River's End Retreat

About the Region

Rich history is woven between River’s End Retreat & the region …

Originally built by eminent South Australian politician William Younghusband Circa 1854, it and has since been lovingly maintained, renovated and extended over the years by three generations of the Bishop family (the current owners today).

River's End
The Story of Goolwa & the Murray Mouth

by Leslie McLeay & Nancy Cato

(Ch 7)

 …this survey was carried out early in 1853.   It was known as the Survey of the Town of Goolwa, (the first one in I840 had been the survey of the Town On the Goolwa). It was done by a party of sappers and miners under the direction of one Corporal Brooking.   The first quarter-acre allotments were sold at public auction on April 28th 1853.

Another section was taken up by William Younghusband at this public auction of land.   It was on the headland to the south of the new wharf, very near the spot where he and Cadell had stood discussing the future of the river and the possibility of a railway.  Right at the point of the elbow bend, the site commanded the best view in the town.   It overlooked the widest part of the river, with a view upstream towards Currency Creek and the entrance to Lake Alexandrina, and downstream towards the mouth.   Here the channel is forty feet deep and the waters are wide as a lake.

The rise where the house stands was later terraced for his benefit, for Younghusband was by then South  Australia’s Chief Secretary, a man of great importance in the Colony.   The long spit of land which separates the still waters of the Coorong from the foaming breakers of the ocean was named Younghusband Peninsula after him.  He built a spacious house with stone walls two feet thick, some of the rooms below ground level for coolness in the hot weather, and with cedar mantelpieces whose red grain has turned to gold with a hundred years of sunlight to bleach them.   He called his terrace Admiralty Terrace (now wrongly named Admiral Terrace).

(Ch 12)

There is a little room off the kitchen in Younghusband’s house – up a few stairs, it has casement windows and a broad stone sill.   The view is not what it was when the house was built.  The railway sheds block much of the river, but still beyond the roofs it can be seen winding up past Currency Creek, past the mouth of the Finniss towards Lake Alexandrina and the upper river.  Here eighty years ago a little colleen, kitchen maid to the Younghusband family, must have sat on the wide sill watching and waiting for a sight of smoke and a cloud of birds, heralding the return of one of Goolwa’s steamers with her own true love on board.