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PS Melbourne centenary (Mildura, Australia)

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Roderick Smith:
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

Roderick Smith:
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

Roderick Smith:
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

Roderick Smith:
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.

Roderick Smith:
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


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