Paddler Information => Preserved Paddle Ships => Topic started by: ljhall on January 09, 2008, 01:50:17 AM

Title: Current Echuca News !
Post by: ljhall on January 09, 2008, 01:50:17 AM

Have been watching the Echuca Moama Webcam when I get a chance, - usually only for a few minutes at a time.
Noticed a lot more activity on the river lately with the school holidays, and heat wave etc.

Michael, - not a bad photo of the sparks flying out of the Pevensey's Funnel, it looks like she's not fitted with a spark arrestor.

Any reason why the Adelaide hasn't been out on a trip in a while ? - she must have been idle for the best part of 2 months now - hope everything is OK !
I did notice just the other day the her starboard side paddle box is being stripped back for re-painting, I think her last major paint job was over Spring/Summer of 02, however her hull was cleaned and re-painted sometime in early 04.

I also noticed that the Tooraloora has been moved a few times within the Onion Patch, and that the lower deck superstructure frames are up.

Nothing much happenning with the Etona and the Hero at the moment, I'm starting to wonder when the Etona will be on the river again under her own steam, do you know how much work is left to be done ?
I thought the the Hero might be finally operating commercially by now, but I'm now thinking that the good old local government red tape has prevented that due to the slightly primitive mooring site (Log Slip Landing). - is this about right, because I'm certain that all of the plumbing and electrical fittings are complete, and that she is technically finished, ah well, at least MRPS will be happy for a bit longer.

Sorry about all the questions but I just like to know what's happenning.

Title: Echuca - Albury cruises [Australia]
Post by: Roderick Smith on January 09, 2008, 08:24:08 AM
Spirit of the Coorong / Spirit of the Murray Echuca – Albury – Echuca cruises.
Phone: 08 8555 2203
Toll Free: 1 800 442 203
Email: bookings @
Facsimile: 08 8555 5101
29.1-2.2 Echuca – Albury was fully booked and removed from the website; now has cancellations.
3-7.2 Albury – Echuca was fully booked and removed from the website; now has cancellations.
11-15.2 Echuca – Albury is fully booked.
17-20 Albury – Echuca is cancelled.  The boat will be placed on the truck at Albury for its return to Goolwa.

The downstream terminus is Cadell Motel, so the cruise passes the whole Echuca fleet (private & commercial), those boats now moored at Barmah, anything in the water at Picnic Point, PV Julie Fay at Barooga, a fake SWPV at Yarrawonga and PS Cumberoona at Albury.  There are also some commercial nonpaddlers along the way.  If arriving by car, you could visit the engineering yard where PV 'Cameron of Lochiel' is being fitted out, and also Perricoota (PV Wanganui; access to PV Florence Annie may not be possible).  Announce your intention, and Michael may be able to steer you to Australien.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Current Echuca News !
Post by: michael on January 09, 2008, 09:34:14 PM
I haven't been able to get down the wharf for a few weeks as I've been flat out with work and then my own jobs after hours. I can tell you the latest goss I know tho.....
1. PS Hero: Not much has happened to her Gary was hoping to get some more work done to her once all Christmas and New Years is over, so shouldn't be too far away.
2. PS Adelaide: Not sure about the painting- all the boats need a good coat. PS Pev and A.A have been rostered for Jan cruisesI haven't got Feb's roster yet but she's in operation mode with water in the boiler, she was used mid dec for a private charter for a couple of hours.
3. Tooraloora: Port management has changed the past month orr so and wrapped her up in red tape not allowing Adam Auditori to continue work, after a few meetings she has been given the green light and he's back working on her I think she's tied up in front of Billy Tea.
4.Etona: the owner is busy playing around on the other new owners boats ie. Ranger and James Maiden. She was supposed to get a whole new front deck and cabins last year but then he changed to a different builder so I don't know when that will happen and he still has to order new tubes and have them fitted. Apparently there was some welding done inside the barrel and according to some people its pretty shitty and they don't wont to be on her when she blows up!!
5. Other news: the silt in front of wet dock is due to be removed this month with a excuvator building a dirt wall across the entrance so it can reach up to in front of the pev and dig its way back.
The wharf is undergoing a major rebuild late Jan+ including replacing pilons upto 2/3 of the wharf will be worked on so i think port boats will be loading passengers at the northern end of the wharf (adelaides mooring).
Title: Current Echuca News !
Post by: ljhall on January 10, 2008, 01:07:20 AM
Thanks Michael,

I actually thought the Hero was finished, and just laying idle due to red tape, there must be only electrical/plumbing work to be completed, because she's been out on a few trips under her own steam.

Yeah, I know what you mean about the wharf, I noticed that there's been some bracing installed and that at least one pylon is almost snapped in half, or it appears to be anyway !
Probably the most obvious thing I noticed in 06 was the loose planking, - probably borderline between rustic and just plain unsafe !

As far as the Port's change of management is concerned, - is this limited to the director's or has it extended to Manager & CEO level
Is Frank Ryan still the Manager ?
Interesting to hear that this prevented Adam Auditori from working on the Tooraloora, does this have anything to do with the heavy workload at the Port ?

As far as the Etona is concerned, - has Bob Symmons actually replaced the original 1898 boiler with an exchange boiler that needs re-tubing, or is he re-tubing the original one with the rounded furnace ?
I was told that this one was completely rooted and shouldn't be fired at all, and I wouldn't have thought that a re-tube would bring it back to survey standard either.

Thanks again for the up-date !

Title: Current Echuca News !
Post by: michael on January 10, 2008, 08:29:57 PM
Got down the port today to get up to scratch with the goss.
Tooraloora they red taped her because they didn't think it was appropriate to have her constructed there, but it ended up being that it is shipwright work so it will be able to continue.
Frank Ryan has left and a lady by the name Kelly works there noe and also in the council offices, Mesh and Annitta also do a far bit in  organising.
Adelaide is getting a new coat of paint, starboard paddlebox today, and the wheel house has been sanded back and the steps getting painted too.
Shes to steam on Australia towing D:26 barge.
Yes Etona still has her original boiler and engines still in her!!
Title: Current Echuca News !
Post by: thewharfonline on January 10, 2008, 09:36:05 PM
According to the latest port newsletter there should be some interesting things going down at the port-

Something to do with all boats having a mooring at the wharf- private boats with moorings at or opposite the wharf (this is by memory)

There's supposed to always be some boat or barge under restoration, with special shipwrights areas

The steam display is also supposed to be increased

and more interactive displays

Oh and more rail to river or steam trains or something like that as well.

The split pylon's been there for awhile hasn't it?

It's funny when they replace boards on the wharf- they're all red compared to the grey older pylons
Title: Trains to Echuca
Post by: Roderick Smith on January 11, 2008, 12:46:01 AM
The railway-enthusiast operators would love to run more trains to Echuca (a tourist focus, and the right time and distance from Melbourne).
Seymour Railway Heritage Centre can't get approval to run over the Toolamba - Echuca line.  It is fit for the state's heaviest diesels, but not regarded as fit for a passenger train.
Steamrail is nobbled by the so-called fast-rail to Bendigo.  Its trains are restricted to 80 km/h by an arbitrary ruling, and so can't get a satisfactory path which provides sufficient time in Echuca for patrons to enjoy the attractions there.
For Sat.16.2, Steamrail has hired a VLine diesel to haul its train (fitted with in-cab safeworking), so it has a 115 km/h path to Bendigo and sufficient time at Echuca for passengers to enjoy the jazz festival.
For Mon.24.3, SRHC has caved in, and will run its Echuca train via Melbourne and Bendigo.

The Echuca line was in the earliest group of main lines in Victoria:
Geelong 1857
Ballarat ~1862
Bendigo ~1862
Echuca 1864
It is important historically and architecturally.

Update on 19.2: The Sat.16.2 tour was cancelled; insufficient bookings a week in advance.  The Mon.24.3 tour has also been abandoned, and has dropped off SRHC's website.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Current Echuca News !
Post by: thewharfonline on January 11, 2008, 10:44:31 PM
I think the newsletter mentioned something about running a train out from the wharf around the information centre and then back.

Doesn't seem like a very long trip to me!
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on February 06, 2008, 09:17:22 PM
Yes, Kevin Bailley posted me the 'first draft' (i think it was) of the extensive Port of Echuca 'remodelling' and it shows the wharf being extended to allow the 3 port boats and the 3 other steamers a berth at the wharf along with a 'visiters' berth. And utilising the train track around the place to have a train running from the info center to the wharf, and possibly from Bendigo. I am still in the process of downloading the second draft.
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: ljhall on February 10, 2008, 12:39:38 PM

Well, this news comes as a bit of a surprise, as there's really only room for the 3 Port Authority Boats at the Wharf, as to how you could fit in 3 more is beyond me !
And if it is possible, I hope these 3 would be the 'Etona', 'Ranger' and 'Hero', instead of the Newbies.

