The Echuca wharf was first built in1865 to facilitate the arrival of the railway line to Echuca from Bendigo . This allowed the wool industry and the timber industry on the Darling Murray Rivers to be opened up. The height of the paddle steamer trade occurred in 1872 when 240 boats were cleared through the Echuca wharf. (Ref. Coulson, Helen. "Echuca-Moama On The Murray " p.71) The wharf was extended in 1874 and again in 1881 when cranes and sheds were added to help facilitate the unloading process. In 1884 the wharf was extended south into a turning basin and was 332 metres long. (Ref. Coulson, Helen. " Echuca Moama On the Murray" p. 71. It is possible that this photograph was taken before 1881 as there are no cargo sheds present in this photograph.
This photograph is significant because it shows the use and extent of the Echuca Wharf in the late 19th Century. It also shows the importance of the impact that the railway line had on developing Primary Industry in the Murray River basin area.
A black and white rectangular photograph of Echuca Wharf taken from the south eastern end of the wharf, near where the current wet dock area currently is. There are no cargo sheds on the wharf so The Bridge Hotel, St. George's Hall and Shackell's Bonded Store are clearly visible in the background. Two trains are parked on the wharf. A large group of men can be seen around a large crane in the middle of the wharf. A large stern wheeler paddle steamer is tied up to the Centre of the wharf. Two smaller paddle steamers are also tied up to the wharf.
Inscriptions & markings
Written on the back of the photograph in pencil are the words " Early photo of the wharf. No sheds. Note Shackell's Bond Store and St George's Hall."