135km north-east of Adelaide, and 275 kms from the Murray Mouth, Blanchetown is the home of Lock 1 – first lock on the River Murray.
Blanchetown was one of the first river settlements in South Australia. Surveyed in 1855, the town was named by Governor Sir Richard Graves McDonnell after his wife Lady Blanche McDonnell. It began life as a stopover point and watering place for mail contractors and coaches carrying passengers on the “Sydney Road” as it was then known. Proudly standing are several buildings from the town’s first development including the original Post Office, Hotel, School and Police Station.
Blanchetown was an important riverbank terminal where goods were offloaded from paddlesteamers to be cleared through the local Customs House. The town’s prosperity suffered when the railway by-passed it in favour of upstream Morgan.
Development of the district goes back as far as 1841 when the explorer, Edward John Eyre was appointed as Protector of Aborigines and established the first Murray River European settlement in South Australia just 6 kms south of the present site of Blanchetown. This area was called ‘Moorundie’, the name of the local Aboriginal Tribe. This area was subject to flooding so another site was chosen and the present town was developed. Eyre stated in 1839 that this area had a salubrious climate and indeed is still very agreeable.
Content gather with permission from Discover Murray