Do you happen to know if the Port Re-modelling info. is on the Shire of Campaspe Website ?


Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: thewharfonline on February 10, 2008, 01:02:50 PM
I think the idea is to extend the wharf- maybe closer to original length to include thew new boats.

There is also room for a tie up, during the flood all the boats were tied at the Wharf. There are photos I'm pretty sure on here.

I was assuming it would be for Canberra, Pride and Emmy- but in honesty I hadn't thought of Hero, I keep forgetting that she's active now.

Etona could be considered a bit of an eye saw if nothing happens in the way of restoring her- the Port may instigate a policy that says she can have a berth there if she is completed, Ranger I'm not sure about.

But the historic vessels should take a preference yes.

But aside from the boats- just imagine the length!  :D


Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: ljhall on February 10, 2008, 01:13:22 PM

OK, maybe I missed the bit about extending the Wharf, - that would sure look impressive eh !

Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: paddlesteamerman1 on February 10, 2008, 03:14:22 PM
yes the idea is to extend the wharf and have a berth for the Pev, Ade, AA, Emmy, Canb., Hero while the PoftheM is 'reportedly' going to be 'shunted' down the lower end of the wharf and only come up for cruises, i think the smaller boats are still going to be there.
yes it is all on the website, though i have been sent drafts in hard copy and they are really interesting.
Title: Echuca - Albury cruises [Australia]
Post by: Roderick Smith on February 16, 2008, 08:42:48 AM
I followed the final voyage of the season by road.
The water had dropped 10 cm in the 2 weeks since I had followed from Tocumwal to Yarrawonga by boat.
I picked up on the arrival at Yarrawonga at 17.05 on Wed.13.2.  The captain told me that it had been much harder finding depth, and was hitting more snags.
I watched the roading around the weir: quite efficient retrieval and launching.
Thurs.14.2: I was still heading out to the departure site when it left at 7.45.
I got more photos at Bundalong, then advanced to Kellys Rd.
Meanwhile, to reduce the draft of the boat in a tricky section, passengers were offloaded at Brimin Rd, and taken by bus to a couple of wineries, then reboarded at Moodemere.  The previous cruises had had sufficient water for passengers to stay aboard.  As it passed me at Kelly Rd, the sound was of continuous scraping on the bottom for 500 m.
I next saw the boat at the historic Foorde Bridge at Wahgunya/Corowa.  It reached Howlong at 17.30.  Passengers were taken by bus back to a Corowa motel.
Fri.15.2: The bus arrived at Howlong at 7.10, but departure was around 7.45.  I photographed the boat under the new road bridge, then spent the day photographing other hobbies.  There is no river access from the NSW shore until the last few km into Albury.  I was at a vantage point, and got shots at 16.35, then of the arrival at 17.05.  After chatting with passengers and crew, I returned home.

Spirit II has now voyaged 3/4 of the river: Mildura - Echuca is yet to take place.
At Goolwa it has cruised down to the Murray mouth, and beyond into the Coorong.
It has crossed Lake Alexandrina (not allowed to take passengers on that sector).
The original Murray cruise: Wellingto - Renmark - Border Cliffs.
The second program: Renmark - Border Cliffs - Mildura (plus 60 km of Darling River).
Now Echuca - Albury.

Enclosed: the best photo for Paddleducks.  Proof of achievement.  The first paddlesteamer reached Albury in 1855.  Here MV Spirit II has rounded the final bend, and is arriving adjacent to the local PS Cumberoona, and only metres away from the historic Hovell tree, which was marked by the explorer in 1824 on a journey of exploration from Yass (NSW) to Westernport (Victoria).  Fri.15.2.08.  (Roderick Smith)

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Title: Governor General on PS Pevensey
Post by: Roderick Smith on December 28, 2008, 08:07:24 PM
The full story, with a good photo, is at

River runs rich in history
24/10/2008 Bendigo Advertiser
Governor General Quentin Bryce took in the sights of the historic port of Echuca yesterday while on a tour of the Murray-Darling basin.
The first female to hold the post, it is her first official tour since she was installed in September.
Ms Bryce took a cruise on PS Pevensey, and met with school children before heading to Deniliquin.
“This environment is starkly beautiful. I know it’s drought time, but what a glorious and inspiring landscape we Australians share,’’ she said.
“I have learnt so much; of course every place I’ve been to is quite different.
“I’ve never been (to Echuca) before . . . it is doing extremely well in tourism and you can see why people are coming here in their thousands.’’ Beginning in Bourke, the second leg of her tour has included visits to Albury and Shepparton.
“I’ve appreciated the extraordinary generosity of people in all of these communities, welcoming us into their lives and talking to us about how they’re responding to the drought.
“The great Murray River is such a significant river system in Australia.
“Each place is unique, but what all the towns in the Murray-Darling basin have in common is the extraordinary challenge of water in the very severe drought.’’

Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: michael on June 20, 2011, 08:15:51 PM
The Cargo shed was shifted to the 'new' section of the echuac wharf so the original section can be pulled apart and rebuilding can comence, the front section hasn't been built due to increasing river levels flooding the coffer dams!!!
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: michael on August 29, 2011, 12:10:45 PM
Most of the private paddlers went out for a cruise yesterday. great day. PS Perricoota, Britannia, Tooraloora, Ivy May, Ranger, Billy Tea, Struggler
Title: Article in a major daily
Post by: Roderick Smith on January 18, 2012, 07:49:38 AM
Wed.18.1.12 Melbourne Age (one of two major daily newspapers for the city) had an article on Port of Echuca, and on shipwright/captain/engineer Kevin Hutchinson.

The other boat from Mildura was Canberra, not Adelaide.
The Age isn't quite comparing like with like with the Echuca vs Mildura fleets.  I get nine which moor in town, a few more at Baldwins, and then all the Karadoc and Wentworth ones.
There are two photos in the online version.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Up the creek with its paddle and then along came Kev The paddle steamer Pevensey operates from Echuca thanks to weekend captain Kevin Hutchinson.
In retrospect, Mildura would probably admit it was a bad move.
In the early 1970s the paddle steamer Pevensey was tied up in the Murray River city, its engines still working, but its redgum hull patched with cement and wire. It was unwanted and close to going the way of most of the hundreds of boats that used to ply Australia's longest waterway.
Kevin Hutchinson, then a young Mildura carpenter, remembers examining the hull and thinking there were more cement patches than there was wood. It didn't stop him from signing up as a deckhand for a 2000-kilometre, 16-day trip that saved the old boat from likely sunken oblivion, to restoration, tourist admiration and eventually movie stardom upstream at Echuca.
The Mildura luminaries of the time were unaware of what they were letting go but the burghers of Echuca were quite aware of what they were getting. The age of the paddle steamer as a transport medium might have ended decades earlier, but as a tourism medium its age was only just beginning.
Now there are about 15 paddle boats at Echuca - six of them operating as tour boats - and only three tour boats at Mildura, but admittedly the Mildura boats are bigger.
This detail doesn't stop Echuca claiming to be Australia's paddle steamer capital, a boast that was aided by another prize ripped from its western rival - Mr Hutchinson, shipwright, weekend Pevensey captain and the town's celebrated old man of the river. He is still in Echuca, aged 70.
He has been involved in rebuilding five of the paddle wheelers, some of them from little more than rotting hulks.
That was just part of it. In 1983 the television industry came calling when it made the successful mini-series All the Rivers Run, starring Sigrid Thornton, John Waters and the Pevensey.
Driving a paddle steamer is a fairly specialised skill, one not left to actors. Mr Hutchinson was at that stage the boat's engineer. During the filming, while an actor was playing the role of driving the engine, he was just out of shot making sure the thing ran.
He said he ended up in Echuca after his initial trip. ''The shire council advertised for a shipwright to repair the Pevensey, which was built across the river at Moama in 1911. I applied and got it. I was quite surprised.''
The boat was intended to be the centrepiece of the council's plan to draw tourists, using the town's river heritage as a theme.
Since he got the job, he has not only restored the Pevensey, but he has done the same with Adelaide, also sourced from Mildura, Alexander Arbuthnot, built in 1923, and two other privately owned craft.
If there is a river queen the title probably goes to Pevensey but the queen mother would be Adelaide. Smaller than Pevensey, it was built in 1866. It is not only the oldest working wooden-hulled paddle steamer in the world but, Mr Hutchinson claims, the fastest on the Murray.
A paddle steamer ride is a serene experience, especially compared with the screaming speedboats and jet skis with which it shares the river. The engine sits in the middle of the boat, the engineer stoking the fire box with long planks of redgum. The pistons move so slowly they could be practising tai chi and the smell from the chimney is fragrant wood smoke. Most of the engine is exposed and can be watched in action.
Mr Hutchinson says about 20 people in Echuca are qualified as paddle steam skippers or engineers, but there is a growing number of private owners. His most recent restoration was Hero - once a hulk, now a luxurious pleasure craft for a wealthy local manufacturer. Another, Britannia, was built from scratch as a pleasure craft in 2000.
Several smaller paddle steamers are owned by enthusiasts.
Apart from his restoration achievements Mr Hutchinson makes one other boast. ''When I'm skipper on the weekends, I tell them I was the stunt double in the love scenes with Sigrid Thornton.'' The Age chose not to verify this claim.

Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: PeeWee on January 18, 2012, 06:03:22 PM
a very nice read
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: James.McD on January 04, 2013, 05:23:16 PM
Well, for a little bit of current Echuca news!

Was a hot (41 degree) day out on the Murray, but that didn't stop PS Canberra, PS Emmylou, Pride of the Murray and PS Pevensey from operating today - all boats were reasonably full for their trips despite the heat.

Dredging has commenced in-between the wharf and the wet dock/onion patch area and should resume after the Xmas/NYE holidays and hopefully make the area accessible by boats once again!

I believe PV Billy Tea is meant to be going up on the slip way soon, but once again that may be delayed due to the expected temperature of 45C tomorrow :)

Plans are well underway for the celebration of PS Canberra's 100th Birthday this August, will fill you all in on more details when I know for sure what we are doing

Title: Easter sailpast
Post by: Roderick Smith on February 16, 2013, 07:17:39 AM
Echuca runs a few per year: an evening sailpast, then fireworks.
Hitherto, they have been restricted to paddleboats, which raft off each other at the wharf to view the fireworks.
This year, the sailpast is open to all boats, particularly wooden and steam launches.  I have an invitation, and will be there with Jessie II.  It will be on the Sunday of Easter.
Sun.31.3.13, starting at 19.30 from the town boat ramp (near the caravan park, downstream of the wharf and commercial moorings).

Paddleduckers can simply join the crowd on the wharf, or find a mutual friend for a ride.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Easter 2013 fireworks sailpast
Post by: Roderick Smith on March 25, 2013, 07:52:10 PM
It is a March Easter this year.
I expect that Echuca will be full of tourists, and many will be on the commercial boats, or lining the wharf, for the Sun.31.3 dusk sailpast.  Boats then raft of the historic wharf, and everyone watches the fireworks display in the onion patch.
I have just received my sailing orders, for a 19.30 departure from town boat ramp (downstream of the wharf), adjacent to the caravan park.
Order of Boats
1.   PS Canberra- Celebrating 100 Years
2.   PS Alexander Arbuthnot- Celebrating 90 years
3.   PS Pevensey
4.   PS Emmylou
5.   PV Pride of the Murray
6.   MV Mary Ann
7.   PS Ranger
8.   PV Tooraloora
9.   PV Amelia Jane
10.   PV Billy T
11.   PV Struggler
12.   MV Jessie II
13.   SL St Elmo
If you can be in Echuca, I will make space for a guest.  If you can't be in Echuca, the Port's webcam should give you something to view.
The boats are assembling at the ramp way in advance, for a group dinner.  The first six are commercial, and Mary Ann is a floating restaurant.
Michael is an engineer on one of the steamers.  I am informed via the grapevine that James is a master 4; he could well be skippering something.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: thewharfonline on March 25, 2013, 10:16:02 PM
Family was just up at Echuca, spreading my grandfather's ashes, sad I couldn't be there, but they all had a lovely time.

A question did arrise as to what the large water bladders are embedded between the onion patch and wet dock?

Something to do with dredging?
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Roderick Smith on March 26, 2013, 11:27:45 AM
I have an answer from Michael.  They are collection bags for the dredged silt.  The water drains out through the material (hessian?), then the silt can be trucked away later.

Michael will be skippering his own PV Struggler on Sunday.  PS Adelaide (on which he would have been engineer) is still waiting for new firebars to arrive, and is unavailable for the parade.  I will be tucked in behind.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: James.McD on April 01, 2013, 12:39:35 PM
Hi There!
Roderick your grapevine is correct, currently hold a Master 4, and as you saw was skippering PS Canberra for the sailpast last night! After a day of avoiding canoeists in style :)
All in all, the event last night was enjoyed by all, and we had a great turnout of commercial craft, private craft and spectators, on boats and shore alike!
Next time you're up and around Echuca we should catch up, I'm usually on PS Canberra or PS Emmylou (and on the off chance I'll be on Pride of the Murray).

It'd be nice to see all the dredging finished and the equipment finally packed up - it can leave that, rather busy, area of the river fairly crowded at times!!

Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Roderick Smith on April 04, 2013, 11:43:28 AM
I launched at the town ramp, downstream of the wharf & houseboat area, and chatted with the canoe-hire man.  I decided not to try the Campaspe.
I headed upstream to the assembling private boats, for lunch, and to attach my upper Murray flag, and some led butterfly decorations.  I had overtaken one kayaker at close range to fit between moored and moving boats.  Later he came by, and swerved to avoid a downstream paddlesteamer, ignoring an upstream one behind him.  PS Canberra halted very promptly, and reversed the paddles while the kayaker changed his mind about swerving left or right (or lacked the ability).  Then the smaller boats did head to the Campaspe, but ran out of time to go as far as the water would have allowed.  Some local teenagers in a tinnie passed us, and later claimed to have got past all the pubs and reached McDonalds.  We returned to the Campaspe junction, and the big PV Tooraloora had poked into it.  We rafted up for dinner, then advanced at around 18.30 to the assembly point for the parade.  Bit by bit the commercial vessels arrived.  At 19.30 we were mobile, and passing large crowds on the banks and the wharves.  Michael had supplied flares to let off.  The commercials rafted at the wharf; the privates rafted near Hero, and we had an excellent view of the fireworks.  Thereafter: party time.

Have the first six today, as the excitement is building.  Campaspe capers tomorrow.
The gathering of the boats: Henry Charles was occupied, but I don't think that it came out.  Hero didn't come out.  Tucked behind was a cute 7 m Lake Eildon houseboat (which is trailable): not a box on pontoons, but a box as a monohull, with the lower deck in the hull.  That makes it more stable.
Easter and term one school holidays coincide this year.  Echuca is always busy for both, with lots of family-fun activity.
Setting out to the Campaspe, we passed Emmylou, and Barmah (which didn't enter the sailpast).

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: 2013 Easter fireworks parade
Post by: Roderick Smith on April 05, 2013, 07:20:07 AM
Heading up the Campaspe was slow, and we ran out of time to tiptoe around more snags.  Jessie II can fit through narrow gaps, but Struggler would have struggled.
Back at the junction, PV Tooraloora had arrived, and poked a couple of lengths into the Campaspe.  We rafted off, and soon PS Ranger joined to make five boats for dinner (barbecues running on Ranger's foredeck; serving and eating on the capacious Tooraloora).

I'll cover the parade tomorrow.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria

Title: Easter fireworks parade
Post by: Roderick Smith on April 06, 2013, 11:27:36 AM
Here are the three of the illuminated boats, then the other paddleboats which I passed as I headed to Tocumwal.  Julie Fay had checked Barmah choke by tinnie, and found one or three places where the gap between snags was too narrow for it to get through.

I hope that the glorious Australian sun and red-gum scenery are helping Sean feel that he is still at home.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: clarkrulz on April 10, 2013, 02:50:25 PM
Hey everyone. I'm in echuca at the moment and I am wondering what is happening with PS Etona. It seems it's leaning to one side and it looks like it's falling apart. It's such a shame to see a beautiful paddlesteamer like that in such a sad state.
Title: Re: Etona
Post by: Roderick Smith on April 11, 2013, 11:20:49 AM
This will have to fall to Michael or James to answer.
My memory is that it was on the slip in 2012, so the hull is ok.
The necessary boiler tubes were inserted.
The owner has retired from his business: that may mean less money, but more time.
He was aboard the fireworks boats, but we didn't talk about Etona over dinner.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: michael on April 11, 2013, 03:19:45 PM
Last time I saw her on the slip was 2005, she had her rear deck rebuilt, larger so he could carry more party goers. The engines were removed and reconditioned, including reboring, whilst the boiler had a new tube plate welder in the firebox.
The owner was going to have the boat going for last years Heritage festival, he had the tubes ready to go in, but the holes in the new tube plate were too small, and a new drive chaine made, from overseas, but it was a couple of links too short. So she didn't make it. He know has all the parts to get the engine/boiler going. Think he needs some extra hands and a little enthusiasm. But that's just the mechanics. The cabins need rebuilding aswell as the decks. Everyone says its only the cross on the wheelhouse roof that's keeping it afloat!
Title: Maiden's punt
Post by: Roderick Smith on April 17, 2013, 08:25:45 AM
I was in Echuca briefly on Monday for work on Jessie II, and went exploring.
Enclosed are four photos taken at the site of Maiden's punt.
Inexplicably, I didn't photograph the interpretive panel for the punt.
The hotel panel gives some dates.
IIRC, the punt dated from 1846; the inn came in 1848.
About three stock routes from the north converged here for the crossing: one via Deniliquin; one via Pericoota.
Cattle were heading to markets in Melbourne, plus Bendigo after the gold rush started.

