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New Jandra Captain takes to the Darling River

Jandra Captain Alan Bartsch keeps visitors and locals entertained with stories of the old paddleboat trade on the Darling. Photo TWH

The sight of the PV Jandra paddle boat cruising down the Darling River is a sign that tourism and the river have both been rejuvenated after the long dry spell.

For 18 months, the Jandra was out of action but after some timely renovations, the iconic vessel is back in the water with a new captain at the helm.

Alan Bartsch has been behind the wheel of a boat since the 1970s and has seen more of Australia’s rivers than most, but this is the first time he’s worked the beautiful Darling.

Coincidentally, he was in Bourke 20 years ago when the boat was first built by local orchardist and visionary Russell Mansell.

Alan has come full circle and is now proudly showing off the boat and the river to the growing number of tourists in town.

“Russell Mansell did a great job building the Jandra considering he was an orchardist and farmer at the time,” Alan said.

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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