Captain Robert ReedPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Chris McLaughlin

The plaque commemorates Captain Robert Reed who carted the wood cut by Japanese internees to Renmark with his boats during World War Two. 

Robert Baden Powell 'Bob' Reed was the owner and captain of the Paddle Steamer Kelvin and had the contract to supply all the wood for the Renmark Irrigation Trust's number one pump from 1932 until 1945. For three years from May 1942, the wood was provided from the Woolenook Bend Internment Camp and transported to Renmark via paddle steamer by Captain Reed.

A number of boats towing barges were used for this task including the PS Milang, Kelvin and Ulonga. When the boom of the PS Ulonga snapped in 1943, it was replaced by the Oregon boom of the PS Kelvin. To make it fit the smaller PS Ulonga, the boom was shortened by two feet length and the off-cut salvaged by the Japanese Internees of Woolenook Bend.

Note : When World War Two broke out, Japanese people living in Australia were sent to Internment camps, many of which were in the Riverland at Loveday, Katarapko and Woolenook Bend. There were initially 30 internees at the Woolenook Bend camp when it was established on May 7, 1942, many of whom were previously pearl divers in Broome, Western Australia.

By the time the camp was closed in 1945 there were 264 internees, most living in Nissen Huts. Their task was to cut firewood for the Renmark Irrigation Trust and later the Berri Irrigation Trust with some sawn wood, sent to Adelaide.

The internees were paid six shillings a tonne for their work cutting wood and loading the boats and barges using large winch-powered slings.



Address:Heading Road, Heading Cliffs Lookout, Murtho, 5340
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.072873
Long: 140.800891
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:07-May-1942
Actual Event End Date:05-May-1945


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 7th May, 1995
Front Inscription

In commemoration of Captain Robert Reed who with his boats P. S. Ulonga, Mallara & Aurora carted wood from this site

7. 5. 1942  -  5. 5. 1945.

Erected 7. 5. 1995


Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au