Maiden was eclipsed by rival Hopwood, whose punt not far downstream created the future Echuca.  That punt linked to a fixed bridge over Campaspe River, and gave way to a pontoon bridge.  The railway came to Echuca in 1964, and a major iron rail & road bridge crossed the river in 1879, replacing a temporary wooden bridge with a bascule span.  Maiden had had to sell out, and died penniless.

When Randell came upriver in 1853, his turning point was Maiden's punt.  When I was aboard the 150th anniversary fleet, we rounded up there.  Today that site is the end point of the Long Paddock heritage trail from Wilcannia, and the adjacent old telegraph station is preserved.  I was on PS Adelaide for the loading of wool bales which had been brought from Wilcannia to mark the establishment of the trail, with interpretive panels at key locations along the way.

While I was there, PV Pride of the Murray came through.  Victorian school holidays had ended (but NSW's were still in progress).  PS Canberra was up on the slip, so I guess that this cruise was covering a Canberra roster.  It does seem that the public prefers steam, and I suspect that photos of the Echuca paddlesteamers are more prolific.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Current Echuca News
Post by: Roderick Smith on May 01, 2013, 09:04:00 AM
A silt bag has burst (Tues.30.5.13), and the gush of water has damaged the hull of barge B22 at the wet dock.
See: <>

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: clarkrulz on May 19, 2013, 09:42:17 PM
I have been watching the web camera on the port nearly every day and I have noticed a few things. It seems the owner of the Henry Charles has been onboard a whole lot more than usual lately, hopefully they get it out and about a bit more. has the ranger moved? I can't seem to spot it. Also, the river seems a bit lower than usual is this normal?
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: michael on May 20, 2013, 07:39:51 AM
Henry Charles has a couple of "bums" living onboard, I don't know how they get away with it. Ranger has moved up in front of Hero so pilon work can be carried out for the new walkway. River dropped over a foot last week, even with the dredging boats still can't use the southern half of the wharf due to the silt, only the one landing at the north end so the other boat, Pev or AA has to moor somewhere else.
Struggler is stuck in a big puddle of water, foot deep, till the river rises and it can get over the silt!
Adelaide won't be going again till least 2nd half of the year till new firebars arrive and boiler is put back together.
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: clarkrulz on May 20, 2013, 02:11:32 PM
Bums? Really? That's a bit concerning. How have they not been kicked off? Shame about the struggler being stuck!
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Roderick Smith on May 20, 2013, 07:00:38 PM
Steamrail is offering a weekend rail steam tour over Queens Birthday long weekend, using mainliner R761 with an S-class diesel as backup.
Fri.7.6: overnight to Swan Hill.
Sat.8.6: Pyap cruise, and other local attractions.  Overnight to Echuca.
Sun.9.6: Adelaide cruise, and the annual steam-rally.  I wonder which boat Steamrail will use?
Mon.10.6: Back to Melbourne.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: michael on May 27, 2013, 08:30:13 AM
The Pevensey will be normal cruises over the long weekend, no special charter boat. There was talk of another sailpast, but I think it's too late to organise it.
I will be working on Pevensey Sunday and Monday with Anth
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: James.McD on May 28, 2013, 02:26:44 PM
I have a feeling the Canberra and Emmylou both have a charter the weekend of the steam rally, could be either of those! I am on the Emmylou on Saturday and the Canberra on Sunday - both of those days have extra cruises scheduled!
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Excelsior on May 29, 2013, 07:06:29 PM
I'm planning on heading up for at least part of the weekend.
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: James.McD on May 30, 2013, 09:00:30 PM
Last time I saw her on the slip was 2005, she had her rear deck rebuilt, larger so he could carry more party goers. The engines were removed and reconditioned, including reboring, whilst the boiler had a new tube plate welder in the firebox.
The owner was going to have the boat going for last years Heritage festival, he had the tubes ready to go in, but the holes in the new tube plate were too small, and a new drive chaine made, from overseas, but it was a couple of links too short. So she didn't make it. He know has all the parts to get the engine/boiler going. Think he needs some extra hands and a little enthusiasm. But that's just the mechanics. The cabins need rebuilding aswell as the decks. Everyone says its only the cross on the wheelhouse roof that's keeping it afloat!

I think it is definitely a touch of enthusiasm that is needed, it is such a shame to see her sitting there rotting away - the last time I saw any activity onboard was when her mooring line broke and I had to moor the Pride about 3 inches off her rudder - he came down then to move the boat, but the latest is he wants it going by Christmas - I just don't know which Christmas he is talking about!!

And if anyone is interested, on the June Long Weekend (Steam Rally) PS Emmylou will be cruising at 10:00am, 11:15am, 1:00pm, 2:45pm & 4:00pm (Sat & Sun) and the PS Canberra will be cruising at 10:30am, 11:45am, 1:15pm, 2:30pm & 3:45pm (Sat & Sun).
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: clarkrulz on June 07, 2013, 05:00:29 PM
Hi there,
Another question, just wondering if anyone has news of the PS Adventurous It's been away from the area for quite some time now
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: James.McD on June 25, 2013, 05:07:00 PM
PS Canberra's 100th Birthday Celebrations are starting to take shape, this is just one of the small things that will be done to recognise her big day! The PS Canberra, as we know, was built for the Conner Bros in Boundary Bend - and a large part of their family was the Salvation Army. We are conduction Salvation Army Donation Cruises for $2.00 a ticket!! All proceeds from these cruises will be donated to the Salvation Army! If you, or anyone you know, will be in or around Echuca on the weekend of the 2nd of August 2013 - make sure you come out on one of our cruises!!! :)
Title: Re: Canberra to Koondrook/Barham
Post by: Roderick Smith on August 17, 2013, 08:25:30 AM
PV Black Shag is normally at Swan Hill.  Although the river had dropped, there was still sufficient to voyage to Echuca recently.  We thought that the aim was to be present for PS Canberra's centenary, but the voyage was leisurely, and Black Shag was at Torrumbarry that weekend.  It arrived in Echuca on Tues.6.8, escorted by Billy Tea for the final stage.
Since then, the river has risen again.  There has been heavy rain in north-east Victoria, and a flood warning has been issued for Ovens River and King River (which reach the Murray above Yarrawonga.
Now PS Canberra has announced a voyage to Koondrook/Barham on this good water.  The positioning move leaves Echuca on Wed.4, reaching Torrumbarry that day, then a bush camp for Thursday night, then Barham on Friday.  There will be local cruises over the weekend.  I am going to try for passage (camping at night), or assemble a mini group and arrange minibus pickup/dropoff each night, staying at a motel in Echuca, then at Barham.

In the photos: Black Shag, Billy Tea and Struggler.  Both are from Michael.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Pevensey to Perricoota
Post by: Roderick Smith on August 29, 2013, 12:10:25 PM
PS Pevensey is making a downstream voyage from Echuca to Perricoota Homestead (61 km) on Fri.4.10, with a bus return; then a bus forward move on Sat.5.10 for paddlesteamer return.

