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Port Phillip Bay, Victoria

Paddle steamers are believed to have operated from the 1840s as settlement expanded and tourist resorts developed in the Port Phillip Bay area.......and a thriving industry survived until into the second world war. The removal of PS Weeroona for military duties for the US Navy brought an end to paddle steamer operations and although the paddler returned to Australia after the war she never resumed her earlier role and languished in Sydney harbour for five years before being scrapped.

Sorrento & Queenscliff Steam Navigation Co

Golden Crown

Built in 1870 by Duthie & Ross, Auckland, New Zealand originally to be with parts shipped from the United Kingdom, but with the transporting ship wrecked during the passage, the ship was actually built of wood. The 200ft long ship originally sailed in New Zealand on the Thames River before being sold for use in Australia in 1874 by the Sorrento & Queenscliff Steam Navigation Co where she sailed from Melbourne to Mornington, Dromana, Sorrento and Queenscliff until withdrawn in 1888 and broken up in 1892.
Length : 210 ft. Engine : Oscillating, 2 x 45.5 in by J&G Thomson of Govan

The Bay Excursion Company

was started by Sorrento-based entrpreneur George Coppin, whose interests included the local theatre, hotels and a tourist tramway. He had also been involved with the Sorrento & Queenscliff Steam Navigation Company. Their paddle Steamer Ozone came under the management of Bay Steamers Ltd in 1917


Built in 1886 by Napier, Shanks & Bell of Yoker, Scotland (yard no 34). 572 grt. 260 ft (79 m) long. Served until 1918. Broken up in 1925, but her hull and wheels were retained then scuttled off Indented Head as a breakwater and remains visible to this day. A memorial to the steamer which features her anchor was established at the Head.
Her delivery voyage to Melbourne lasted from 25th August to 26th November 1886, sailing via Suez.

Photo is from the State Library of Victoria, Greene collection and in the public domain due to age

Huddart, Parker & Co

Huddart, Parker & Co was founded in 1876 and rose to become one of the major companies in Australia based on a network of coastal shipping routes and remaining an independent operator until 1961. They owned two major paddle steamers for local operations in the Melbourne area which operated for Bay Steamers Ltd (a Huddart Parker subsidiary company) from 1912.


Built in 1890 by Napier, Shanks & Bell of Yoker, Scotland (yard no 49). At 300 ft (92 m) long, she was an enormous paddler, outclassing the luxurious Ozone and surviving in service until 1930. In 1932 her stripped shell was scuttled off Barwon Heads


Built in 1910 by A & J Inglis, of Glasgow, Scotland (yard no 290). 1412 GRT. Her length of 310 ft (95 m) made her the largest paddler on the bay

Engine : 3 cylinder compound  39, 56 and 56 in x 66 in  

She served until 1942 then was bought by the US Navy for use as an accommodation ship. She sailed to Sydeney and then onwards via Brisbane and new Guinea under tow. She ended up in the Phillippines sailing as part of the towed convoy of assorted vessels backing up the US invasion. She came back to Australia owned by the Federal Government but with no prospect of use, she was laid up and later sold for scrap. In 1951, her remains were scuttled off Berry's Bay in Sydney harbour.

Photo is from the State Library of Victoria, Greene collection and in the public domain due to age

Other Operators : James Deane


Owned by James Deane from 1868 to 1872


Built 1854 by J Scott & Co of Greenock. 155 ft (later 166 ft)  : 327 GRT. Engines : oscillating by McNab of Greenock.
Originally sailed on coastal runs to Newcastle and later on the Queensland coast before moving to Bay service for James Deane in 1872 and lengthened. Sold to the Melbourne Coal Shipping & Engineering Co in 1885 and scrapped in 1894


Built in 1882 by R Steele & Co at Greenock, Scotland (Yard no 120). 452 grt as built. 551 grt after lengthening from 200 ft in 1883. Length 228 ft, iron hull. Originally owned by James Deane but quickly taken over by the Port Philip Steamship & Hotel Company and lengthened. In 1889 she was blown ashore at Port Melbourne Bay and beached. Ownership placed in the hands of a local bank. It was not until January 1891 that she was refloated, but rather than be fully repaired she was sent for scrap.

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