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Author Topic: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)  (Read 37948 times)

Offline Roderick Smith

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PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« on: May 23, 2012, 12:27:09 PM »
PS Melbourne was built as a government work boat, based at Echuca.
In the early 1960s, I watched it come through Swan Hill, heading for Mildura to become a tourist boat.
I have been aboard on many occasions, and once shared a locking when I was cruising through Mildura on Jessie II.
The centenary is being celebrated at the start of September, and the river is rallying.

The first commitment was from PS Marion, which is extending a survey-slipping voyage to Berri through to Mildura, with a week spent on local cruising in various combinations.  This will be its first voyage to Mildura for over 60 years.
See <>
At this stage, Mannum - Mildura is fully booked.
Only twin share cabins are available, with one cabin available Mildura - Renmark and two cabins available Berri - Mannum.
There are some cabins available for the Mildura - Red Cliffs & return 2 nights 2 days cruise.

PS Ruby will be running in tandem from Wentworth, with a mix of overnight and short cruises.  See

PS Oscar W will be voyaging from Goolwa, over 28.8-26.9, with day sectors.

From the gossip mill: For once, there could be an Echuca presence.  PS Emmylou was willing to commit to a 2001 Mildura voyage (which was prevented by low water), but won't commit this time.
The port is hoping to send a vessel (probably PS Adelaide), subject to council approval.  If it goes, a couple of private steamers will go as a fleet.  There could well be two vessels available for day sectors.  That will be my priority, if it eventuates.  I will have my own boat at Mildura for the celebration week, but will not be voyaging.  I haven't the time to skipper, and it will be too cold in my boat in this season.  I have to work on my magazine on a laptop plugged into 230 V on either a commercial boat, or a friend's boat.

The big fleet of paddleboats based in the Mildura area (from Karadoc to Wentworth) will be out in force.  Many have been slipped over winter for maintenance.  One likely miss: PV Impulse has sunk at its Colignan mooring.  This vessel pioneered the wave of modern construction to traditional styles.  With the river dropping, it had been out in the main channel, and sank in 7 m of water.  It is insured, but river salvage is not available instantly.  When the Canally hull sank at its mooring, it was close to the bank, and could be retrieved by pumping air into grape bins roped to the hull.  Impulse had a composite hull: metal above the waterline, planked below.  This was common in Australia, as wood above the waterline would shrink in fierce sun, and during low-water layovers.  It is speculated that the inferior modern caulking, forced by the green lobby, had proved to be a tempting feed for yabbies (an Australian river crustacean).

As I recommend always,  this is the time to venture half way around the world, and be part of the rare action.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

« Last Edit: May 23, 2012, 07:20:51 PM by Roderick Smith »

Offline the bombus

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Re: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2012, 01:45:52 PM »
 :c002 :41 :16

enjoy it while you can
gr from The Bombus
if i haven't done it i'll try it
and maybe it will work

Offline Roderick Smith

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Re: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 02:31:03 PM »
I think of the Swiss and Italian lakes as just around the corner from Belgium, also the fleet at Dresden, and some scattered paddlesteamers into northern Germany, and on to Norway, Sweden and Finland.

When I started flying to Europe, most flights were two stop, and 25 h or more.
Now they are down to one stop, and around 21 h.

I did a quick search: the cheapest operator is China Southern, one stop Amsterdam to Melbourne (23 h); two stops Melbourne - Amsterdam (28 h).
You can fly faster, but for more money.

Here are four more photos of PS Melbourne in different eras.
The one at Swan Hill is probably Mon.30.8.65.  Dropping backwards through bridges was standard practice to maintain steerage through a narrow opening in a fast current.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Offline Barry

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Re: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2012, 10:40:02 PM »
I shall be there for the weekend. I can't do any of the overnight trips but will be going on the Marion, Oscar W and the birthday girl the Melbourne on the Sunday. Yippee!
I shall keep an eye out for you Roderick. for further details on the event. for accommodation and info on Mildura.

Offline Roderick Smith

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Re: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2012, 09:29:43 AM »
Progress news from Mildura: The fleet is expected to have 20 vessels.
Centenarian PS Melbourne.
SA visitors PS Oscar W, PS Marion & PS Industry.
Local boats PS Ruby, PV Rothbury, PV Mundoo.
Most of the boats moored at various places from Wentworth to Colignan, with one steamer being available (PS James Maiden).
Not yet confirmed:
Swan Hill or Echuca boats, and possibly PS Minimus.