I haven't checked to see if that matches heritage weekend, with another grand parade.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Title: Re: PS Emmylou at Barmah
Post by: Roderick Smith on September 07, 2013, 08:37:04 AM
On this good water, the company has run an Emmylou voyage to Barmah, 60 km upstream of Echuca.
I can't pick up the landmarks from Michael's photo.  I gain the impression that the boat has gone upstream from the bridge.  That is rare, as the bridge piers were built at the wrong angle, not matching the current; taking a big boat through is tricky.
Perhaps it is heading the full 10 km to Barmah Lake and the lower end of Barmah choke?  That is normally a fairly snaggy reach, but medium boats have come through from time to time, including PS Etona heading the whole way to Tocumwal for the bridge centenary.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: thewharfonline on September 07, 2013, 11:42:43 AM
This post backdates to when Black Shag travelled to Echuca, but I must say, she's a better looking boat than I initially thought, I only briefly saw her when in Swan Hill many years ago.
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: James.McD on September 13, 2013, 05:09:34 PM
5th of October 2013 - Heritage Festival in Echuca. Saturday night will be another sailpast and fireworks evening.
Our boats will be participating, along with the Port's boats.
Personally, I'll be skippering the Pride of the Murray!
Title: Re: PS Emmylou at Barmah
Post by: James.McD on September 30, 2013, 09:23:48 AM
On this good water, the company has run an Emmylou voyage to Barmah, 60 km upstream of Echuca.
I can't pick up the landmarks from Michael's photo.  I gain the impression that the boat has gone upstream from the bridge.  That is rare, as the bridge piers were built at the wrong angle, not matching the current; taking a big boat through is tricky.
Perhaps it is heading the full 10 km to Barmah Lake and the lower end of Barmah choke?  That is normally a fairly snaggy reach, but medium boats have come through from time to time, including PS Etona heading the whole way to Tocumwal for the bridge centenary.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

PS Emmylou didn't make it above the bridge this time, apart from the flow being too strong at present to navigate safely through the bridge - the water is too high and Emmylou would just scrape in :)
Title: Re: Barmah & above
Post by: Roderick Smith on October 01, 2013, 08:34:35 AM
Thanks James,
I couldn't pick the backdrop for the Emmylou photo.
When I voyaged to Tocumwal earlier in the year, PV Julie Fay was at the top of the choke, but had insufficient room to come through.  It could now, but it is stranded around Cobram: it can't get under Cobram bridge to head for home, and it can't come back down under Tocumwal bridge to get to Echuca.
PV Black Shag has gone up through the choke, but can't go further upstream than Tocumwal, as it can't get under the bridge.
I am trying desperately to launch at Echuca for the sailpast in the weekend coming, but don't think that I can clear the time.
Michael tells me that I'd get Jessie II up the Campaspe all the way up to the steam-rally site.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Sat.5.10 Echuca fireworks sailpast
Post by: Roderick Smith on October 06, 2013, 10:30:06 AM
It didn't have Prince Harry or international naval ships, but it did have fireworks, a bridge, paddlesteamers older than the tall ships and probably the water-police boat to represent might & right.
I couldn't attend either event, so Michael's photos compensate.
PV Betsy came from Barmah to join in.
The quartet Betsy, SL St Elmo (from Kerang, trailed), PV Black Shag (from Swan Hill), and PS Emmylou (looking imperious).
Closer view of Black Shag.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: clarkrulz on December 02, 2013, 08:00:51 AM
The recent PBN ( ( has said that the PS James Maiden is to return to Echuca. Is there any way of keeping updated with it's progress or a way of being informed when it is to arrive into Echuca. Also, any more activity on the Etona? Saw it sticking out from behind the Henry Charles on the webcam yesterday and now its tucked in again.
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: James.McD on December 02, 2013, 10:00:52 AM
I can let you know when it arrives in Echuca, but can't keep track of its progress (I'm sure there people that could do the second part).
The Etona was sticking out yesterday because of the North-NorthWest wind and the fact that it's stern line has broken yet again - no activity on Etona to speak of at present - still looking a bit worse for wear.

Title: Re: James Maiden to Echuca
Post by: Roderick Smith on December 03, 2013, 05:59:14 AM
You could phone the lockmasters at Euston and Torrumbarry, and phone Wakool Shire for advice re bookings of bridges at Tooleybuc, Nyah, Swan Hill, Murrabit and Barham.
I guess that Barham is currently unavailable during the work.  JM mightn't need a lifting: it is only single deck.  Swan Hill boats moor at Murray Downs Marina, so you might get news of progress there.  There is a note on the charts that through boats have to alert Speewa punt to lower the cable, but I suspect that the draft of JM wouldn't require that, just come through with the punt at rest.  I am not sure of the fuel range.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: clarkrulz on February 23, 2014, 04:08:41 PM
Having just returned home from Echuca I thought it would be good to share a photo I took. It has the PS Britannia, PS James Maiden, PB Struggler, PB Tooraloora, PB Black Shag, PS Ranger and the PB Billy Tea. I also saw the PS Perricoota, moored behind the PS Britannia, it's a shame that it is not being used I have seen it there for quite some time. I also (regretfully) saw the PS Etona and I am sad that it is in such run down condition. It would be nice to see it moving about some time soon.
Title: Re: Kevin Hutchinson, 40 years in Echuca.
Post by: Roderick Smith on March 08, 2014, 11:08:24 AM
See reply 17 in this thread for the history of how Kevin came to Echuca, and why he has such a strong association with PS Pevensey.
To mark the anniversary, the port renamed the boat PS Kevin Hutchinson for Fri.7.3.14, or for a whole week.
It has been renamed before: PS Philadelphia in All the rivers run.
People browsing older photos or models, will also see the identical (or nearly identical) PS Wanera and PS Ulonga.

This photo was supplied by Commercial Operations Manager Rohan Burgess, taken on Friday afternoon.
It was relayed via Michael, captioned 'Not the Pev, the Kev'.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Title: Perricoota Homestead
Post by: Roderick Smith on March 23, 2014, 11:40:37 AM
This is one of many dotted along the river; they are a major part of river history and geography.  It was the large pastoral holdings which created the need for river transport; it was river transport which made the holdings possible.  The homesteads were built near the river for the essential water to run the house, the home paddock, the kitchen garden, the ornamental garden, the shearing shed, the workers cottages, and to provide some scenery and recreation in the wide brown landscape.  Today, they are landmarks on a voyage: perhaps one per day of travel.  Many boats have been named after the homestead, or both have been named after watercourses (or vv).  PS Perricoota is in private ownership at Echuca.  I have photos of most of the homesteads, and one of Perricoota shows it when PV Florence Annie was moored there.  The article explains the history, and the link to Maiden of Maiden's punt (the Moama part of Echuca/Moama history.  Under this latest operation, the homestead has become a day-voyage destination for both paddlesteamer operators from Echuca: one way by paddlesteamer (40 km by water), lunch at Perricoota, the other way by bus.  PS Canberra conveyed passengers that far on its centenary voyage to Koondrook/Barham in 2013.  PV Pevensey also ran a Perricoota program in 2013.  See reply 44 in this thread, <>

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Easter 2014 sailpast & fireworks
Post by: Roderick Smith on April 22, 2014, 08:12:45 PM
I was invited, but had no time to take my boat, or even go as a passenger.  Here is a 2 min video capturing the mood.

