During the latter half of the nineteenth and early twentieth century's the River Murray was a major inland highway for pastoralists, settlers and travellers. Fleets of paddle steamers and their barges carried produce from stations and farms to transit points downriver.
There were floating shops bringing goods to the settlers, mail steamers crossing the lakes, mission boats and passenger liners, as well as small fishing boats, ferries, powerful milk launches and boats that helped build the weirs and kept the channels free of snags.
Ports, trading companies and shipbuilding facilities were established, and many of the Murray's settlements developed around the trade brought by the river boats supply network.
Installed in February 2009, the 'River Boat Trail' is a series of 18 interpretive panels along the South Australian section of the River Murray from Border Cliffs to Goolwa and across Lakes Alexandrina and Albert. Each panel includes a map and information that interprets South Australia's rich heritage along the River Murray.
The River Boat Trail highlights state heritage listed places and shipwrecks along the river and tells the stories of the people, settlements and vessels that made the Murray a major inland highway from the 1850s to the mid-twentieth century.