Work has been proceeding rapidly on raising PV Impulse, but I don't know if it is fully out of the water yet, and if the damage can be repaired in time.  Two flotation barges were in use: the boat was raised, worked sideways, then lowered again; then the barges were repositioned.  That would be tricky in the current.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Offline Roderick Smith

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Re: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2012, 02:32:50 PM »
As soon as I had posted by best informed guesses, a progress report has arrived from the coordinator.
SA is coming in style: not just the big preserved steamers (in survey for carrying passengers), but private diesel paddle boats.  AFAIK, all of those have made the voyage before.
PS Oscar W      Goolwa   
PS Marion      Mannum   
PV Amphibious   Mannum
PV Flender Himmel   Mannum
PV Tamara Rae   Moorook
PS Industry      Renmark
PS Ruby      Wentworth
PS James Maiden   Wentworth
PV Florence Annie   Wentworth
PV Settler      Mildura
PV Coonawarra   Mildura
PV Iraak      Nangiloc
PV Evangeline   Karadoc
SWPV Risbey   Mildura
Ferguson      Mildura
PS Minimus   Geelong (trailed in)
SWPV Chalka   Colignan
PV Shiralee   Mildura
PS Melbourne   Mildura
PV Rothbury   Mildura
PV Mundoo   Mildura
SL Breezy      Echuca (trailed in)

Likely starters include five more from the local area and two from Swan Hill.
Other possible starters include four medium-large vessels from Echuca: PS Adelaide & PS Hero with commercial survey, plus two private paddleboats; and a further six locally-based paddleboats.

As ever, I say 'Come now, even from half way around the world'.  This time nothing can go wrong.  The water from SA can't go too low or too high.  The bridges from Echuca will be available.  The only remaining hazards are fallen trees over a short reach between Echuca and Swan Hill, and the water height through Bitch & Pups (Swan Hill - Robinvale).  By the dates for this voyage, the influence of the spring snow melt should be showing, either directly or indirectly.

The local program is pretty well locked in now:
Fri.7.9 Lock 9 to Wentworth. The upstream SA fleet plus local boats going down to welcome them.    Dinner at Wentworth
Sat.8.9. Wentworth - Mildura.  As for Friday, with more local boats. Dinner at Old Mildura Homestead
Sun.9.9 All day at Mildura for the PS Melbourne Centenary Celebrations (lots of short cruises by lots of boats.  Barbecue meal, probably at Mildura Rowing Club(adjacent to the main floating moorings)
Mon.10 & Tues.11.9: Public & school visits to commercial boats
Wed.12.9: Fleet voyage Mildura - Red Cliffs & back to Psyche Bend for the overnight.  Lunch at Trentham winery; dinner aboard.
Thurs.13: Fleet voyage Psyche Bend - Mildura.  Lunch at Gol Gol Hotel.
Sat.15.9: Mildura to Coomealla/Dareton (ie above Abbotsford bridge, ready for an early-morning opening).
Sun.16.9: Coomealla/Dareton - Wentworth.
Mon.17.9: Wentworth - Lock 9.

The Marion and Oscar W dates are on the websites (posted before).  Anyone who plays booking dates correctly has the chance to voyage by steam the whole way from Echuca to Wellington (or vv), using a range of vessels: 1536 km by paddlesteamer in 2012.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 09:19:49 AM by Roderick Smith »

Offline Roderick Smith

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Re: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2012, 05:09:20 PM »
From Michael: 'It's finally official, PS Adelaide will be going to Mildura'.

This will be not just a great gesture, it will be the seed nucleus for private boats to voyage in convoy.
Sell your biggest model, rush to your travel agent with the proceeds, and book for an Australian adventure now.

Here is the planned program for PS Adelaide:
Sat.25.8  Echuca Wharf 9.00  1712 km;   82km; Torrumbarry Weir 16.00,  Load wood
Sun.26 Torrumbarry Lock 10.00    1630;  86km;  Barham Mill 17.00
Mon.27  Barham  9.00 1544;  19km ;  Koondrook/ Barham  11.00
Tues.28 Barham bridge 7.00 1524;  114km ;  10.30 Murrabit bridge;  Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement 17.30
Wed.29, Swan Hill, wooding.
Thurs.30 Swan Hill Bridge 7.00 1410;   90 km;  9.00 Beveridge Island punt;   9.30 Speewa punt;  Nyah bridge 14.30; Murphy’s Cutting; downstream of Tooleybuc bridge 17.30
Fri.31 Tooleybuc 8.00 1320; 92 km; Bitch and Pups; Wakool River junction; Murrumbidgee junction; Boundary Bend 17.00
Sat.1.9 Boundary Bend 8.00 1228; 104 km; Meilman Station; Robinvale Caravan Park 17.00     
Sun.2 Robinvale Pump out & wooding
Mon.3 Robinvale 8.00 1124;  124 km; Lock 15  8.30; Retail Cutting;  Tapaulin Cutting/ Island, 17.30
Tues.4 Depart 7.00 1000; 112 km; Mansells block, Colignan, Nangiloc, Psyche Bend; Mildura 17.30 (moor alongside PV Mundoo).
Wed.5 Depart 9.30 888;   56 km; Lock 11 10.00; Abbotsford bridge 14.00; Wentworth (832 km) 15.30

