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Australia : Historical

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.

The Bay Excursion Company

was started by Sorrento-based entrpreneur George Coppin, whose interests included the local theatre, hotels and a tourist tramway.


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

Below : Ozone's paddle wheel as seen in 2010 and kindly made available for showing under Creative Commons licence by Skeggsy 

Ozone wheel 2010 Skeggsy.jpg

Hubbart, Parker & Co

Hygeia :

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 Head



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, serving until 1942. She then embarked on a new adventure having been 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 and sold for scrap. In 1951, her remains were scuttled off Berry Bay in New South Wales
Magazine article covering Weeroona's World War II adventure : 


The Port Phillip Steamship and Hotel Company

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 where she sailed from Melbourne to Mornington, Dromana, Sorrento and Queenscliff until withdrawn and broken up in 1892.


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 J Deane but quickly taken over by the Port Phlilip company and lengthened. In 1889 she was blown ashore at Port Melbourne Bay and beached and 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.

A review of the local paddle steamers with pictures of the ships is published on the website of the Mornington Peninsula

Reproduction of postcards of Ozone, Hygeia and Weeroona can be found here ;

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