Lee and David Salvemini IRNM Register

BY RIVER AND SEA Sept’19 by Frank Tuckwell

The Inland Rivers National Marathon Register team who greet the people who have travelled the river system and arrive here at Goolwa, find that invariably each arrival has something different to add to stories about their travels that in some way make each one a new experience.

Take for instance the stories of two brothers, Lee and David Salvemini who recently arrived separately at Goolwa after kayaking from interstate. Nothing unusual there? Well for a start they made their journeys separately, starting and finishing at different times. Each of the brothers had different reasons to do what they set out to do but each found that the river had captured their spirit and imagination for a lifetime.

Lee Salvemini who lives in Middleton, began his journey down the Murray from the little settlement of Biggara on the Victorian side of the upper headwaters of the Murray River, situated amongst the ranges of the Snowy Mountains. In preparing his kayak ready to launch from a sandy riverside spot there, Lee was surprised when he kicked up some sand and revealed a little trove of 50 cent pieces which obviously been dropped there that over some time had been covered by layers of coarse white river sand. He picked up from surrounding sand about five dollars of the dull and gritty coins and brought them along on his voyage to present them to the IRNM team to cover the requested $5 donation when receiving his register certificate.

The young Murray flows past Biggara with a vigorous force, although not with as much energy that produces the white-water cascades of the rocky sections further upstream. One must respect its strength when launching into the stream there as it surges onward with its swirling currents and eddies towards Khancoban. Then close to Bringenbrong Bridge it is joined by the Swamy Plains River which had began its flow from around Mt Kosciuszko, and now with their combined waters passing under the bridge, the Murray River emerges to boldly begin its long journey to the sea.

Lee departed Biggara in his kayak on April 2nd this year to begin his journey down the Murray to Goolwa. On arrival here he stepped out of his craft on the little sandy beach of the boat harbour at the downstream end of the Goolwa wharf on Thursday May 23rd, 51 days later. He was met and welcomed by the IRNM Register team and was interviewed by duty registrar Kathy Sutton and team leader Frank Tuckwell with duty photographer Kaylene Maalste covering the arrival and certificate presentation.

Kathy approved Lee’s application for entry into the Inland Rivers National Marathon Register. However, he missed the “Source to Sea” accreditation because his voyage fell short of that complete course. After further discussion with Lee it was pointed out by the team leader that provided he returned to complete that section from Biggara to the Murray’s source in Kosciuszko National Park sometime in the future and providing the required evidence of completing that section is presented, he may make application to have his whole journey upgraded accordingly.

Lee’s brother, David from Adelaide, who had been bitten by the kayak bug after watching a kayaker from his riverside camp, passing by without the hassles land-bound travellers have, was seized with a desire to have the same experience himself. When Lee was planning his marathon, David decided it was time to realise that desire, but over a much shorter course. He launched his kayak from Mildura on the 4th May this year and arrived in Goolwa on the 29th May, six days after his brother Lee had completed his marathon. They had paddled together for a short period, but David was not in such a hurry as Lee, preferring to take a more leisurely pace and arriving later. Team leader Frank interviewed David and issued him with his IRNMR certificate while duty photographer Bev Nixon covered the interview.



The Goolwa National Trust IRNMR Team require the voluntary assistance of 3 responsible persons to take up a position of public relations team members to handle media releases. These occasional news releases will go out to local and regional outlets relating to the recognition of successful entrants into the IRNM Register. Learn on the job while working with our team of registrars, photographers, archive and other team members. No committee meetings, just be among a volunteer working group of people giving a valuable contribution to Goolwa while enjoying a fascinating pastime, meeting and greeting extraordinary people from many places. If you are interested and reliable, you may attend a session at 10am Wednesday September 18, or drop into any Wednesday morning archive workshop (at the rear entrance of the Goolwa museum, church side) between 10 and 11am, or contact Team leader Frank Tuckwell at frank.tuckwell5214@outlook.com for details.