12 km/h downstream: fast for a steamer.  Upstream in 2003, the fleet average was 8 km/h.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

« Last Edit: July 30, 2012, 09:38:12 AM by Roderick Smith »

Offline Roderick Smith

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Re: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2012, 12:59:09 PM »
Excitement is building fast.
I enclose the program for the official day.
My own moves are vague, as (at this stage), PS Adelaide is not taking day sectors.
I plan to have Jessie II in the water, at Mildura, in time to head downriver to follow the downriver fleet into Mildura, then be present on the Sunday, then linger for the local week.
PS Adelaide confirmed too late to be on the official program.  I enclose as well three photos of its participation in a previous great fleet: 2003, the 150th anniversary of the Randell & Cadell voyages, as the Echuca fleet meets the fleet from Mildura & Swan Hill; many of those boats had come the whole way from Goolwa.  That is the mood and style which will be happening in Mildura 4 weeks.
Some/all of my photos may have been posted before: there are lots of photos of the paddlesteamer on Paddleducks, but even an advanced search brings only a message list, and not the photos attached to the messages.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Offline Roderick Smith

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Re: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2012, 01:52:46 PM »
Have some updates.
Adelaide is coming from Echuca, but missed the Mildura publicity, and seems not to be offering day sectors.  I am still awaiting final advice.  I have posted its cruising schedule already for the downriver.  Upriver, it leaves Mildura with the Wed.12.9 fleet to Red Cliffs, and keeps on going: back home for 1.10, ready for the annual heritage festival a week later.  Paddleducker Michael, newly qualified as a marine engineer, has been rostered as engineer for the full downriver voyage.  The other Echuca boats have chickened out (Hero, Britannia and Tooraloora).  The only surety which I know is PV Iron Dry, joining at Swan Hill.  There is the possibility that the downriver sector will be padded by a day, to arrive in Mildura on Thurs.6.9.
The upriver fleet publicity has now arrived.  Not everyone can open docx files, although they are way more compact than doc ones.  I enclose the text here, and the pdf program for PS Industry.  PV Amphibious is also part of the fleet.  PV Tamara Rae was listed in an early fleet list; I don't know about other private vessels from SA.
I am still juggling my moves, and whether I will launch my own boat at all (and have 7 days of responsibility), or simply loaf on other boats.  One shock was the demand for a $30 registration fee.  I am still seeing what benefits I gain from that.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

The iconic Paddle Steamer Industry is cruising to Mildura in September and will be leaving in grand style with heritage paddle steamers Marion from Mannum,  Oscar W from Goolwa and invites other private paddle and river boats to join them.
It will be the first time in 20 years the Industry has visited Mildura and will be offering day cruises along the way.
This magnificent flotilla will depart Renmark on the 4th September at 8.30 a.m. to make its way to join Paddle Steamer Melbourne for its 100th birthday celebrations  at the Mildura waterfront on Sunday 9th September 2012.
“We are thrilled to be going back to Mildura and will join the PS Ruby in Wentworth along with many other riverboats and heritage vessels for the grand flotilla cruise on the celebration day”, said PS Industry Chairman Dave Nattrass.
“The flotilla departing from Renmark will be a spectacle not to be missed by river or by air as we have very limited opportunities to bring all these vessels together”.
“River conditions are perfect and the PV Amphibious will be joining us as will many other vessels along the way to celebrate the P S Melbourne’s birthday party.”
Day cruises on the PS Industry will be offered as follows:
Tuesday 4th September – Renmark to Wilkadene Brewery
Friday 7th September – Lock 9 (near Lake Cullulleraine) to Wentworth
Saturday 8th September – Wentworth to Mildura
Saturday 15th September – Mildura to Coomealla with lunch at the Coomealla club for lunch
[Sun.16.9 - Coomealla - Wentworth]
Monday 17th September – Wentworth to Lock 9
Day cruises will be $60.00 per person which includes a light lunch, Devonshire morning and afternoon teas and transfers included if required.
In addition all vessels will be offering short cruises on the day of the PS Melbounre 100th Birth day celebrations at the Mildura riverfront  on Sunday 9th September for only $15.00 per person or you can secure a special heritage tickets which includes one short cruise on the vessel of your choice and the grand flotilla cruise to conclude the day for $25.00.
“It will be the first time the PS Marion has been back to Mildura in 50 years and we believe it will be the largest congregation of heritage and river vessels Mildura has seen for many years”, said PS Marion Chairman Rob Bowring.
“We are hoping many more vessels will join us as we make our way to Mildura and register their vessel to be on display at the picturesque Mildura Waterfront on the 9th September”.
PS Industry will also be travelling in flotilla formation with the PS Ruby, Marion, Oscar W to Red Cliffs on Wednesday 12th September where lunch will be offered at the magnificent Gol Gol Hotel on the banks of the Murray and will cruise back to Mildura from Psyche Bend on the return trip on the 13th September offering another day cruise in this magnificent part of the Murray River.
On the return trip, a short cruise has been incorporated from Coomealla to Wentworth on Sunday 16th September for $25.00
which will take the Industry under the Abbotsford bridge and Devonshire tea is included.
Don’t miss your opportunity to cruise the Murray on board the historic PS Industry and enjoy the Murray River at its best.
For further information and booking a PS Industry cruise from Renmark to Wilkadene contact the Renmark Visitor Information Centre on 1300 661 704 and for all other cruises contact the Mildura Visitor Information Centre on 1800 039 043 or visit or the Wentworth Visitor Information Centre on 03 5027 5080 or visit for more information.
For further media information contact Sandra Daniel from PS Industry on 042 9995005 or email

