to Shepparton. They were alternatively known as the Bangarang (Bangerang). The present-day Aboriginal inhabitants of traditional Yorta Yorta land refer to themselves as the Yorta Yorta Nation.

Early European exploration in the Echuca/Moama region
The Murray and Campaspe Rivers have been of major importance to the development of the Echuca-Moama region. The area came to the attention of European colonists in the late 1830s as pastoralists drove cattle and sheep inland along these major rivers in search of grazing land. In early 1838 Hawdon and Bonney passed through Echuca in the vicinity of present-day Radcliffe St, and provided some of the earliest descriptions of the land and Aboriginal inhabitants of Echuca before crossing the Campaspe south of present-day Rotary Park (Coulson, 1995:4). Charles Sturt followed their route in mid-1838 (Coulson, 1995:6). By 1841, pastoral holdings had been established north along the Campaspe River to its junction with the Murray and on both sides of the Murray River.

1840s - 50s - Pastoralists. John Maiden and the development of Moama
The pastoral boom of the 1840s and early 50s required vast herds of sheep and cattle to be moved overland to markets. The Moama area became known as a desirable place to cross the Murray due to the slope of the riverbanks at this point, and the fact that it was the shortest distance to Melbourne from the Murray. In 1842, James Maiden and his wife were two of the first residents on the NSW side of the Murray, living at Perricoota Station, where Maiden was superintendent. Maiden took full advantage of the huge volume of traffic heading to meat and wool markets in Melbourne by establishing a settlement at present-day Moama.

In 1844 he built a punt across the Murray, soon replaced with a larger one in 1845, one mile east of present day Moama. In 1846 he established the Junction Inn near his punt, providing accommodation, liquor and stabling for those waiting to cross the river. Maiden became rich from the volume of traffic as well as his cattle dealings (Coulson, 1995:20-21). A small settlement, owned largely by Maiden, grew up around the river crossing. In 1846 a mail service to "Maiden's Punt" commenced; John Maiden was at this time punt owner, innkeeper, postmaster and cattle dealer (Coulson, 1995:25).

In 1851 Maiden's Punt became known officially as Moama (Coulson, 1995:26). The Bendigo gold rush in the early 1850s increased the demand for meat. Maiden established slaughteryards on Perricoota station, and by 1854, Moama was the largest cattle market outside Melbourne. James Maiden had become owner of Perricoota station and was regarded as a millionaire. However in the mid 1850s the cattle market crashed, and James Maiden's fortunes (and Moama) entered a period of decline. In 1861 Maiden sold off all his holdings and left the area. The remains of the Junction Inn are located in Chanter St.

1850s - Hopwood and the development of Echuca
During the 1840s, Echuca did not exist. James Maiden held a monopoly over river crossings and his settlement in NSW in Moama. Henry Hopwood arrived near Moama in 1849. He attempted to establish a rival punt and various enterprises on the banks of the Murray but encountered such strong opposition from squatters that in 1852 he was "chased out" of NSW and moved to a pastoral holding across the river in Victoria (Coulson, 1995:31).

With the Victorian goldfields creating demand for meat and transport, Hopwood competed directly with Maiden for a monopoly over river crossing trade, and was quoted as vowing to "put Moama in the Murray" (Coulson, 1995:36). He proceeded to establish a small settlement on the Victorian side of the river, known for a short time as "Hopwoods ferry" before being surveyed as Echuca in 1854. Between 1854 and 1857 Hopwood established a punt, inn, two stores, two smiths, a doctor and a bakery to cater for travellers and residents. As the cattle market crashed and the fortunes of Maiden and other squatters declined in NSW, Hopwoods influence in Victoria grew. In 1859 he built a pontoon bridge and the grand "Bridge Hotel" to garner the increasing coach traffic from Melbourne (Coulson, 1995:38). Hopwood remained an influential figure until the development of other transport technologies.

1860s -1880s Echuca - transport, sawmilling and agriculture
The introduction of steamboats in 1853 and the completion of the Melbourne-Echuca railway line in 1864 saw Echuca became a major transport and sawmilling centre. (Coulson, 1995:69). Both steamers and railroads required wood in the form of fuel or sleepers, and so the logging of redgum forests surrounding Echuca Moama also became a major source of employment (Coulson, 1995:81). The settlement of Echuca spread to Echuca East, where most sawmilling was concentrated, and south along the major highways. There was also commercial and residential expansion along the railway line.

