My father had the stories; he always used to say that at Easter time he wouldn’t have to buy fish, he would just catch a fish, down the Lachlan here, always four to five cod and not much of anything else, that’s what dad used to tell us. There was also what they used to call the old Black Bream; they used to call them white eyes here, now they call them Macquaire Perch, and the trout. – Joe Lewis 2007.
Over the next six months we will be sharing stories from True Tales of the Trout Cod: River Histories of the Murray-Darling Basin. This week we have a snapshot of the Lachlan River Catchment History. Will Trueman who compiled ‘True Tales of the Trout Cod’ has talked to many people living and fishing along the Lachlan River and we have featured some of these stories from newspapers here:
Maitland Mercury & Hunter River Advertiser, 5 April 1862
March 30 – The continued absence of rain causing stoppage of the puddling machines for want of water, is the sole reason of the small escort leaving tomorrow. As before stated, the river, one mile distant, is tabooed for washing purposes to the last dregs, so that the returns per escort will diminish until we are blessed with the winter’s rain.
Great quantities of fish have this week been picked up by hand out of the bed of the lagoon between the Victoria and Caledonian loads, some of the codfish weighing over 30 pounds weight, besides bream, perch and jewfish, the latter being one of the oddest of the finny tribe, presenting the appearance of half newt, with porpoise head and feelers round the mouth. This fish deposits its ova in a gravelly cell on the bottom using stones of upwards of a pound weight in their construction (as a blackfellow asserts). Certain it is that little mounds, of beehive form, abound in this lagoon, containing gravel.
To learn more about the history of the Lachlan River, download the beautiful pdf booklet filled with many more articles like this one, as well as stories, maps and fabulous old photos. The pdf is free here. You can also hear from Will about the research he did when writing the Lachlan River booklet and the incredible people he met and fish he found!
This map shows the Lachlan River as it travels through New South Wales
You can read or download the full pdf booklet here or by clicking on the booklet cover above.