Mildura’s iconic Paddle Steamer, the PS Melbourne is turning 100.  What better way to celebrate than a party on the Murray River with some very special guests.
The largest congregation of heritage Paddle Steamers and riverboats ever seen are attending the PS Melbourne Centenary River Festival from across the nation! Iconic Paddle Steamers from South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria will cruise to Mildura on Sunday 9th September to celebrate the PS Melbourne’s centenary and to reignite their long association with this grand old lady of the Murray.
The PS Melbourne was launched in 1912 and  began its working career as a work boat on the Murray River in 1913 and later as a passenger vessel in 1965 under the watchful and passionate eye of the late Captain Alby Pointon. The Pointon family continue to operate the vessel today with the Melbourne being the only Paddle Steamer remaining that cruises daily and is driven by her original steam engine.
“The Melbourne is a major draw card for the Sunraysia area when it comes to Tourism, as well as one of the iconic symbols that all locals recognise.” says Lyn McKenzie, the Manager of the PS Melbourne.
“Locals and visitors alike recognise the sound of the Melbourne’s steam whistle, with some locals knowing what time it is dependent on the duration of the whistle. It is just magical.”
Mildura mayor John Arnold said the Paddle Steamer Melbourne’s Centenary River Festival was an exciting addition to the region’s busy annual calendar of events.
“This is a particularly significant occasion as celebrates the centenary of a vessel that has an important place in both local history and in present day tourism operations,” he said.
“I encourage locals and visitors alike to make the most of this rare occasion to see so many heritage vessels in the one place at the one time and to join in the festivities and celebrations.”
The PS Melbourne Centenary River Festival will feature vessels from across the country moored at the picturesque Mildura waterfront where visitors can take themselves back to the romantic days of steam travel on the Murray River.  Forty Five minute cruises will be offered on the day by the birthday girl PS Melbourne, the PS Ruby from Wentworth and her South Australian friends the PS Marion from Mannum, PS Oscar W from Goolwa and the PS Industry from Renmark, just to name a few. 
“We are expecting heritage vessels trailered by road or by water to take part in this event and we invite boats to register with us to be a part of this auspicious occasion for both Mildura and the PS Melbourne”, said Event Co-ordinator Ashton McKenzie.
“We have twenty boats registered to date and hope to have many more.  It will be the largest congregation of vessels seen in Mildura for a very long time”.
 “Our volunteers are very excited to be taking the Paddlesteamer Marion back to Mildura as it will be the first time in 50 years.  We are looking forward to   celebrating this milestone event with the PS Melbourne and the reunion of many paddlesteamers”, said Chairman of the Mannum Dock Museum Board, Rob Bowring.
“To have so many heritage steam vessels in one place will bring widespread interest from across the Nation and the flotilla of boats will be a magnificent spectacle to see on the river led by the PS Melbourne”.
The magnificent flotilla will arrive at the Mildura wharf at 11.00am followed by the official birthday ceremony at 12 noon and cruises will commence at 12.30pm.   Visitors can purchase a special heritage ticket where you can enjoy two cruises for only $25.00 including the ‘Flotilla Cruise’ featuring all of the vessels in formation at the end of the day.   The Sunraysia Farmers Market will offer breakfast and bar facilities will be available at the Mildura Rowing Club along with their fabulous riverside BBQ. Steam machinery and vintage vehicles will be on display and the melodic sounds of the Mildura District Brass Band will entertain you throughout the day.
The flotilla of paddle steamers from South Australia will be welcomed in to the Port of Wentworth, where the Murray and Darling Rivers meet on Friday 7 September for a special night which is sure to ‘steam up’ the town.  PS Ruby, the flagship of the Port of Wentworth will lead the flotilla as they cruise out through the River’s Junction and upstream to Mildura on Saturday 8 September to join the PS Melbourne. “It will be the first time in over 80 years that PS Ruby and her sister ship PS Marion will cruise together and the flotilla enroute to Mildura will be a once in a life time sight to see” says Bill Brook Chairman PS Ruby.
Come along and greet the many steamers as they arrive in Mildura led by the well-known sound of the Melbourne’s steam whistle at 11.00am and sing Happy Birthday to Mildura’s iconic Paddle Steamer Melbourne at the official ceremony at 12 noon at the picturesque Mildura riverfront.
Entry is free and cruises are now on sale for $15.00 at the Mildura Visitor Information Centre on 1800 039 043 or and the Wentworth Visitor Information Centre on (03) 5027 5080 or visit .
Don’t miss this unique event showcasing river steam and the romance of paddlewheels on the Murray and over 500 years of River History!!!!!   For more information contact the Mildura Visitor Information Centre on (03) 5018 8380 or visit
Find us on facebook!
Event:    PS Melbourne Centenary River Festival
Date:      Sunday 9th September 2012
Where:   Mildura wharf and Mildura Rowing Club
Time:       Commences at 8.00 a.m.and concludes at 4.30 p.m.
Cost:       Entry is free
        Cruise costs $15.00 Adults Heritage Ticket $25.00 (two cruises including flotilla       cruise)
   $10.00 Children under 16 (Heritage Ticket - $15.00)
   Children under 4 free
Cruise Tickets:    On sale now at the Wentworth Visitor Information Centre phone (03) 5027 5080 or visit or the Mildura Visitor Information Centre on 1800 039 043 or visit
Heritage/Wooden Boat Registration: Cost: $30.00
Contact Ashton McKenzie, Event Co-ordinator on 0439 511 744 or
For further media information contact Lyn McKenzie at the PS Melbourne on (03) 50 23 2200 or Deb Alexander of the PS Melbourne Centenary River Festival Committee on 0414 857738.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2012, 02:03:57 PM by Roderick Smith »

