Koondrook, the Victorian twin town to Barham, NSW has a population of 832 (2016 census) and like Barham is much reliant on the Sir John Monash built bridge across the Murray. Koondrook is home to the historic Arbuthnot Saw Mill which has been situated on the banks of the Murray since 1889 and is renowned for its milling of river red gum.
There’s more to see than first meets the eye here. New houses are springing up, a new wharf and walkway has been built along the river, there’a a small railway museum and the town is a gateway to the unspoilt paradise upriver that is Gunbower Island. Mate’s Royal Hotel gets good reviews from the locals. If only they’d told us before we booked dinner at the competition.
In case you are wondering about the name, the last of the original working paddle steamers on the Murray River was named the PS Alexander Arbuthnot, after the founder of the mill. She was built in Koondrook as a barge in 1916 then upgraded to a paddle steamer in 1923 she worked up until the 1940’s towing barges laden with red gum logs for the mill. The Alexander Arbuthnot now works out of the Port of Echuca as a tourist boat.*