March 2013 Paddle Boat News

Compiler/Editor = Frank Tucker (

The Grim Reaper came for me last night, and I beat him off with a vacuum cleaner. Talk about Dyson with death.

Answer(s) to February Question

Paddle Boat News

PS Pevensey, Nyah bridge, the lift span was not raised high enough and the tow post struck the raised span, bending the tow post back.

Question for March

Paddle Boat News

Q: Name the stretch of river (Clue - well-known; impassable in low river, PS Gem & PS Oscar W were stuck here for 8 months in 1962/3; look closely and you will see some islands)

Mystery object

Thanks to the half dozen or so PBN readers who sent in their opinions as to what my mystery purchase was. It appears, through concensus, that it is a cistern valve ... that's exciting .... not!, especially as it was purchased, unseen, as a bell.

Name the boat

Paddle Boat News

Clue - stranded at Karadoc. Left up the bank on a low river, the next high river saw her inundated and most of her superstructure washed away. She was "towed" down to Mildura with a rowboat, but sank upstream of the Mildura bridge.

Paddle boat for sale ??

Please advise me if you know of any paddle boats on the Murray that are for sale. I have a couple from Seymour who are very keen to purchase a paddle boat on the Murray.

PS Alexander Arbuthnot turns 90 in 2013

Neil Hutchinson writes - The AA will be 90 years old on May 30 and it might be noted that it is physically older than most boats on the river in that it has probably 50 % of the original hull keelsons bulkheads machinery etc compared to the oldest wooden hulled paddlesteamer that is in fact only 29 years old. AA is not everyones favourite and is a survivor from an era when it probably should not even have been built. she was, supposedly, the last privatley owned cargo steamer to work out of Echuca

Paddle Boat News

May 30th 1923, Alexander Arbuthnot hull is launched sideways at Koondrook

Paddle Boat News

PS Alexander with a full head of steam, passes PS Hero which has an outrigger log barge in tow.

Paddle Boat News

PS Alexander Arbuthnot in her current guise, takes passengers on cruises from Echuca wharf

PS James Maiden well on her way to Goolwa

Had a phone call from crew member of the James Maiden and he says they are having a great trip. Only one breakdown so far and they circumvented the problem and had the original problem fixed and working within a day. He has learned how to steam dim sims using the steam from JM's boiler. They were almost at Lock 2 and hoped to join PS Marion, PB Amphibious and PB Flender Himmel for the crossing of the Lake to Goolwa.

Paddle Boat News

They have made an adaption to the paddle wheel configuration. She had 12 floats on an 8' diameter wheel. They have reduced the number of floats to 8 and are very pleased with the results. It worked so well that it was agreed that another gear was needed. Crewmember Graham had that sorted in a few days and all is going along well.

Mon 18th Feb - Dick Bromhead writes .... Frank, G'day, The "James Maiden" passed Mannum Boat Haven at 1520 cst this day. She was making good time.
Give that panicing man a bucket, he'll beat the bilge pump! Cheers Dick.

PB Temeraire rudder being altered

About a month ago, PB Temeraire was taken from the water in Murray Downs Marina. A temporary dry dock was established in the western end of the marina.
PB Temeraire has always had a problem with responding to the rudder. Captain Toby Henson has taken on the task of altering her steering arrangements. He had added a section to the hull, aft of the old rudder post, a new and much heavier rudder pin and bearings, a new, heavier and longer rudder and next will be a quadrant, pulleys and a roller wheel for the quadrant. The alterations should allow the passing water to reach the rudder, especially when turning the vessel, which in turn should give better steering performance.
A side thruster will also be installed in the fore section.
This is Temeraire's first time out of the water since construction, and remarkably, the hull, with a couple of spots that need attention, looks very good with the original paint still intact.

Paddle Boat News

PB Temeraire in the temporary dry dock at Murray Downs Marina

Paddle Boat News

The new aft section, rudder pin and rudder.

Found this in, Stanley, Tassie

Paddle Boat News

Paddle Boat News

This device was in the wharf area at Stamley in Tasmania. It appears to be a lift slip. Same method of lifting the slip as for lifting our lift spans on the Murray. It doesn't appear to have been used for a while. Perhaps one of our readers might actually know what it is ??

