Growing up on a river bank

European settlers first began to arrive here in 1837 and the Walwa township was surveyed by 1870. Our family moved there from Melbourne in 1951 when I was four years old.
Walwa is pronounced as it is spelled with the only variation I remember as being Wall-Wah. We were told as kids it was an Aboriginal word meaning ‘a meeting of waters’, but not having ever seen an aborigine that didn’t mean much.

The river is the Murray but of course the native Australians didn’t call it that and it had different names along its length. The river still looks much like that photo above from this point upstream but 30 kilometers downstream it disappears into the Hume Weir, dammed near Albury in 1936.

Mounted on canvas, this rolled map was a special childhood object (and I’ve kept it safe after many house moves). I knew all those river bends, the rock types and where the granite hills changed from red to grey and where to find its minerals, tin and felspar.  We lived on the edge of the Upper Ordovician facing the Alluvial flats. Click to see it larger.

My father was employed as the engineer at the Walwa Butter Factory, the buildings you see along the horizontal road in the middle of the image above. The town is the white buildings in the middle distance. The factory is actually closer to the town of Jingellic in NSW where I went to school (it’s spelt as Jinjellic on the map above).

This is where I grew up.

Here’s some images from an older page which has descriptions. There’s a bit more about Walwa in this Another Country Diary post from August 2005. There will be more of course.