Day 12 – Lock 9 to Kingston on Murray

Wednesday 24 March 1982

Watches were put back thirty minutes in preparation for the move to Central Standard Time. But the day was to be characterised by motor problems resulting from dirty fuel.

The Murray River in this ‘lock country’ is generally wide and full with water rising to the tops of the banks above locks and weirs.

The New South Wales/Victoria/South Australia border was another milestone on the long journey, requiring the obligatory team photo.

Cooperation by the lockmasters assisted in the speedy passage through the locks.  In all cases the water in the lock was the ‘right way’, that is, at the same height as the upper river level so the boats were able to be driven in without waiting for the water level in the chamber to be raised.  The massive gates on the upriver side of the lock would be opened just sufficiently wide to allow passage of a dinghy and would begin to close again as the last boat entered.  Immediately the gates began to open the motors were fired up and the dinghies moved off, the last one being away before the gate was even half open.  The task of thanking the Lockmaster was left to the support crew.

Delays that had occurred in previous days due to spark plug problems were overcome by abandoning the radio noise suppressing variety of plugs.  However, problems with dirt in carburetors were now causing the delays.

Dirt deposited from below-standard fuel purchased in the more remote areas had built up in the fuel tanks.  Three boats experienced motor problems and George’s boat had to be towed into Lock 6.  There were problems throughout the day with dirt in the fuel.  George’s motor again became a casualty.

Between the motor problems there was little to do apart from enjoy the magnificent scenery.

However, it was not enough to keep some of the co-drivers from falling asleep in the boats.  Occasionally the routine of following the course of the river was broken when a driver would also nod off and the boat would end up on a bank or canonning into another boat.  Expedition problems were not confined to fuel and floods!

Darkness had fallen just prior to Kingston-on-Murray and the boat crews were lost for a short time in Watchells Lagoon until Ted, using his experience from the Murray River Expedition in 1981, was able to guide them to the correct area.  The support crew, having heard the boats, were able to guide them to the campsite using torches.  The overnight camp was at the caravan park.

Meanwhile, Mark and Mario in Escort were ‘missing in action’.  They had not arrived by the time the boats pulled in and they had not been seen since the last refuel.  They eventually arrived about 30 minutes after the boat crews to report that “there are a number of good wineries in the area”.


 Departed Lock 9 0650
Lock 8 0752
Lock 7 0939
NSW/SA Border 1140
Departed NSW/SA Border 1154
Lock 6 1245
Departed Lock 6 1304
Renmark 1430
Kingston on Murray 1918
Running Time 11 hours 06 mins 89 hours 05 mins 100 hours 11 mins
Refuelling 30 mins 6 hours 38 mins 7 hours 08 mins
Delays 52 mins 16 hours 40 mins 17 hours 32 mins
TOTAL TIME 12 hours 28 mins 112 hours 23 mins 124 hours 51mins
Distance 335 kilometres 2653 kilometres 2988 kilometres
Average Speed 30.8 kmh 29.8 kmh 29.8kmh

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