Also found this - at Corinna, Tasmania

Paddle Boat News

Paddle Boat News

A slipway of some kind, and the crossed logs were above the slide, about 20 metres from the edge of the river. I am inclined to thing it may have been for dragging huon pine logs up out of the river onto the log frame where they were docked or cut (as in a pit saw operation). The skipper of the Arcadia 2, at Corinna, believes it was a boat slip.

Some River Identities

Paddle Boat News

Captain Steve Brindal at the wheel of the PS Industry

Paddle Boat News

Robert& Julie Mansell checking out the flood

Paddle Boat News

Graham Marks and his wife, Penny's, cruiser

Paddle Boat News

PS Success hull Reclamation crew - The Riverboat Society

Paddle Boat News

Jeff Leverett & Errol Bradbury at the wheel of PB Bungunyah on the Murrumbidgee River

Paddle Boat News

Jesse Wagner at PB Bungunyah wheel up the Murrumbidgee River

River boats 1875

Ref: Southern Argus 22/7/1875 THE RIVER TRADE
At the present time it is highly necessary that , those in power and the public generally should be thoroughly intimate with the vast extent and importance of the river traffic. Those unacquainted it will be astonished to learn that some FIFTY STEAMERS are constantly employed trading up and down the Rivers, and these not alone, but assisted by SIXTY or SEVENTY barges and other l craft, the whole having a carrying capacity of some ten or eleven thousand tons; and we have often heard that the supply of carrying accommodation is not nearly equal to the demand at times. Another steamer is in course of construction at Milang, and a large barge for sheep carrying is also being built at Port Adelaide; both of which are expected to be finished and ready very soon. Most of these vessels trade regularly between Milang and Goolwa and the River towns, and a great proportion of them are owned by South Australian firms. The first of the following lists is extracted from a recent issue of the Riverine Herald; but in some particulars it is erroneous, as explained in the note. Our own second table completes the list, so far as we have been able to ascertain, of vessels trading on the Murray, and the whole will, we think be found both Interesting and instructive. In the first list the Echuca paper includes the first nineteen steamers under the head of Messrs. W. McCulloch & Co.'s list; the next six as Mr. D.J. Coghill's list; and the remainder under the lists of Messrs. Whitely, Davis & Dorwards, R. Barbour, J.. Laing, F. Payne, and J. MacKintosh:
Steamers Names Barges Names. Tonnage Destination, lady Daly Federation 438 Darling Jane Eliza Wangaratta and Isabel 347 Darling *Jupiter *Venus 200 Darling *Albury 90 Darling *Wentworth *Four barges 560 Darling *Maranoa Darling Davies & Co.'s new steamer.. Only Son & new barge. 335 Darling Pride of Murray Sarah Jane 145 Wentworth Freetrader Advance and Vanguard 282 Murrumbidgee Waradgery Elfie and Waterwich 213 Murrumbidgee Alfred Darling 260 Murrumbidgee Corowa Eclipse 230 Murrumbidgee Pearl Paika 158 Murrumbidgee *Cumberoona Howlong & Livingstone 380 Murrumbidgee Hero 108 Murrumbidgee Victoria Pochahontas 140 Wagga Murrumbidgee Alice 199 Edwards Wahgunyah Tocumwal and new barge. 