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AUSTRALIA : Sidewheelers
Australia is by a considerable margin the home of the largest number of side-wheel paddle driven ships in the world. There are estimated to be over 100 and maybe as many as 150 vessels which qualify in some way, whether original, converted to motor power, built new or built incorporating elements of earlier ships. Derelect remains of a number are likely to exist sunken alongside riverbanks. A large number remain in operation in Australia, many originally built in the 19th century and others built more recently incorporating machinery from earlier steamers. PS Cumberoona, for example, was built new in 1987 but as an almost exact replica of a boat built 120 years earlier reflecting the recent trend to build in the old style. Murray Princess, based at Mannum is the largest paddler on the Murray, but a modern vessel, built in the style of a Mississippi sternwheeler and uses diesel engines. These ships are smaller than those in operation in Europe, many having originally been small freight carriers on inland waterways such as the Murray River.

A considerable number of paddlers are in private ownership as leisure craft but also as house boats, often with their machinery having been removed. Boats are often small enough to be built privately and these can be classed as "hobby steamboats".

The majority of Australia's paddle steamers are on the Murray River : http://www.murrayriver.com.au/river-cruises/

PADDLE STEAMERS


This list is not comprehensive by any means and it is not regularly updated, but it highlights most of the larger passenger carrying ships in public service.

The steamer "Adelaide" of 1866 is the oldest of the remaining operational paddlers at Echuca, which has turned its port into a attractive tourist destination. "Emmylou" was built in 1982, but in the style of a turn-of-the-century vessel around machinery dating from 1906 and operates privately out of Echuca. many of the steamers were originally freight carriers but have been convered for tourist use.

There are also a number of small paddle driven vessels built in recent years for private ownership, mostly in the style of 19th century Murray riverboats.


 HISTORICAL BOATS REMAINING STEAM DRIVEN


Oscar W Goolwa M Oliver.jpg

Paddle Steamer Oscar W at Goolwa. Photo by kind courtesy of Malcolm Oliver


Adelaide Echuca 1986. Chris Miles.jpg.jpg

Etona 1986 Chris Miles small,jpg.jpg

PS Adelaide, seen above at Echuca in 1986 by Chris Miles, was built in 1866 and is the oldest operational wooden-hulled paddle steamer operating in the world

PS Etona is another Echuca steamer originally dating from the 19th century which has survived to make the inland port one of the world's great paddle steamer locations.


VESSEL

BUILT

LOCATION

NOTES

WEBSITE

OTHER WEBSITES

Canberra

1912

Echuca

Converted to diesel in 1964 then back to steam in 2003 with a wood-fired boiler and engine dating from 1923.  Operated by Murray River Paddle Steamers 

Click 

 

Adelaide

1866

Echuca

Operated by the Port of Echuca 

 

 

Success1877EchucaUnder restoration for service by the Port of Echuca
Alexander Arbuthnot

1923

Echuca

Operated by Echuca Paddlesteamers 

Click

 

Pevensey

1910

Echuca

Operated by Echuca Paddlesteamers

Click

 

Etona

1898

Echuca

 

 

 

Melbourne

1912

Mildura

Operated by Mildura Paddlesteamers

Click

 

Marion

1897

Mannum

Wood-fired and with overnight accommodation, she is available for cruises as well as being an exhibit at the museum.
Owned by the Mannum Dock Museum of River History

Click

 

Industry 

1910

Renmark

Length : 112 ft (33 m) - Breadth : 34.4 ft (10.4 m)
Machinery : 2-cylinder, non condensing 30HP, by A Roberts of Bendigo with auxiliary steam turbine for electric lighting.  

Built for the South Australian government . Operated a variety of duties including snagging and transport of people and goods. Reboilered in 1933. Withdrawn from service in 1969 and donated to Renmark, where she arrived in 1971for conversion to a museum. Opened to the public in 1975. In 1990 she was slipped for a full survey and she was restored for passenger service, with her certificate being issued in 1995. Aklthough primarily static, she operated short excursions from her base adjacent to the town's visitor information centre 

 

 

Oscar W

1908

Goolwa

Built in Echuca by shipowner Charlie Wallin until sold in 1914 and then sold again in 1942 to owners at Goolwa and in 1943 to the government of South Australia. Retired in 1960, she went to a new private owner and used in the tourist trade at Mildura. . New owners in 1964 starter a restoration programme but this was never completed, so the boat was bought by the South Australia Tourist Commission in 1985 who finished the repairs and sailed her down to Goolwa in 1988 to be part of a heritage centre.    