By 1872 the Port of Echuca was the centre of a trade network involving the transport of wool and other goods by steamer and then by train to markets. After this time, however, the spread of railway construction across Victoria eroded the commercial viability of river transport. In 1875 construction began on the iron rail and road bridge which crosses the Murray today. The Shinbone Alley settlement, home to many of the construction workers, flourished in the Banyule Forest east of the bridge. The bridge was complete in 1878, but remained unopened until the 1879 "Bridge Riot" when residents opened the bridge themselves (Coulson, 1995:78). The steamer trade declined slowly from this time onwards.

Between 1877 and 1881 the profitable redgum sawmilling industry in Echuca declined drastically. In an attempt to regulate the massive deforestation of redgum forests, the Victorian government introduced a heavy tax on redgum in 1877. By 1878, 1000 people were unemployed in Echuca, and although the tax was repealed in 1881, most of the redgum trade had already been lost to mills in NSW which were not subject to the tax. This had a large impact on the settlements of Echuca East, which were closely tied to the sawmilling industry. In 1881 the Murray River Sawmills company was formed when several sawmillers banded together to keep their industry going. A sawmill still operates in Echuca today under the same name and on the same site (Coulson, 1995:84). Logging of redgum has continued ever since although at substantially reduced levels.

The 1860s saw the establishment of market gardening as an industry in the Echuca - Moama area. The first Chinese market gardeners arrived in Echuca in 1865, and in 1887 there were 10 gardens supplying the Echuca area with fresh vegetables as well as growing tomatoes for the tomato processing industry (Coulson, 1995:115). Land selectors also took up land to the south and west of Echuca during the 1870s.

Developments occurred more slowly across the river at Moama. In 1870 the settlement was completely inundated by a huge flood, and most of its 40 buildings were swept away. However the town was rebuilt, and the population increased around the settlement due to the subdivision of pastoral properties under Land Selection Acts, and the opening of the Deniliquin-Moama railway line in 1875.

1880s to World War 1
In 1881 the population of Echuca was 4789, and Moama 700. Both centres declined slightly over the next 3 decades as a result of economic and technological changes. In addition to the decline of the port and sawmilling industries, the economic depression of the 1890s reduced the volume of goods passing through Echuca. Established trades such as blacksmith, wheelwright, coachbuilder and saddler all declined in importance with increasing popularity of motorised transport after 1910 (Coulson, 1995:91). The loss of a large number of males from the population from 1914 onwards meant that the river transport and sawmilling industries would never be revived (Coulson, 1995:91).

However, agriculture and dairying in the surrounding district took on greater importance with the subdivision of land for farm allotments. In 1894, Echuca Village was established under the Victorian government's Village Settlement Scheme, which was designed to ease poverty caused by the depression. Settlers were given the opportunity to acquire freehold land if conditions regarding payment and land usage were met. Despite individual failures, the village persisted and by the 1920s had become a productive farming area (Coulson, 1995:168). In 1906 closer settlement schemes brought many small farmers to the districts south and west of Echuca (Coulson, 1995:90). Chinese market gardeners continued to flourish in the area, and production of fruit and vegetables peaked in the period prior to WW1 (Coulson, 1995:119)

The interwar period - continued agricultural development
Echuca-Moama began to revive economically in the 1920s after returned soldiers arrived to take up farming or open businesses (Coulson, 1995:91). Dairying continued to develop south and west of Echuca. The population north-west of Moama increased with the opening of a railway line to Balranald (Coulson, 1995:91) Echuca remained a commercial centre throughout the depression of the 1930s, when rabbiting became a major source of support for many families (Coulson, 1995:91). Market gardening was continued by Spanish immigrants and a few remaining Chinese gardeners (the White Australia Policy resulted in a decline in the number of Chinese immigrants permitted to enter Australia).

Post World War 2 - manufacturing and tourism
During WW2 Echuca East was revived economically with the construction of an ordnance factory and housing for workers. This continued post WW2 when the factory was bought by the United Bearing Corporation. After WW2, returned soldiers again boosted the economy through house construction, establishing businesses or farms. Agricultural and dairy industries continued to support a flour mill, butter factory and tomato processing plant.