282 Upper Murray Kelpie 44 Upper Murray *Tyro *Union 170 Hay Burrabogie 80 Hay Corrong Willandra and Pimpampa. 250 Hay Jupiter 200 Darling Kingfisher King Parrot 150 Edwards New steamer 60 Pioneer Moira 131 Murray Wakool 75 Murray Moulamein 80 Murray Pride of Murray Sarah Jane 180 Darling & Murray Only Son 70 Darling & Murray New steamer New barge 330 Darling & Murray Princess Swallow 387 Darling & Murray New barge 200 Darling & Murray Waverley 55 Darling & Murray Bomolas 40 Darling & Murray Red Gum 35 Darling & Murray Echuca 85 Darling & Murray Edwards Rabbie Burns 170 Murray & Edwards Riverina Energetic 150 Hay Julia. 23 Upper Murray Elizabeth Mildura, and Polly 256 Murrumbidgee
*These six steamers with their eight barges belong to South Australian firms, and trade regularly from Goolwa and Milang. The Jupiter appears twice; and the Jane Eliza with her two barges have also been lately purchased by a South Australian firm.
The following is our own South Australian list: Steamers Names Barges Tonnage Owners Menindie Wentworth J & W Napier Unknown 680 G. Johnston & Co Maranoa Barwon MittaMitta
Cumberoona Howlong and Livingstone 250 Whyte, Counsell & Co Blanche Morning Star & Satelite 140
Kennedy Hume & Darling 230 Acraman, Main & Co
Jupiter Venus 220 Reid & King
Tyro Union 229 Shetliffe & Sons Nil Desperandum Bogan I5O W. R. Randell Ariel Goolwa 100 Randell & Anderson Jolly Miller - Murrumbidgee 230 T. Johnston Maid of the Murray Princess Royal JHP 110 A Ross & Co Goolwa 40 Moolgewanke Webster 110 Tonkin & Fuller Albury Miriam 225 Kirkpatrick & Co. Queen Ibis 125 Gunn& Oliver Wilcannia Telegraph 190 James Tinks Menindie (new steamer at Port Adelaide) 90 Reid & Heseltine Excelsior 125 T. Brakenridge Vesta 40 H. Williams Mundoo 40 Dodd Gertrude 15 Swannell & Wallace
Eight sailing vessels in addition are also employed in the Lake and River trade.
The following are owned by Wentworth people Steamer Name Barge Names Tonnage Owner Endeavour 30 Emu 25 Prince Alfred Warrego 95 J Egge
It is expected there will be a great increase in the trade in the coming year, and if the Government are wise they will see that considerably in creased facilities are speedily afforded for the quick dispatch of merchandise, up or down. Often it happens that goods are detained for days after arrival at Pt. Victor before being delivered at Goolwa, and this will never do. Messrs. McCulloch & Co are opening branches of their business in this colony, and already we learn that the Aldinga has a consignment of river stores for them at Port Victor direct, and unless every endeavour it made to economise both time and cost in the transshipment, the enterprising experiment may be fruitless. If a breakwater is to be erected at Port Victor, to enable the largest vessels to lie along side and in safety, the sooner it is in hand the better. When completed, instead of the above list, we question whether one four times the length would include the whole of the boats employed in the river traffic. Since writing the above we learn that this cargo left Melbourne on Wednesday, 14th inst and was on board the river steamer at Goolwa on Saturday the l7th