Click to see engines (courtesy of M Oliver)

Offers short cruises on selected days from Goolwa Wharf. Also available for private charter. Opereated entirely by volunteer crew

Click

 

Enterprise

1878

Canberra (Lake Burley Griffin)

Since 1984, owned by the National Museum of Australia and moved from the Murray River to her lake home at Canberra

Click

 

Gem

1876

Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement

Purchased by the Pioneer Settlement in 1962 . Under reconstruction but available for inspection at The Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement attraction

Click

 

Billy Tea

 

 

 

 

 

Hero

1874

Echuca

 

 

 

Ruby

1907

Wentworth NSW

 

Click

 

Canally

1907

Morgan

28 m long. Converted from a barge in 1912. Raised from riverbed in 1997 for restoration. Moved to Morgan , where she sailed until 1925, in 2011. In early November 2013 she mysteriously sank at her moorings but this is not expected to deter preservation efforts. 

Click

 


MODERN BOATS BUILT WITH NEW STEAM MACHINERY


VESSEL

BUILT

LOCATION

NOTES

WEBSITE

OTHER WEBSITES

Lance Martin

2009

Swan Reach, SA

15-metre long "Aluminium Paddle Steamer" built by Lance and Paul Otto

Click

 

Curlip II

2008

Paynesville, VIC

At 62 ft long she is an approximate reproduction of a 48 ft long tow boat on Snowy River 1890-1919, built of timber by volunteers at Orbost (VIC). Offered 1 1/2 hour late morning and afternoon cruises (Wed to Sun at 11:30 and 2:30) and Saturday evening cruises as well as charter opprortunities on the Snowy River at Marlo. In 2016 it was announced that her hull had been compromised by Teredo worms. She has been moved to Paynesville and is under under new management. An appeal is now in place to assist in a rebuild before it is hioped that she will eenter service on the Gippsland Lakes out of Paynesville. 

Click

 


MODERN BOATS INCORPORATING HISTORICAL MACHINERY BUILT IN TRADITIONAL STYLE


Although modern, Emmylou is now one of the best known paddlers on the Murray River

These photos, taken in 1986, are shown courtesy of Chris Miles


VESSEL

BUILT

LOCATION

NOTES

WEBSITE

OTHER WEBSITES

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perricoota

1999

 

Steam engine dates from 1909. Private boat

 

 

Emmylou

1982

Echuca

Steam engine dates from 1906. Wood fired. Offers a range of 1,2 and 3 night cruises as well as day trips
Operated by Murray River Paddle Steamers

Click

 

Cumberoona

1986

Yarrawonga, VIC

Two steam engines dated 1906 and 1908

Owned until November 2014 by Albury council who have restored and substantially renewed the boat after it grounded in low water in 2006. In January 2014 the council appealed for potential operators to come forward now that the she was back in servicable condition. By October 2014 she was still out of the water at Albury with an open tender due to close later in the month. On Nov 17th it was reported that she had been sold for AUD 30,000 to Messrs Robbie and Fraser Knowles of Yarrawonga. She took to the water in early March 2015 to reach Yarrawonga. Her first season on Lake Mulwala was reported by her owners as successful. 

Click

 

William Randell

1998

Goolwa

62 ft x 14/24 feet Ruston-Hornby steam engines date from 1923
OFFERED FOR SALE

 

 

Cato2001GoolwaReplica of a former PS Cato built in 1835 and fitted with the steam engine of the original vessel.  Ran aground on mudflats alongside Lake Albert on 30/10/16 when attending the celebrations for the relighting of the historic Port Malcolm lighthouse.

Decoy

1986

Perth

Length : 25.9 metres
Passenger Capacity : 230

Incorporates elements of original "Decoy" built in 1878 by Henderson & Co (Renfrew, Scotland) and a twin-cylinder steam engine built in 1905 which was originally used in a sawmill. 

Originally owned by Chas Cox, the ship became well lnown for colliding with Canning Bridge in 2001. She was laid up in 2011 and offered for sale at $AUS 1.2 million

 In January 2015 it was announced that Mr Manus Higgins had purchased  the vessel and was arranging a refurbishment for further service.Now (2015) offers live music cruises on (most) Fridays and Sundays 

Click

 


Sales Specification for Decoy

The Paddle Steamer Decoy is a "Perth Icon" and has been operating for 25 years on the magnificent Swan River and has her own exclusive mooring in prestigious South Perth. Specialising in weddings and corporate functions the vessel is being sold fully operational as a going concern and has liquor and gaming licences.
She is a registered Australian ship No: 852383, which makes this vessel fully morgageable.
The Paddle Steamer Decoy is a genuine steam powered vessel that was built by Australian Ship Building Industries and is built to DNV survey 1A R5 Class D1, although currently operates on a 1E and licensed to carry 230 passengers. The vessel is powered by a 1905 Ransome Sims and Jefferies twin cylinder steam engine totally rebuilt in 1986 with a new oil fired burner and maxitherm boiler. She is the only sea going designed Paddle Steamer in Australia. The upper deck is constructed of solid Jarrah and Iron bark flooring. The vessel is also fitted out extensively with solid brass nautical memorabilia and has a unique 58 brass pipe calliope organ which can operate manually or automatically.
The vessel is being offered for sale due to retirement after 20 years and at a fraction of the replacement cost. (AUSD 1.2 m)