Offline Roderick Smith

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Re: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2012, 06:01:30 PM »
It's all happening.  As I post on Fri.24.8 afternoon, PS Adelaide is ready to leave Echuca in the morning.  At this stage, the only guaranteed fleet vessel will be private PV Iron Dry, joining at Swan Hill.
For the arrival into Swan Hill, locally based commercial PV Pyap will voyage further upstream than usual, and escort Adelaide from the overnight stop at Pental Island into Swan Hill.  Some of the local boats may run as escort from Colignan or Karadoc, but a lot of those will have gone downstream already to join the SA boats at lock 9.
I have decided to maximise freedom and flexibility by not taking my own, which isn't paddle and isn't anywhere near 100 years old.  Some Wooden Boat Association members will be trailing their vintage wooden launches to the event.

Paddlesteamer Adelaide departs Port of Echuca Wharf
At 9am this Saturday (25 August) PS Adelaide will set off on her biggest journey in over 50 years.
Adelaide, the oldest wooden hulled paddlesteamer in the world, will depart from the Port of Echuca
Wharf for the first leg of her 886km trip down the mighty Murray River. Destination is Mildura and
Wentworth to help celebrate fellow paddlesteamer the PS Melbourne’s 100th birthday.
Port of Echuca are inviting the local community to come and farewell PS Adelaide as she departs.
The wharf will be open from 8.30am for those who wish to wave her goodbye.
Port of Echuca manager Mark Blunden said, ‘We have arranged for Rev Eric Smith to conduct a
Blessing of Safe Travel and the Echuca Federal Band will also play as the PS Adelaide and the crew
It is estimated that the trip from Echuca to Mildura will take 12 days, including two rest days, however
this is nearly doubled when bringing her back upstream. To make the trip the PS Adelaide will have
to go through three locks, over two wire punt crossings and four bridges will have to be lifted. It is
also estimated that Adelaide will require approx 3 tonnes of firewood per day.
Mr Blunden said ‘Adelaide is being crewed by volunteers and without the support and
sponsorship of local businesses this journey would not be possible. We would like to thank Telstra,
Hip Pocket, Add Print, Mitre 10, Dulux and Hunter Wharf & Barge for their support, especially at such
short notice.
Telstra has come onboard and will equip Adelaide with the most up to date
telecommunications to ensure the vessel is contactable at all times and so the crew can keep the
community up to date on the adventure through the Port of Echuca’s Facebook and a dedicated Blog.
For links to these sites please visit
On Sunday 26 August the PS Adelaide will be steamed up by 7.30am, ready to go through
Torrumbarry Lock at 8am. Locals are encouraged to drive out to the Torrumbarry Weir Day Visitor
Area to watch as the vessel moves through the lock chamber.
Day 1- Saturday 25 August Echuca Wharf at 9am to Torrumbarry Weir (82km)
Day 2- Sunday 26 August Torrumbarry Lock to Barham Mill Bend (86km)
Day 3- Monday 27 August Barham Mill Bend to Barham-Koondrook (19km)
Day 4- Tuesday 28 August Barham-Koondrook to Swan Hill Pental Island (114km)
Day 5- Wednesday 29 August Rest day in Swan Hill- PB Iron Dry joins Flotilla
Day 6- Thursday 30 August Swan Hill to Tooleybuc (90km)
Day 7 Friday 31 August Tooleybuc to Boundary Bend (92km) [past Bitch & Pups rapids, Wakool Jn & Murrumbidgee Jn].
Day 8 Saturday 1 September Boundary Bend to Robinvale (104km)
Day 9- Sunday 2 September Wood loading and rest day.
Day 10- Monday 3 September Robinvale to Tapaulin Cutting/Island (124km)