1881 Wool Season

Ref: The Argus 6/12/1881 ECHUCA. MONDAY EVENING The wool season is fast approaching its close, Over 71,000 bales of river-borne wool have reached Echuca this year, which is up to the average, despite the fact that but little Darling wool has been received. All the Murray and Edwards wool has reached market, and very little more is to come from the Murrumbidgee. All the departing vessels (with the exception of one or two for the Murrumbidgee) have their destination at Darling river ports
That portion of the Echuca wharf allotted to local traders is now being enlarged by an extension of 45ft This addition will meet a pressing want

River News 1883

Ref: SA Register 17/1/1883 RIVER DISTRICT NEWS. The Victoria steamer and barge, after an absence from Echuca of some two years, arrived recently with 1,000 bales of Darling wool. As soon as her cargo was discharged sue loaded general cargo and again sailed for the Darling. Another vessel, the Rodney, with her barge, got stuck in the Darling last season while voyaging to Echuca with wool, and was floated by the recent rise, and came on to this port, where she discharged 600 bales of wool and a quantity of hides, skins, tallow, etc. The Waradgery and barge from the Darling, with 900 bales of wool, are due here tomorrow. It is now about four years since we had any of the Upper Darling wool discharged at Echuca, owing to the River Darling becoming navigable after navigation on the Murray had closed for the year. An extensive trade may be done between this and Darling ports if the Murray remains at its present height viz., 5 ft. 10 in. above summer level at Echuca, for a few weeks longer. The steamer Albury and barge, with 1,900 bales of wool, consigned to Messrs. Permewan, Wright, and Co., was en route to this port a week ago, but the master of the vessel was afraid to navigate the Murray as far up as Echuca, although the river was 8 feet above summer level here, and therefore proceeded down to Goolwa with his cargo. I recollect the late and much-respected Captain Johnston bringing his vessels here heavily laden about two years ago when the river gauge only showed about 5 feet No doubt a few weeks, two or three at the outside, will suffice to close the Murrumbidgee trade, as the river from Hay downwards is falling fast. In my last letter I referred to the sinking of the Blue Bell's barge, consort of the steamer Edwards, near Karabury Station, Murrumbidgee River. The barge was hauled up and repaired, and reloaded with wool and pine timber for this port. Almost immediately after she left the saw mills she unfortunately struck a snag, and again sank near Corrigan's wool-scouring works. The barge has been successfully raised and was towed back to Hay, where she has been loaded with wool, and is now on her way to Echuca. The foundering of another wool-laden barge in the Darling, near Bourke, has been reported here. It appears that the Livingstone, barge, in tow of the steamer South Australian, sank on Wednesday last, loaded with about S00 bales of wool. The barge was lying moored near a point known as Nutty Bend, about fifteen miles from Bourke, when she sprang a leak and foundered. About 400 bales of wool on board belonged to Mr. Robertson, of Jandra Station, the other 400 bales being made up by small consignments from other stations. The loading is submerged to within a few inches of the top, and is supposed to be covered by insurance. Messrs. Robson Brothers' new vessel Rothbury returned to Echuca today from her maiden trip to Gunbower. The vessel averages fourteen miles an hour downstream, and eight miles upstream with a heavily laden barge

Snagging steamer Melbourne

Ref: Southern Argus 9/5/1878 The Victorian snagging boat, Melbourne arrived here on the 19th inst. on her way to recover the wool on board the barge Murrumbidgee, and also to raise the barge which sunk on her passage down, while being towed by the steamer Jolly Miller. The Melbourne is an iron boat built at Echuca in 1865, and although of small size, and having merely a portable engine of 12 horse power, she has done good service, in clearing the Murray from the Wakool junction to Wahgunyah, a distance of 500 miles, She has also been very successful in raising several steamers and barges; the Jane Eliza, Cumberoona, Lady Daly, and others have been raised by her although they have been heavily laden with cargo. On her passage from Echuca the Melbourne passed the Agnes with her towing mast carried away owing to the barge 'Blue Bells which she is towing loaded with railway sleepers, trucks and other heavy material, having run on a, mud bank at one of those sharp turns with which the Murray abounds. The barge was going at full speed when she struck at night. It required all the power of the little engine, only twelve horse, with a six-inch hawser, to move her, and it may be confidently stated that had not timely assistance been promptly rendered she would have stuck there for an indefinite time as the river was falling fast. The Melbourne has lately been employed, with two other snagging boats, in clearing the Goulburn, which Captain Hill reports to be a very fine river, with plenty of water for navigation and high banks. She is now engaged to recover the wool, &c, as we have noticed above under the direction of Mr. T Watson employed by the underwriters to superintend the operation, and has already recovered 43 bales. Wentworth Telegraph

PS Excelsior for sale

Paddle Boat News

Ref: SA Register 24/3/1887

PS Mystery

Limited info and only one photo from afar. Went searching. Not much to be found, except the following description and sketch from 1885, when a canoeist wrote a report to the Australian Town & Country Journal. This section of the report is from Wentworth at the junction of the Murray & Darling Rivers. ..... Among those we noticed a craft that merits a few lines of description, being of unique design, and specially adapted for river traffic when the water is low. She was a heavy flat-bottomed, shovel-ended, stern wheeler of about 42 tons displacement, combining the best qualities of a Thames barge with those of the largo scows so extensively employed on the great American lakes and rivers. Admirably put togethor, she was designed, constructed, and launched by an old " blue-nose " shellback, a natural engineer, who had no other manual assistance in this laborious undertaking than that afforded by his wife. When her internal fittings and gearing are completed, and she makes her trial trip, we have a notion that the Mystery will pretty considerably open the eyes of many of those back block salts who, forming their notions of correct marine architecture from the examples before them, have openly derided her as a useless monstrosity.

Paddle Boat News

George Sayers, sawmiller at Gulpa, acquired this steamer in 1888 and I do have a record of her at the Echuca wharf in 1889, discharging a cargo of chaff she had brought from Dead Horse Point.
She was reportedly converted to a punt in 1899