Port Murthoo Customs House South Australia

Port Murthoo Customs House

After the 1850s gold rushes in Victoria and New South Wales, several colonies were looking for additional revenue. New South Wales, who claimed ownership of the River Murray, was first off the mark to charge customs duties for goods entering that colony.

In January 1884 a government party from South Australia went up the river looking for a suitable site to intercept steamers on the Murray entering South Australian waters. Having found a suitable site near Chowilla Station, Sub-Collector Robert Baker was put in charge of the site to collect the various charges from the steamer captains. On 8 April 1884 Governor W.C.F. Robinson officially proclaimed the site which was named Port Murthoo.

The contract to build the station was secured by Robert Oldfield. While the buildings were constructed Robert Baker and his family lived in tents and other primitive accommodation. They remained for four years after which Albert Simms took over. The last Customs Officer appointed was Robert Ramsey in 1897. He collected duties until January 1903 when the station was closed.

From 1904 the land and buildings were leased by Richard Stoeckel. He and his family lived on the property until 1967. Richard, and his parents, who came out from Germany are buried at the nearby cemetery overlooking the River Murray. Members of the Stoeckel family, among them Richard, William and Arnold, have lived in the area ever since and made a substantial contribution to closer settlement and the history of the Paringa and Murtho districts.


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