Day 11- Tuesday 4 September Tapaulin Cutting/Island to Mildura (112km)
Day 12- Wednesday 5 September Mildura to Wentworth (56km)
Please Note: Itinerary is subject to varying river heights and may change at any time without notice.
When in Mildura, the PS Melbourne’s Centenary River Festival will be held on Sunday 9 September
and is a celebration of the iconic Paddle Steamer Melbourne's 100th Birthday. This milestone event
will be held at the Mildura Wharf where the Melbourne will be joined by over 20 vessels, including
heritage steamers from South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, not seen together for over 50
If you would like further information on the PS Adelaide’s expedition, please contact the Port of
Echuca on 03 5482 4248.
For further information contact:
Belinda Owen
Phone: (03) 5482 4248 0439 067 886
52 Murray Esplanade
Echuca, Vic, 3564
T: (03) 5482 4248
F: (03) 5482 6951
W: Page 2 of 2

For PS Oscar W to be leaving Murray Bridge on Wed.29.8, it must be leaving Goolwa on Tues.28.8.
It will catch up with PS Marion, which leaves Mannum on Tues.28.8.

Paddleducker Michael is the engineer for the whole Echuca - Mildura run.  Telstra has fitted the boat with a satellite phone, but I don't know about satellite internet.  Any phone messages which come through I will be able to relay.

Saturday update: a photo.
Echuca: PS Adelaide is ready for a 9.00 ceremonial departure, and is carrying a birthday greeting from Port of Echuca to PS Melbourne.  6.58, Sat.25.8.12.  (Michael Snell)

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
« Last Edit: August 25, 2012, 09:25:56 AM by Roderick Smith »

Offline Roderick Smith

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Re: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2012, 04:19:55 PM »
Day 1 with  PS Adelaide.
The text came from the port at 9.35, relayed via Michael at 15.37, while still on the water.
I allow 7 h for the 80 km Echuca - Torrumbarry downstream; 8 h upstream.
There should be no need for wooding up before the overnight stop.

PS Adelaide is off and cruising, but itinerary has already changed!
It was a foggy start to the day, however many Echuca-Moama locals ventured out to the Port of Echuca Wharf to bid farewell to the grand lady of the river.
While the crew were preparing for departure and visitors were arriving, the Echuca Federal Band played high on the redgum structure.  Uniting Church Minister Eric Smith conducted a Blessing of Safe Travel and Shire of Campaspe Kevin Simpson wished everyone farewell. Those who braved the early morning were treated to a ride on PS Pevensey as she cruised with PS Adelaide for the first 20 minutes.
As Adelaide departed town paddlesteamers such as the PS Canberra and PS Emmylou, who were steaming up for their daily cruises, blew their whistles and waved support.
 Adelaide will stay overnight at Torrumbarry (Saturday night), ready to go through the Torrumbarry Weir at 8.00 Sunday 26 August.
 As expected the scheduled itinerary has already changed.  Adelaide is now scheduled to go under the Barham-Koondrook Bridge Monday 27 August at approx 13.00.

My moves are either to be at Barham for the bridge, then overnight, giving me Murrabit bridge on Tuesday too.
Or, I will be in position at Swan Hill Tuesday ready for the Pyap cruise to escort Adelaide into town.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Offline Roderick Smith

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Re: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2012, 06:45:36 PM »
This won't be quite online realtime information, as you might expect with urban public transport, but it won't be too far out for all practical purposes.

