The old river boat Ruby (built 1907) that used to work the Murray River in Australia. In addition to cargo she would also carry 30 passengers. She was sold to become a house boat in the early 1930’s, and in the late 1960’s was a feature in a local park in Wentworh (NSW) and over time started to deteriorate until she was rescued and restored as a floating museum along the Darling & Murray Rivers. The above link show the Ruby as she is now.
A smaller boat called Success.(built 1877) – her remains are now in Echuca on the Murray River.
To take advantage of the river and to open up the inter-land, the State governments of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria decided to build a network of weirs and locks so as to control the flow of the Murray River. They planned to build twenty five weirs and locks, but only eleven were ever built, because as the petrol engine became more efficient, and the railways grew the river traffic fell and the desire to create an inland trading route faded. The locks and weirs did allow over 1000 kms of river to become navigable, even in the dry periods, which helped to develop inland farming and cattle industry.
If you have the opportunity to read All The Rivers Run by Nancy Cato, which was published as a trilogy – ‘All the River Run’ (1958), ‘Time, Flow Softly’ (1959) and ‘But Still the Stream’ (1962), you’ll feel the flow of the Murray River in Australia. If you don’t have time, because time now flows too fast, check out the TV series, which can be bought on DVD. It was a TV series produced in 1983 and the sequel in 1989. Be careful that you don’t get the later movie of the same name (1990), because it isn’t a patch on the TV series.
Of course when we did our road trip a year or so ago I wanted to see, and cruise on a river boat on the Murray River.
The paddle steamer PS Philadelphia, in the TV series was ‘played’ by PS Pevensey, (built in 1911), based at Echuca, which is a town on the Murray River, in Victoria.
We bought a ticket on the Rothbury – the Master was a fund of stories and history of the river.
Wheelhouse – as we steamed along the children onboard where given the chance to steer.
Wheelhouse from the foredeck.
Other river boats tied to the bank, this one is the Coonawarra.
Avoca – she didn’t look all that healthy.
Approaching the lock – the flag is the flag of the River Murray.
The water has been emptied to allow us to steam down stream – and you can see the difference between the two levels of the river. The watermark along the side is clear.
I took this of the PS Melbourne after our trip to show how far down a boat drops from the entrance point of the lock.
Smaller boats can be hired for a group picnic.
or you can hire one for the family holiday.
I found this funny – two uniformed surf lifesavers who are about 900 km from the sea via the Murray River.
Swim between the flags!
During the rainy season the river can get quite high – the top of the bank has been carved out by the river.
The only sound on the river was the sound of our paddles- it was very relaxing and peaceful.
Our cruise was a four hour cruise and eventually we had to turn back to negotiate the locks again.
The water rushed in to fill the lock as we floated upwards.
As we approached our landing stage a few swan had to move . . . .
The difference between the American paddle steamers and the Australian paddle steamers is that the American paddle boats have their paddle on the stern and the Australian have the paddle on the side of the boat.
American paddle steamers. Picture from the internet.
The American boats operate mainly in large wide rivers (Mississippi) and the Australians in very winding rivers such as the Murray, and the side paddles allows the boat’s captain more manoeuvrability in tight places. He can have one wheel going forward and the other in reverse for greater control.
I had to take a picture of this car as Maureen & I made our way to a restaurant after leaving the paddle steamer. I am not ‘in to’ cars, because for me they get me from A to B and that’s it – but the registration plate caught my eye – it just said – FP . . . . . .make what you will out of the registration . . .