Private House Boats

Tarella : built 1897 : located near Mannum
Federal : built 1902 : located near Goolwa : open as a Bed and Breakfast accommodation
Decoy : built 1878 : located near Mannum (parts of this 1878 Scottish built vessel are incorporated in the new "Decoy" at Perth, see above)


DIESEL PADDLE VESSELS


HISTORICAL STEAM BOATS LATER CONVERTED TO DIESEL POWER


Avoca at Mildura 2 2011 M oliver.jpg

Above : Avoca seen at Mildura in 2011.  Photo by kind courtesy of Malcolm Oliver



Coonawarra Houseboat at Mildura 2011 M Oliver.jpg

Above : Coonawarra, seen above at Mildura in 2011 by Malcolm Oliver


VESSEL

BUILT

CONV.

LOCATION

NOTES

WEBSITE

OTHER WEBSITES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pride of the Murray

1924

1977

Echuca

Originally a barge she lay sunken for many years until raised in 1973, rebuilt and reengined. Operated by Murray River Paddle Steamers

Click 

 

Rothbury

1881

 

Mildura

Operated by Mildura Paddlesteamers

Click

 

Coonawarra

1884

 

Mildura

Rebuilt in 1950 from the remains of the hull of the barge "JL Roberts"

 

 

Avoca

1877

1957

Mildura

Length : 111 ft 3 in, breadth : 21 ft 3 in 

Built at Milang for the transport of cargo, she was moved in 1891 to the St Vincent Gulf and concentrated on carrying wheat. She returned to the Murray and eventually became a tourist showboat before being purchased in 1957 by Eric Doecke and his son Gavin of Murray Bridge  from the Collins family. The boat was converted from steam to diesel. The Doeckes sold Avoca in 1974 and she was moved to Mildura.

Sold at aution on 11/4/12 to local restauranteur Simon Harrington for AUS$ 55k, having been owned by businessman and Mildura Brewery owner Stefano de Pieri. Sank at her moorings at Mildura on 25/4/14 after power cut shut off bilge pumps and she lies half-submerged. Dispute over ownership as sale transaction had not been completed at the time of the sinking. Successfully raised on 7th  August 2014

 

 

Pyap

1896

 

Swan Hill

Steam engine temporarily re-used in modern-build vessel Mundoo. Offers cruises on the Murray from The Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement attraction. 

Click

 

Mayflower

1884

 1998

Mannum

Restored over 2014-16 by volunteers to her 1913 appearance (when it was a fishing boat at Renmark) after purchase by the Mannum Dock Museum. Served many owners at different ports on the Murray in a long and varied history and is now expected to offer passenger trips for the first ime in 40 years following re-introduction at the All Steamed Up Festival at Mannum Dock in November 2016

Owned by the Mannum Dock Museum of River History

 

 

Akuna Amphibious

1875

 

Akuna Station

 

 

 

Iron Dry

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amphibious

 

 

Mannum

 Privately owned by Richard and Carolyn Rol but offered for sale at $AUS 445 k in early 2013 

 

 


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MODERN BOATS WITH DIESEL POWER BUT ORIGINALLY BUILT WITH STEAM ENGINES


Mundoo

1987

Mildura

Intially fitted with steam engine dates from 1892 (ex-Pyap)

Operated by Mildura Paddlesteamers

Click

 

Thomson Princess1982Longreach, QLDA Murray-river styled paddle steamer built as Ginger Belle which first ran in association with a ginger factory on the Maroochy River. Later transported overland to the Thomson river and worked out of Longreach by tour operators Kinnon & Co, initially as Thomson Belle. Originally fitted with a steam engine but now has a Ford-Lees diesel unit. Dining and enternmaint cruises are offered on six evenings per week except in the winter half-year (2013 information only)Click
Cobba2012Thompson's Beach, Cobram Barooga, VIC12 metres x 7.6 metres powered by a 110HP Perkins diesel with independent 15KW geared electic motors on each wheel. Built by Danny Dunn owner of  Cobram Barooga Boat Hire Company to offer short cruises on the Murray RiverClick

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MODERN BOATS BUILT WITH DIESEL or PETROL ENGINES


Koookaburra River Queen 1

Kookaburra River Queen 1.jpg

Above : Kookaburra River Queen 1 on October 10th, 2010 on the Brisbane River alongside CityCat in a photo kindly made available by cybergothiche under Creative Commons Licence.   http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

Built in 1987 by Millkraft Thompson Boatyards, she offers cruises on the Brisbane river at Brisbane (Queensland) alongside the mock-sternwheeler Kookaburra River Queen 2 under Captain Jim Kelly of Brisbane Cruises, who has owned the ships since November 2007.