PS Adelaide left Echuca at 9.15, spent about 15 min at Deep Creek pumpout, and reached Torrumbarry at 17.15: 8 h for 80 km.  This was easy going, in pool the whole way, and remarkably snag free (a legacy of being the reach for the major annual Southern 80 waterski race, which does the section upriver in just 1 h).  The wooding was done promptly, and the accompanying photo from Michael was taken at 17.45.  When I phoned him at 18.30, he had finished the evening engineering (clearing the fire and the ashpan).  A wood fire isn't banked overnight.  Michael will be up at 5.00 to light a fresh fire for the new day.

The water below the weir is well up: while the boat will use the lock, it won't have to be dropped.  Aha: this is a modern weir now.  I guess that there is no navpass.

Belinda, from Port of Echuca, is a passenger: she is updating a Facebook page.  I have yet to find it.

Those who have never been to Australia could well have trouble envisaging the geography, or even the magnitude of the achievement in today's river environment.  I have scanned the title-page map from Maureen Wright 'River Murray charts'.  This is carried by all boaties, and is available at multiple outlets along the river.  I don't know how you would obtain one mailorder overseas, but it is a good book for armchair voyagers to obtain.  The section scanned shows what Adelaide is doing coming downriver to Mildura, and what the SA boats are doing, coming upriver from as far as Goolwa.

In earlier times, I have had Jessie II tied up at that jetty, and have boarded PS Canberra there for a journey through the lock and back, and then the journey to Echuca.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
« Last Edit: August 25, 2012, 06:49:56 PM by Roderick Smith »


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Re: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2012, 01:12:33 PM »
G'day from PS Adelaide

Offline Roderick Smith

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Re: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2012, 01:36:34 PM »
Michael's greeting came as I was preparing the progressive news of the day, Sun.26.8.

Enclosed: A photo at 7.43, with the shire president alongside to greet & farewell.
A photo at 8.18: through the lock, but with no drop.  I have never seen Torumbarry like this.
Sure enough: there is no navigation pass, but the water is at the same height on each side of the weir gates.
This weir replaced an earlier one, of Dethridge style, which had been on the left of this view.  Water was coming under the weir foundations.  This weir is vital for irrigation, so the money was found to replace it, while keeping the lock in the the same place.
That lock (26) is at 1629 km.  I have a further message at 12.08 that Adelaide is at 1588 km: 41 km in just under 4 h, so the average is 10 km/h rather than 12 km/h.

I may not yet be joining the chase until Swan Hill, where there is a rest day.  I'll make up my mind at midnight tonight: it is an 8.00 start on Monday if I want to watch the bridge passage at Koondrook/Barham.

Normally, the problem at Torrumbarry is that water downstream is navigable, but there is insufficient depth for a big vessel to get over the lower concrete apron at the lock.
Enclosed: two hitherto-unposted photos of PS Canberra approaching the lock on a special excursion when the water was sufficiently high.  It was deployed there for two weekends, making local cruises.  I was on the final cruise of the miniseason, and stayed aboard for the afternoon into evening return to Echuca: magic, cruising under floodlamps.
The third shows Jessie II on my first attempt to go through.  The gear cable broke as I entered the lock; I had to abort the voyage.  While the lockmaster went to collect his tinnie to rescue me, the wind blew me gently to the Victorian shore, steered by the row of safety buoys.
I don't have a photo of my successful passage (Dec.11), as I was too busy steering and preparing ropes and fenders.  I guess that I could get over the sill in any water, but would have to hoist the motor and walk the boat in on low water.

A later update: Michael phoned at 18.14, as Adelaide had just tied up at Barham (above the bridge).  There was a large crowd waiting to greet the vessel, so the crew were about to offer them an onboard inspection.  105 km from Torumbarry in 10 h: 10.5 km/h average.  Monday morning is wooding for a 13.00 or 13.30 raising of the bridge.  The first plan was to spend the night just below the bridge.  The boat may push on and camp out, and reach the Murrabit bridge opening early.  My own plan now is to leave home on Tuesday afternoon, have dinner at Kerang (covering another of the hotels there for my pub hobby groups), and spend the night at Pental Island caravan park, meeting the crew.  On Wednesday morning, I will drive into Swan Hill in time to be aboard the PV Pyap cruise: Swan Hill Pioneer Village at 9.30 to go upstream to meet/greet/escort.  This will be a public cruise.
That evening there is a dinner at a restaurant adjacent to village, also a public event.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
« Last Edit: August 26, 2012, 06:27:49 PM by Roderick Smith »

