• Hannah Phillips

Remarkable River Women Across the Flow Regions


Mannum’s Women of the River Country exhibition has been travelling across the Murray Darling Basin for the past 3 years, making its way to the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery at the start of May this year.

Sharing the stories and lives of remarkable river women, the exhibition has one week left in Murray Bridge before it heads to the Australian Maritime Museum in Sydney.


Flow FM spoke with Deb Alexander, one of the people involved in making the exhibition happen, to find out some of these remarkable river stories.


The exhibition showcases the incredible lives and stories of 19 remarkable river women from across the Flow regions, including:

  • Pearl Wallace (Wentworth NSW and all the Murray/Darling)- First Woman River Captain

  • Ruby Hunter (Paringa SA) – Aboriginal Singer, Songwriter

  • Ivy Carr (Morgan SA) – Queen of Cuisine on the Murray

  • Mary Ann Randell (Mannum SA) – Murray River Mother

  • Elizabeth “Bessie” Randell (Mannum SA) – A Murray River Love Story

  • Eliza Arbuckle (Morgan SA) –A Murray River Explorer

  • Jessie Wakefield (Goolwa SA) – World War One Heroine

  • Mary Ann Edwards (Murray Bridge SA) – A River Entrepreneur

  • Pauline Milich (Loxton SA) – Mother of 14, Midwife to over 80 more!

  • Ella Chaffey (Renmark SA) – Stories from a River Past

  • Hattie Schell & Hattie Sexton Schell (Mildura VIC) - The Two Hatties

  • Hilda Creager (Rufus River NSW) – Professional Fisherwoman

  • Elizabeth Williams (Dareton NSW) – Courage and a Cannon

  • Jessie Dunstone (Swan Hill, VIC) – Well, I Love it!

  • Margaret Court (Albury, NSW) – Tennis Legend

  • Helen Sutherland (Wodonga VIC) – Murray Grey Breeder

  • Elyne Mitchell (Towong VIC) – A Woman of High River Country

  • Essie Nesbitt (Echuca VIC) – Over 20,000 River Welcomes

Chairman of the Mannum Dock Museum, Rob Bowring OAM praised the people behind the exhibition, saying: “To be exhibited in Sydney at a nationally acclaimed maritime museum is an incredible honour and a real coup for the Mannum Dock Museum volunteers and staff who produced the exhibition 3 years ago.

“The connections made with families across Australia through the exhibition has been a wonderful experience and it’s widespread appeal is evident with many venues inviting it’s return”

“The stories are a great read for everyone and showcases the amazing talents of many women over the years from the first women in Australia to gain her Master’s Mariners Certificate, one of the greatest female tennis players in the world to a midwife who delivered 200 babies and 14 of her own.”

The Women of the River Exhibition will be on show at the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery until June 10, with free admission at 27 Seventh Street, Murray Bridge.

For more information visit www.murraybridgegallery.com.au or www.psmarion.com.


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