Title: Re: James's wedding
Post by: Roderick Smith on May 04, 2014, 05:05:47 PM
In his time with Paddleducks, James has advanced from secondary-student work experience through hospitality on big commercial vessels to Master 4 on paddlesteamers at Echuca.  What more fitting way to hold his wedding ceremony than aboard his employer's boats?  Three decks of Emmlou, and two of Canberra, are holding the guests with ease, and giving everyone a good vantage point.  The ceremony took place after the close of public cruising on Sat.3.5; in the hour between the ceremony and the shore-based reception, while photographs were taken, guests went for a cruise on one of the two, and passed under the bridge at 17.00,  just as a special passenger train from Deniliquin was crossing.
I have attended a marine wedding before, and am stealing the minister's/celebrant's speech: 'May the voyage of married life be a long and happy one; may the storms be few, and always emerge on the far side into calmer waters, with added experience'.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: PS Etona steaming again
Post by: Roderick Smith on July 07, 2014, 07:09:31 AM
PS Etona was paddling up the river on Sun.6.7.14 morning.
Here are two photos from Michael.
I can't recall the work needed, which is now done: mainly replacing some/all tubes in the boiler.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Great Australian Inland Cruise, Jan.-Feb.2015.
Post by: Roderick Smith on August 13, 2014, 12:33:13 PM
This is being organised around a core of private Echuca paddleboats, but will be joining and joined by local boats along the way.
It is an anything-goes rally: any boat with a sociable crew will be welcome.  The title photo shows three boats: one paddle, one launch (my Jessie II) and one pontoon houseboat.  Hirers won't let pontoon ones through tricky sections.  For an international visitor, the only hire boat would be a River Wren from Riverglen Marina.  That company does wonders twinning hirers for extended voyages.  It would certainly be a grand adventure, and you would see almost every paddleboat which exists on the river.  I am in diabolical time trouble, as it sits in the gap between my Brazil holiday and another China one.  I have done all the water before, and almost certainly will not be taking Jessie II, even though that is the sort of event for which I did buy my own boat.  I expect to launch at Goolwa for the festival, and head to Clayton to meet the fleet.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Roderick Smith on September 19, 2014, 07:13:42 PM
This weekend (20 & 21.9.14) has the Echuca railway 150th anniversary, with a special steam train from Melbourne and local shuttle trips.  The port had hoped that the train would be allowed on the wharf line.  I don't know what the boats are doing as part of the celebration.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Current Echuca News - Easter 2014 fireworks sailpast
Post by: Roderick Smith on October 09, 2014, 03:51:27 AM
Easter 2014 fireworks sailpast: <>.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Great Australian Inland Cruise
Post by: Roderick Smith on November 19, 2014, 08:08:39 AM
I gave advance warning; the event commences in Echuca this Monday, 24.11: 9.00 am for ceremonial photographs, then 10.00 departure.
There are about five paddleboats and tensmaller launches starting in Echuca, with about five and ten more joining along the way.
I expect to be present for 1 week in January, possibly Berri - Overland Corner.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: GAIC
Post by: Roderick Smith on November 20, 2014, 12:12:44 PM
PV Black Shag pulled out of Echuca this morning (Thurs.20.11), to lie in wait for the main fleet at Barmah.
Current planning until Christmas is:
Paddleboats in the fleet:
From Echuca:
PV Billy T
PS James Maiden (wooden hull)
PV Black Shag
PV Ivy May
PV Tooraloora (two deck; the largest vessel in the fleet)
PV  Amelia Jane
Joining at Swan Hill: possibly PV Iron Dry.
Joining at Mildura: PV Shay, PV Settler, PV Shiralee and possibly PV Miralie.
Plus various locals joining for a day or two.
Plus about 15 launches/yachts: one third starting at Echuca, two thirds joining from Mildura or below.  About eight other owners are offering as crew.
Current key dates are:
Mon.24.11, leave Echuca on an environmental release of Eildon water.
Wed.26: Morning through Torrumbarry lock.
Fri.28: Barmah bridge (but that may switch to Sat.)
Sun.30: Murrabit bridge.
Tues.2 & Wed.3.12: At Swan Hill.
Thurs.4: Swan Hill bridge and Nyah Bridge.
Fri.5: Tooleybuc  bridge
Mon.8: Boundary Bend.
Fri.12-Sat.13: Robinvale.
Sun.14: Euston lock.
Tues.16: Colignan.
Thurs.18: Psyche Bend.  interesting part of the river      
Fri.19: Into Mildura, juggle transport home for Christmas & New Year.
The resumption is expected to be on 4.1.15.

Hot from our man in the field this morning.
141120Th Echuca: Black Shag leaving for Goolwa.  (M Snell)
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: stephenf10 on November 23, 2014, 10:01:05 AM
Thanks for the info Roderick. Is there a full itinerary online? I wouldn't mind seeing the fleet somewhere in the Riverland.

Title: Re: GAIC, the start
Post by: Roderick Smith on November 24, 2014, 10:08:42 PM
The program was rewritten for 10.00 formalities; 11.00 departure.  The formalities were swift, and departure was at 10.30.  A storm cut across central Victoria in the early afternoon, and did hit the Murray too.  The fleet had tied up for lunch, then didn't get much further.  The target of 52 km, Deep Creek Marina (with a bistro) wasn't achieved.  That won't impact on Tuesday, which was planned to be a short day.  Hence a 50-30 split becomes more a 40-40.
The photo: 141124M Echuca, GAIC fleet.  M Snell (crewing Pevensey).
10.22 Monday, the fleet ready to cast off
Amelia Jane
James Maiden (has been to Goolwa before)
(Britannia, rear, not going, and heading for slipping with the wet dock now clear again)
Moonshine (same hull as my Jessie II, but different superstructure)
(Alexander Arbuthnot, not going, just tied up there for convenience)
Ivy May
Billy T (the instigator of the event, and will become the most-travelled in the fleet, as it was launched at Yarrawonga in 2003).
Ranger (just for day 1, or perhaps Torrumbarry?)
not showing: Black Shag (at Barham already, and now continuing without waiting)

Post edit: My two fellow Wooden Boat Association members.  These were the large boats in a club rally 2 weeks earlier (mainly dinghies); now they are the small members of the fleet, with just enough cabin space to sleep two, then a picnic kitchen and portaloo at the rear, and a pushbike for getting supplies or heading to a pub.  Only few places have the shops directly opposite the moorings.
Title: Re: GAIC, the start
Post by: Roderick Smith on November 25, 2014, 03:47:55 PM
Here are the rest of Michael's Mon.24.11 photos.
One taken before the formalities has a boat missing left of frame, and two obscured by others.
The panorama posted yesterday was taken from PS Pevensey as it rounded up at 10.22 to head downstream.  The owners were walking back to their boats for a 10.30 cast off.
The next set show boats passing Pevensey as it rounded up, and returned upstream.
Torrumbarry today (Tuesday) is an easy run.  Locking will be at around 9.30 on Wednesday.

I edited the earlier post two include the two small wooden boats from the Victorian division of WBA.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: GAIC
Post by: Roderick Smith on November 26, 2014, 11:50:26 PM
PV Black Shag reached Swan Hill on Wed.26.11.  The rest of the fleet came through Torrumbarry lock, heading for a bush camp.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: GAIC
Post by: Roderick Smith on November 29, 2014, 08:25:30 AM
My contact arrived at Torrumbarry too late for the locking, which started at 8.00 on Wednesday, and had finished by 9.05 (when he arrived).
After a bush camp, arrival at Barham was around 12.00 on Thursday.
The bridge lifting was at 9.30 on Friday.  Tooraloora had drifted onto a sand bank, but was pulled off by Billy T in time for the bridging.  Murrabit bridge was opened for 15.00.
The fleet spent the night just downstream of the bridge.
After a further bush camp, the fleet would reach Swan Hill on Sun.30.11.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: DamienG on November 29, 2014, 09:51:41 AM
Is there any media with them filming for a documentary Roderick?
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Barry on November 29, 2014, 11:02:05 AM
Recording the trip on video
◾We plan to film the trip from land, sea and air as the basis for a documentary on the cruise
◾All participants will be required to sign an undertaking to be included in the film and to accept the event risks; this will help reduce our insurance bill for the trip

Sounds like a great trip.
Title: Re: GAIC
Post by: Roderick Smith on December 03, 2014, 01:39:29 PM
The fleet left Swan Hill on Mon.1.12 afternoon, with a bush camp somewhere, Nyah bridge on Tues.2.12 morning, to Wood Wood for the night, then to Tooleybuc today (Wed.3.12.).  Tooraloora had suffered gearbox trouble, and stayed 40 km about Swan Hill, with James Maiden as company.  With the problem fixed, the duo reached Swan Hill on Tuesday afternoon, and came through the bridge at 9.30 this morning.  They are faster, and are averaging 10 km/h: that puts them through Nyah bridge at 14.30 today, and they catch up with the fleet for dinner tonight.  The Tooleybuc bridging is booked for 9.30 Thursday.  So far there have been no additions, and no dropouts, but opportunity has been made to exploit VLine train/bus connections for crew changeovers.  At Swan Hill, a local pontoon joined as an escort for about 1 km.  It seems that Black Shag is preceding the whole way to Mildura, possibly because of Christmas time commitments.  Enclosed are four Swan Hill views from Michael, which I can share.  Other views have been sent to me privately, but not for sharing.
141201M SwanHill (all from Michael Snell):
* Agnes, pontoon, Mars, Billy T, Sunshine, Moonshine, Ivy May, Iron Dry (not joining), Amelia Jane.
* Agnes, Sunshine, Mars, Amelia Jane, Iron Dry, Billy T.
* Ivy May, Mars, Iron Dry, Billy T.
* Agnes, Ivy May, Iron Dry.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: DamienG on December 03, 2014, 05:00:24 PM
Great  reporting and Pic's many thanks Roderick :clap :clap :clap
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Roderick Smith on December 07, 2014, 07:21:49 AM
The fleet reached Boundary Bend on Sat.6.12.  Two boats are now running ahead: Black Shag and Amelia Jane.  I suspect that they have time pressure in December and must reach Mildura promptly.
For a photo, see <>.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Roderick Smith on December 17, 2014, 03:17:37 PM
The fleet pushed on, and reached Mildura on Sun.14.12.
Two small wooden boats have trailed home for the break, for some maintenance work and for further modifications based on the experience of 2 weeks of voyaging.
The others have a safe home at Pointon's slip.  The ceremonial resumption will be on 3.1.