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Re: PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2012, 08:10:32 AM »
Here is the start of the vaguely real-time progress, commencing at Barham on Mon.27.8.12 morning.
This is my favourite time on the river: waking as the sun rises, mist will be rising from the water, fish jumping, and cormorants swooping.  Usually completely peaceful, although often a fishing tinnie has powered past, heading to a favourite nook and a fallen redgum.  In the heart of Barham, it will have been less peaceful.  That bridge carries a lot of semitrailer traffic of irrigation produce in containers, heading to Melbourne markets or export docks.
The river is up even more than when I came through in Jessie II: I could get under either the main span or a side span.  On this water, even I would need a small lift of the bridge.
A set of photos is at <>, taken on the day of the bridge-centenary celebrations, on much lower water.

In this telephoto view, the superstructure at the left may be local boat PS Barham, but it wasn't at that mooring on my last two visits.  Adelaide is moored near the boat ramp, but the ramp will be well under water.  However, its access road may be the means by which wood will arrive in trucks.  At some point, the local volunteers who have cut and delivered wood will be given a short cruise as a gesture of thanks.  The bridge opening is set for around 13.00.  Although opening is free, it must be prebooked, and only certain times of day are approved.  With schools and shops on each side of the water, morning and afternoon sessions must be clear of peak traffic.  Usually the council sends a team of five: one for each restraining clamp, and one to operate the hydraulic lifting mechanism (the pump comes in on the council truck).  It is quite swift.  Adelaide has a tow pole above the wheelhouse, and will require a full lift today.

In the early 1950s, PV Coonawarra was built for the Echuca - Swan Hill tourist run, but was relocated after only a couple of seasons: the water was too unreliable.  It would have required the bridge to be raised for every passage.  It did make a sentimental return around 1990, and the owner said 'never again, we did too much damage to the superstructure, hitting overhanging limbs'.

Port of Echuca is maintaining a Facebook site of the voyage.

Enclosed also: some of the photos from the bridge raising for the 2003 Randell Cadell 150th anniversary fleet, not posted hitherto.  Citizens gathered, and local schools were assembled to witness the rare event of the raising, and the nature of the fleet passing through.  This reach is not allowed for commercial houseboats, and private ones would come through only rarely.
The views show PS William Randell (one of the vessels which had voyaged from Goolwa, SA), PV Tamara Rae (from Wemen, Victoria then; it is now based in SA), and the crowds of onlookers while workers bring the span down again.
I have added two of Jessie II at Barham in Dec.11, when the water was lower.  I had no trouble going under the main span.
The wharf where I tied up is close to where Adelaide is moored in the top photo in this post, but must be well under water.  It was damaged, and out of use.  All the filling had been washed away, and the metal protruded badly.  I had to be very careful to have the fenders set, to avoid being bashed onto the metal whenever a speedboat passed.  Adelaide could well be moored above it, but perhaps upstream of the remains, for easy wooding access.

~13.40 update.   There was a trial lifting of the bridge around 10.30 or 11.30, then it was lowered again.  It was raised from around 13.10.  Two houseboats, which had been waiting for this known opportunity, went through.  Steam launch St Elmo, which is based in the nearby major town Kerang, was in the water, and circled upstream.  If it did go through, it had to return promptly; even it would need the bridge raised, and it had to get back to its trailer.  The owner had it launched for the bridge centenary, and has attended various rallies (most recently the Echuca Queen's Birthday pageant).  In traditional river style, Adelaide backed under the bridge to give steerage, and the ability to power back upstream if anything was going wrong.  As well, a tinnie was attached to the bow to keep it inline.  The result was a hitch-free passage, watched by crowds from both banks.  There was 2 m clearance above the tow pole.  As planned, Adelaide has tied up just below the bridge, giving the crew town facilities again for the night.  There will be an early start on Tuesday, for a 9.30 bridge lifting at Murrabit (where the hydraulic works, no cranes needed).

16.00 update.  36 km to Murrabit bridge would need a 6.00 start for a 9.30 bridge opening, which would need a ~4.00 boiler lighting.  Adelaide has left Barham, and is covering some of the distance this afternoon.  There is no civilisation along the way, so it will be a campout night.

Evening update. Adelaide came downstream for about 2.5 h to a bush camp.  Michael has described the section as 'narrow and snaggy', which is what I found in Dec.11.  I have added the final photo of the day, with the setting sun highlighting the boat beautifully against our Australian river landscape.  I hope that those from other lands can gain the same sense of serenity which we enjoy when on the river.
The new day will commence at 7.00, and I am now on target for a rendezvous on Tuesday evening.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 10:12:41 PM by Roderick Smith »


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