The romance of rivers, riverboats, captains and commerce has always been a beguiling mix for writers of history. The Murray River, Echuca and Moama made up an area that was absolutely central to the opening up of large areas of Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. The region was a flourishing trading hub from the 1860’s, as hundreds of Murray River steamboats sailed into and beyond the Port Of Echuca where there was also a direct rail link to Melbourne. Moama was also a main crossing place for cattle heading for the goldfields at Bendigo. The 1890’s depression, along with improved road transport and the establishment of more rail options saw the area decline in importance. In time the breweries and fashion houses, so linked to the heady days, closed and the river commerce all but ceased.   

With a population of around 23,000 Echuca is a pivotal town in the Shire of Campaspe that has firmly set its direction and future on tourism. The Rotary Club of Echuca-Moama is an integral part of this destiny.

Chartered as the Rotary Club of Echuca in May 1948, the Club boasts a membership of 27 who are absolutely bonded to the marketing, building and future of their community and the many tourist delights that it offers.

All Australian country towns embrace sport and so has the Rotary Club of Echuca-Moama. There are affiliations with junior cricket clubs and sponsorship that sees the Rotary logo on all participants. Attention is directed to underprivileged juniors by ensuring that they have equipment to fully participate.

No reference to the Echuca-Moama would be complete without acknowledging the ‘Steam Rally Echuca-Moama’. Held on the Queen’s Birthday weekend since 1963, it is the region’s longest running major event with over 200 exhibits, including steam engines and vintage cars, many valued at over $500,000 each. It is the Club’s annual major fundraising project. Sadly in 2020, the event has had to be cancelled due to Covid-19.

Undaunted, the Echuca-Moama in conjunction with the Rich River Golf Club, has organised a huge ‘golf ball drop’—1500 numbered golf balls air dropped with a number of ‘nearest the pin’ prizes totalling $7500. This has attracted great interest with a ‘you’ve gotta be in it to win it’ energy making it a fundraising winner. A Charity Golf Day will follow in October (allowed under NSW Covid-19 conditions) with all proceeds directed to Rotary Mental Health.

There has been significant community suffering in the past 12 months with rural towns and townships hugely impacted. The economic restart is eagerly anticipated and the Rotary Club of Echuca-Moama will be ready. In keeping with its aim of promoting regional tourism, the Club highly recommends that when you visit, amongst some great options, you should consider the following: lunch or dinner cruises on a magnificent vintage paddle steamer; The Port of Echuca Discovery Centre; The Great Aussie Beer Shed & Heritage Farm; The National Holden Motor Museum, and many more.

And dinner with the Rotary Club of Echuca-Moama at the Moama Bowling Club is highly recommended – 6.00 for 6.30PM on all but the first Tuesday of each month. The forward thinking team of President Bernard Spry and President-Elect Teresa Carlson looks forward to welcoming you as the area kick-starts its journey back to the good times.