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Argo Barge

Attractions Renmark


08 8586 6175


The Argo Barge is a static display at the Olivewood Historic Home & Museum, having moved there in May 2020. Previously, it was moored on the Renmark Riverfront after leading an industrious working life on the River Murray.


The Argo was renowned as the largest barge to operate on the River Murray having been built at Mannum in 1915 by the Engineering & Water Supply Department to be used as a permanent floating pumping station, with its Robinson pump, steam engine and wood fire boiler. The Argo was used mainly to pump water into or out of the main channel and was later employed in the construction of the locks, weirs and barrages along the river in South Australia throughout the 1920’s.

The Argo, towed by the Paddle Steamer Industry became a common site along the Murray, performing many and varied tasks. Following the 1956 floods, the Argo was crucial in dewatering many low-lying areas right along the river. In the latter years, the Argo was used for irrigation pumping at Mypolonga before being taken to Mannum where it was stripped and later sold to Swan Hill in 1987.

In 1993 the Argo was purchased by the Renmark Council. Basic restorations were performed whilst she lay on dry land, awaiting the advent of a rising river so that it could be refloated for the return journey to Renmark.

The barge lay sitting at a mooring in Renmark until the Argo Restoration Volunteer Group, ‘Dad’s Army’, was formed in April 1998. The initial restoration process saw ninety percent of the hull replaced, taking over three years to complete with the barge again refloated in August 2001. Since this time, many man hours have seen a replica pump house and quarters shed being erected on board and continuous restoration to the hull and deck areas.

Sadly, the Argo Barge sank at its riverfront moorings in September 2019, possibly due to storm activity. The vessel was refloated in February 2020 and was relocated to Olivewood Historic Homestead & Museum as a land-based display.

Map & Directions

205 Twentyfirst Street, Renmark SA 5341, Australia