Today: two photos which came to me via Michael; I suspect that both were taken from local PV Miralie.
One shows Tooraloora stuck on a sandback (it cut the corner to tightly); it was rescued by local PV Lillian.
The other shows Black Shag, Tooraloora, Billy T and Ivy May moored for the layover.

The small tugboat was followed by a friend for a day or so.  This video was made as a friendship greeting, and not as a documentary for a world audience.  It covers passing Nyah, the arrival at Wood Wood, then departure from Tooleybuc.  Missing in this reach were Tooraloora (delayed with gearbox trouble) and James Maiden (keeping company).  It gives an excellent depiction of the Murray in good water and good weather, and you can judge the strength of the current with ease.  Moonshine has the same hull and motor as my Jessie II: lean, elegant, economical and quiet.  The videomaker is a bay yachter, and so expects more beam and keel for stability; river hulls are a new experience.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Title: Re: GAIC starts stage 2.
Post by: Roderick Smith on January 04, 2015, 12:04:22 PM
The fleet assembled at Mildura on Friday, for a ceremonial farewell on Sat.3.1, to take 2 days to Wentworth, then a week in Darling River, to reach Renmark (SA) on 21.1.
Here is a report from the organiser, with 12 varied photos.
This facebook may be open access: photos at Mildura.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Current Echuca News - GAIC
Post by: Roderick Smith on January 14, 2015, 07:06:43 AM
GAIC went through lock 8 at 9.00 on Thursday, and lock 7 at 11.00 on Friday. With James Maiden running a few days ahead, and Black Shag holding off at Mildura for a later passage, the fleet fitted into a single locking.  There was a planned layday at Customs House, then through lock 6 at 11.00 on Monday for a night at Chowilla, and into Renmark on Tuesday afternoon.  There is now a planned 5 day layover, which will result in a departure on Sunday in conjunction with local PS Industry on its regular public cruise (every Sunday in January).
Photos are at the Industry facebook site, mentioned in the preceding post.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Title: Re: Current Echuca News - GAIC progress
Post by: Roderick Smith on January 17, 2015, 11:13:29 PM
After several laydays at Renmark, the fleet is ready for an 8.30 departure on Sun.18.1, with a ceremonial sendoff.
Black Shag and Settler have left Mildura on a tighter schedule to catch up.  They don't need the depth over Warakoo which some of the small launches in the fleet needed.
My joining is only days away: Friday from Melbourne, to launch at Cobdogla, and join the Sunday small-boat exploration up Campbells Creek into Lake Bonney (one of the sites tried by Sir Malcolm Campbell for a Bluebird speed record), then with the fleet through lock 3 to the historic Overland Corner Hotel: <>

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: Current Echuca News - GAIC
Post by: Roderick Smith on January 21, 2015, 07:29:49 AM
The main fleet has had a day at Berri, and moves on to Loxton today.  Three late starters from Mildura (PV Shay, PV Black Shag and PV Settler) came through lock 7 on Monday, and should be through lock 5 and into Renmark today.  Since two boats will need the bridge to be open, I predict a 9.00 start on Thursday for them.  PS James Maiden has gone ahead of the main fleet, and was at Waikerie yesterday.  The owner has to clear a couple of weeks for events elsewhere.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: stephenf10 on January 28, 2015, 06:25:15 PM
It was a pleasant surprise to come across the fleet at Waikerie today while we were taking a break on a Mildura-Goolwa road trip. They resume their journey tomorrow (Thu 29th).
Title: GAIC
Post by: Roderick Smith on January 28, 2015, 10:04:50 PM
Ahead of the fleet: James Maiden has reached Goolwa; the Mildura trio stayed upstream of  Waikerie, at a nature reserve.
Adding to the Echuca starters: Emm Dee from Howlong; Blue Moon; Phantom (a Darwin-based aluminium houseboat, diesel electric), Trophy (another bay fishing cruiser, imported from USA).  In this reach, a pontoon houseboat 'Doan Ask'.
I launched at Cobdogla on Saturday afternoon, went up the creek on Sunday (but didn't reach Lake Bonney), with the fleet to Kingston on Murray for an Australia Day breakfast on Monday, then to Overland Corner for lunch.  I backtracked to Cobdogla, out of the water on Tuesday, on the trailer at Waikerie this morning, but for a 7.00 departure.
I am only just home, and will add any missing names when I have uploaded the photos.
The weather has been magnificent.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: DamienG on January 28, 2015, 10:29:19 PM
 :clap :clap :clap :clap Looking forward to the photo's Roderick.
Title: Re: GAIC
Post by: Roderick Smith on January 30, 2015, 08:19:27 PM
Here are my opening photos.  I'll include paddlers and nonpaddlers.  Three paddleboats set out from Echuca to catch up: they did so, but didn't moor where I could photograph them.
PS James Maiden kept pushing ahead, as the owner was involved in major machinery rallies in Tasmania.
PV Black Shag (from Echuca, metal) linked up with Mildura PV Shay and PV Settler, and followed a few days behind the main fleet to Cobdogla, then moored elsewhere for the Waikerie night.

I trailed MV Jessie II (wooden) from Kyabram on Fri.23.1, and launched at Cobdogla on Sat.24.1.  The fleet now was:
From Echuca:
PV Tooraloora (metal)
PV Amelia Jane (pontoon, independent control of each paddle)
PV Billy T (metal)
PV Ivy May (metal)
MV Moonshine (wooden)
MV Sunrise (aluminium or fibreglass, trailed in from Mordialloc).
MV Agnes (wooden).
MV Mars (wooden).
From Mildura:
MV Doanask/Doanarsk (pontoon houseboat).
MV Trophy (aluminium or fibreglass, trailed in from Mordialloc).
MV Blue Moon (wooden?, voyaged from Yarrawonga).
MV Emm Dee (wooden, trailed in from Howlong).
MV Phantom (aluminium, trailed in from Darwin)

I'll post all of the photos being prepared for various groups.  Have just one while I sort out which one is breaking 500 kb.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Title: Re: GAIC at Cobdogla
Post by: Roderick Smith on January 31, 2015, 08:08:34 AM
Here are six of the fleet moored in Humphrey Bay, an inlet off the main Murray.
Ivy May is only a few years old.  It was built as a sternwheeler, but had weight-distribution trouble, and was converted to side wheel.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: GAIC Echuca - Goolwa cruise
Post by: Roderick Smith on February 07, 2015, 04:44:57 PM
More at Cobdogla.  I am including more than just the paddleboats, to give a better idea of the total event, and more viewing of our glorious Australian river scenery, which is what has tempted so many owners to make the 1600 km voyage.  The paddleboats were designed for this.  The medium launches have the fittings to cope (but the bay boats have to be careful with depth, and have touched a few times).  I have been following closely the progress of my fellow Wooden Boat Association members: boats intended for a half day out fishing or picnicking, now with extras to fit them for the voyage, particularly the canopies.  Compare Agnes at a club picnic in November (Goulburn River, a major Murray tributary) with Agnes as a voyager.
Title: Re: GAIC
Post by: Roderick Smith on February 14, 2015, 03:21:31 PM
I have been a bit too slow to get up the Cobdogla - Overland Corner set.  The fleet is now crossing Lake Alexandrina.  After holding off for first light departure from the channel markers, the decision to go was made at 10.20 local time Sat.; as at 13.50: half way across, and the wind is abating.  Safe, but slow.  I went with a fleet which was fully across in 2.5 h.  Today's fleet has yet reach Point Sturt (30 km from the start), with another 16 km to Clayton.

Australia Day has become increasingly important in recent years, even if not eclipsing Anzac Day.  National pride and culture, usually celebrated in glorious sunshine.  Countless communities roll out local barbecue breakfasts, and the one at Kingston-on-Murray was as great as any.  The lengthy riverbank is lawn landscaped, with plenty of easy mooring.  We pulled in, to a free barbecue breakfast (funded by the local council, with setting up and the work done by community volunteers).  After lots of friendly time, and explaining our fleet and our boats to locals, we set forth for a morning locking.