* Full restaurant and in survey for 378 persons
* 2 restaurant decks; one observation deck, independent bars, buffet stations, toilets & dance floors
* New decks and motors
* Internal lift system for catering
* Construction: Sheathed timber over hardwood ribs and frames.
* Machinery: 2 x Scania 172 kw driving hydraulic pumps & 2 x Dunlight generators at 150 kw ( total of 2 engines)
* Length: 30.5m, Beam 11.02m, Draught 1.8m

Put up for auction which is scheduled to take place on 7th October 2012 to test the market to see whether a reserve price allowing sale of the excursion ship company will be met. if not, it is expected that the business will continue unchanged
http://www.kookaburrariverqueens.com/



Jandra

The only paddler offering regular scheduled trips on the Darling River is a replica of a traditional local design. Operated by Bourkeshire Council (in NSW) she undetakes one hour cruises from Kidman's Camp : http://www.bourke.nsw.gov.au/tourism/pv-jandra . She is based on the design of an 1894 paddle steamer which sailed between Bourke and Wentworth which transported wool bales on a towed barge from various stations along the Darling to the railhead at Bourke.


Murray River Queen  ...... Currently only in static use

Built in 1973 at Narnu Bay on Hindmarsh Island by Keith Veenstra, she had been in service on the Murray until she was withdrawn in 1993 and fell into disrepair and became a static lodge for backpackers in Goolwa and then was laid up near Mannum. In 2004 she was bought business people at Waikerie and returned to service on dinner cruises and also four-night cruises to Loxton. Re-sold in 2012 she became a backpacker's hostel. Since 2016 she has been open as a static restaurant in Waikerie SA 

Website


Murray River Queen 31 10 09 fairv8 B.jpg

Murray River Queen 31 10 09 fairv8 A.jpg

Murray River Queen at Waikerie on 31st Oct 2009. Photos by kind courtesy of Fairv8

Under Creative Commons Licence: Click here


SOME SMALLER (MOSTLY PRIVATE) BOATS - DIESEL or PETROL ENGINES
This list is not comprehensive 


Hawkesbury Paddlewheeler : built 1975 : located at Windsor : http://www.paddlewheeler.com.au/ : As at 4/2013 offered for sale :  Sale Details
Mosquito : built 1995 : located at Mildura
Matilda : built 1997 : located at Mildura 
Kulkyne : built 1998 : located at Mildura
Madame Jade : built 1991
Kingfisher : built 1989 
Captain Proud : built 1977 : located at Murray Bridge
Proud Mary : built 1982 : located at Murray Bridge
Canally : built 1980 
Miralie
Iraak
Bungunyah
Shay
Matthew James
Miralee
Shiralee
Ferguson
Settler
Maggie Mae
Evangeline
Tarney

Temeraire
Noonguu Nuumpii
Impulse
 
Flender Himmel : owned by Shawn Grear
Black Shag :
built 1999
Tamara-Rae
 
Madam Jade
Struggler : built from the remains of the sunken PV Sundowner
Goolwa : built 1982  located at Goolwa
Tania Anne : owned by Colin Williams
Amelia Jane
Bungunyah

Begonia Princess : Lake Wendouree, Ballarat. Bought in 2011 by Anthony Kierce and restored for use after grounding in 2003 and impounding by Ballarat City Council in 2011.

Golden City : Completed 2013. Diesel hydraulic drive. Built to replace original steam vessel dated 1885 destroyed by fire in 2006. Operating on Lake Wendouree, Ballarat, Victoria under control of the oldon City Paddle Steamer Museum Society    http://www.goldencitypaddlesteamer.org.au/index.php

Lost Small Paddle ships

PV Eliza-Ann : destroyed by fire whilst in operation on the Murray at Wellington in March 2017, with injusies to her owners
PV Gemma : lost at Echuca but understood (March 2017) to be under reconstruction


STATICALLY PRESERVED PADDLE STEAMERS : see here


A number of hulks appear to remain alongside rivers

One is PS Tarella, owned by Shawn Grear, who is hoping to restore it


EXTERNAL WEBSITE LINKS


Port of Echuca - home of paddlers Adelaide, Pevensey, Alexander Arbuthnot, plus Emmylou
The Wharf Online : paddlers on the Murray
Murray River Website : Paddle Steamer Page : Links to all the paddlers from this site profiling everything to do with the river. http://www.murrayriver.com.au/paddleboats/
Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement, Victoria
Bay Steamers Maritime Museum : operators of screw steam tug Wattle and restoring steam tug Lyttleton II at Sydney

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