The Port of Echuca wharf was partly demolished in 1944, but with increasing development and modernisation away from the old Echuca district in the 1950s and 1960s, some residents developed an appreciation of Echuca's history. Plans to restore the Port of Echuca were developed in the 1960s and completed in 1974. From the mid-1970s to the present, tourism has become a major industry in Echuca-Moama. The restoration of steamboats as part of the tourism industry continued in Echuca, and in Moama landscape and restoration works were undertaken at Horseshoe Lagoon and the wharf. The economic boom of the 1980s saw continued building and commercial developments in both Echuca and Moama. (Austral Heritage Consultants, Feb 2000)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. River flats-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Topography: How did the environment, topography and the River influence early settlement? Is there a strong relationship-Peopling the Continent Contact
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Introduce cultural planting-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Natural landscapes valued by humans-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Lakes and wetlands supporting human activities-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Conserving and protecting natural features-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural: Plains and plateaux supporting human activities-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Natural - pre European settlement vegetation-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Transport-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Developing Commercial Enterprise-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Maritime industry shipyard timber yards-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of industrial production-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Modifying landscapes to increase productivity-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Sharing pastoral resources-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Woolgrowing-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Pastoralism-Activities associated with the breeding, raising, processing and distribution of livestock for human use Servicing the pastoral industry-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Wharf and shipping history-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements River Transport-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Maintaining the river boat network-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Transport-Activities associated with the moving of people and goods from one place to another, and systems for the provision of such movements Building and maintaining jetties, wharves and docks-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to tourist-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Subdivision of rural estates-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th Century Infrastructure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing ports-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creating landmark structures and places in regional settings-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing towns in response to topography-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Role of transport in settlement-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Moama Historic precinct, including the Echuca Rail/Road bridge and the Ehuca Wharf demonstrates pivotal technological changes in the transportation of Australia's produce.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementReview a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) Maintenance and restoration work on the Echuca Wharf to the following description:
(a) construction of a retaining wall in the old docking area in place of the old deteriorated wall;
(b) excavation of silt from the old docking area;
(c) renewal of old piles, cross heads and bracing in the wharf structure.
(2) Routine maintenance and repair work on the Echuca Road / Rail Bridge.
(3) Emergency repairs when necessary and periodic routine maintenance to any power / service installations at present passing through the Moama Historic Precinct.
May 16 1986
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(a) The maintenance of any building, structure or item on the site where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing material;
(b) the construction of a new concrete railway bridge on an alignment centred parallel to and 15 metres upstream of the Echuca Road / Rail Bridge in accordance with section 6.0 and figures 27, 28 and 29 of the "New Rail Bridge over the Murray River, Echuca-Moama, Environmental Impact Statement" published 3rd September, 1986, and prepared by Dames and Moore, Consulting Engineers;
(c) the removal of only such trees as it is necessary to remove in the vicinity of the proposed new rail bridge alignment, and only for the purposes of construction of the new rail bridge;
(d) maintenance and restoration work on the Echuca Wharf to the following description:
(a) construction of a retaning wall in the old docking area in places of the deteriorated old wall;
(b) excavation of silt from the old docking area;
(c) renewal of old piles, cross heads and bracing in the wharf structure;
(e) routine maintenance work on the Echuca Road / Rail Bridge.
(f) emergency repairs when necessary and periodic routine maintenance to any power / service installations at present passing through the Echuca / Moama Historic Precinct;
(g) cultivation, pruning and remedial tree surgery, but not including removal or extensive lopping of riparian native vegetation;
(h) eradication of noxious plants and animals. (Weed species in natural areas to be removed either by manual means or treated by spot application of herbicide to avoid deleterious affects on native vegetation);
(i) maintenance and repairs to, but not upgrading of, existing access roads;
(j) Garden maintenance including cultivation, pruning, weed control, the repair and maintenance of existing fences, gates and garden walls and tree surgery but not extensive lopping;
Sep 11 1987
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0060002 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0060024 Jun 88 1053360
Local Environmental PlanMurray River LEP 2011C116 Feb 11   
National Heritage ListEchuca Wharf 26 Apr 07   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Moama Historic Precinct View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Moama Historic Precinct View detail
WrittenAustral Heritage Consultants2000Murray River Crossing at Echuca/Moama Planning Study (Environmental Effects Statement)
WrittenLovell Chen Architects & Heritage Consultants2007Echuca Wharf, Echuca: Conservation Management Plan
WrittenM. J. Doring1985Heritage Office Minute

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045570
File number: S90/02285


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