Pure Australian humour for Australia Day.  Most overseas viewers will be lucky to get half.  <>

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Title: Re: Current Echuca News - GIAIC to Goolwa
Post by: Roderick Smith on March 11, 2015, 04:53:30 PM
I'm still working on the rest of my photos.
Here is a 10 min video of the Berri - Loxton day, taken mainly from PV Tooraloora.
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor
Title: Re: GAIC, Kingston-on-Murray - lock 3
Post by: Roderick Smith on March 12, 2015, 02:43:44 PM
I was still working on GAIC and Goolwa when the Cumberoona relocation was announced, then the Henry Charles fire.
Continuing with the GAIC set, here are more from Mon.26.1.15 (all by me): entering and in lock 3 (Overland Corner), then continuing to Overland Corner for lunch and overnight.
The locks are quite daunting for small boats: rough concrete walls, wind funnels, currents.  Locks 1-10 were built to hold about two paddlesteamers and four barges.  Locks 11, 15 & 26 were the same width, but shorter.  The others were never built: killed by the depression.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Kingston_on_Murray - lock 3. PV IvyMay.
Lock 3. JessieII, Emm Dee, Billy T, Moonshine.
Lock 3. Sunshine, Billy T, Moonshine, Tooraloora, Ivy May.
Lock 3 - Overland Corner.  Tooraloora, Blue Moon, Billy T.
Lock 3 - Overland Corner. Tooraloora, from Jessie II.
Lock 3 - Overland Corner.  Ivy May.
Title: Re: GAIC
Post by: Roderick Smith on March 16, 2015, 03:22:31 PM
Arriving at Overland Corner for the lunch and overnight stop.  This is where the 19th century horse-coach route from Sydney to Adelaide touched the Murray (but didn't cross).  The famous hotel dates from that era.  It has been restored, and operates again, and is a popular stopping place for voyaging vessels.  In the first few it several hundred metres from the water, and 2/3 up the hill (obscured by the nearer trees, but in front of the distant ones).  I have added a pair of 2007 photo of the hotel to show not only the history, but the immensity of the 1956 floods, which reached across the flood plain and up the hill.  On Tuesday I returned upstream to come out of the water, then trailed to Waikerie for a final night with the fleet, moored in front of PV Murray River Princess.  The final view this cluster in early-morning light on Wednesday as I trailed onwards to the boatyard at Mt Barker for routine maintenance and upgrades.  I caught up with the fleet again at Goolwa, 3 weeks later.
071012F Overland Corner Hotel.
150128W Waikerie. MurrayRiverQueen-EmmDee-Sunshine-Moonshine.
Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Roderick Smith on April 08, 2015, 10:28:10 AM
I got sidetracked by other happenings, and left the posting of the GAIC fleet at Waikerie.  I rejoined the fleet at Goolwa Wooden Boat Festival, then crossed Lake Alexandrina on PS Marion to finish my adventure.  I'll get back into gear with a set, so have a different event for today.
Last Sunday had an Easter fireworks event at Echuca.  There was no boat parade, but commercial boats ran cruises, then tied up at vantage points: PS Emmylou, PS Canberra, PV Pride of the Murray, PS Pevensey and PS Adelaide.  I was a guest on private PS Etona (my first time aboard while moving).  Michael was engineer on the Pev; after finishing for the evening, he brought out his PV Struggler.  I spent the night in Echuca, and came home in the morning.
1510405Su Echuca: Letting of a flare on PS Etona as passed the public, clustered on the wharf.  (Roderick Smith)
150405Su Echuca: PS Etona photographed from Struggler (I'm just behind the wheelhouse door).  (Michael Snell)

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria
Title: Re: Current Echuca News - GAIC
Post by: Roderick Smith on April 18, 2015, 01:52:55 PM
This is a mix of GAIC boats and others at Goolwa.  With bad weather forecast, the boats crossed in about three fleets, variously on Thurs.12, Fri.13 & Sat.14.2.15.  PS Marion crossed as planned, on Mon.23.2.
All at Goolwa (SA), by me:
150218W PV Amphibious (from Mannum), PS Marion (from Mannum), PS Oscar W (local) & PV Billy T (from Echuca).
150220F MV Mars (from Echuca), PV Amphibious, PV Settler (from Mildura), PS Marion.

Billy T is one of the few paddleboats to have traversed the whole navigable section from Yarrawonga to Goolwa; PS Etona is another, and I believe that PS James Maiden has done so too.
Settler was conveying a special cargo: barrels of boutique beer from Wilkadene (on the river, near Renmark).  In exchange, it would return with boutique beer from Goolwa brewery (on the wharf).
As I type, the boats returning upstream at various moorings in the Renmark area, waiting for lock 7 to be available again.  The Echuca boats then plan to spend time in Darling River, and may not be home until around September.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Title: Re: 2015 Goolwa wooden-boat festival
Post by: Roderick Smith on May 25, 2015, 02:07:54 PM
Four of paddleboats at Goolwa wooden-boat festival on Sat.21.2.15
DSCF0967 PS James Maiden
DSCF0968 PV BlackShag
DSCF0971 PV Settler, PV Amphibious, barge Dart
DSCF0972 PV Settler conveying craft beer, PV Amphibious
and one indulgence: some of the wooden boats, all styles and sizes, with SteamRanger's steam train to Victor Harbor as a backdrop.  A great event for exhibitors and spectators.
DSCF0983 Jessie II, Duke of Edinburgh.  Sun.22.2.

Roderick B Smith
retired editor
Title: Re: Alexander Arbuthnot
Post by: Roderick Smith on May 30, 2015, 02:42:32 PM
AA was in need of slipping urgently, but this was delayed while the slip owner met council demands for enhanced safety.  Meanwhile, AA sprung a leak, but this was stemmed with a temporary fix, and it went onto the slip on Wed.27.5.15 for proper maintenance.
150527W Echuca (NSW bank): Alexander Arbuthnot on the slip.  (Michael Snell)

Roderick B Smith
retired editor

Title: Re: Billy T & Ivy May back home
Post by: Roderick Smith on July 05, 2015, 05:27:07 PM
News via the PS Industry facebook page:
On Fri.3.7.15, after 7 months and travelling over 3500 km, PV Billy Tea and PV Ivy May arrived back to Echuca after travelling to Goolwa SA.
 PS Pevensey, along with Canberra, Emmylou & Pride of the Murray, cruised down to welcome them back home.

AFAIK Tooraloora is at Mannum or Morgan, for sale.  PV Amelia Jane is lingering at Mildura after slipping, to come home on spring water.  PS James Maiden may be at Renmark.

Roderick B Smith
Transport analyst

Title: Re: GAIC mop up
Post by: Roderick Smith on September 03, 2015, 07:52:09 AM
PV Black Shag had been holding at Swan Hill, waiting for water.  It arrived back at Echuca on Fri.28.8.15.  PV Amelia Jane, which had paused in Mildura for maintenance slipping, arrived back on Mon.31.8.
Independently, PV Bungunyah had arrived in Echuca over winter, and was heading to Tocumwal.

Title: Re: Death of Kevin Hutchinson
Post by: Roderick Smith on February 10, 2016, 04:06:36 PM
Kevin came to Echuca from Mildura as a young carpenter, to work on restoring paddlesteamers for tourist operation.  He became the grand old man of the port, restoring lots of boats, and also obtaining his master 4.  He was forever skippering PS 'Oscar W'.  Kevin appeared in the series 'All the rivers run', doubling for the engineer.  He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for his services to paddlesteamer restoration, and for mentoring lots of younger people.  Everyone who knew him admired him.  I was in the wheelhouse with him on the charter for Michael's 21st birthday, and watched him execute a downstream Echuca turn: bow into the bank, let the current bring the stern around, back of the bank and complete the roundup to head upstream.  For his 40th anniversary at the port, Pevensey was renamed Kevin Hutchinson for a day (not the 'Pev', the 'Kev').  The recently-expanded port discovery centre was named after him.
Kevin died on 29.1.16, aged 74.  Tributes flowed through various hobby web / social-media sites.
For the funeral, on Fri.5.2, the port was closed for the day; neither paddlesteamer operator cruised.
The commercial boats were steamed, and were rafted off the wharf.
The coffin was carried to the funeral-parlour service by driving past the wharf, and a massed whistle salute was given.
After the service, there was a graveside burial, then everyone moved to the wharf for the wake.  This was very much a 'river rats' event, with paddleboat people from at least Mannum downstream, and Yarrawonga upstream.  I had missed the service when my connecting train was cancelled, but arrived on a later service for the wake.  People reported that it had been a happy celebration of a life of service, with lots of laughter and applause.  The 7 min 'This was your life' photo selection (a feature of modern Australian funerals, probably worldwide) was very comprehensive, from childhood through being a young man in the 1950s & 60s, to a life on paddleboats.  There were three brief speeches at the wake.  These included the reading of two goodwill messages from stars of 'All the rivers run'.  There were two more massed whistle salutes.
160205F-Echuca-PS_Adelaide-CaptainSnell-RSmith.  Michael is now not only an engineer, he is a master 5, with master 4 imminent.  Here he has just completed rafting Adelaide off Hero.
160205F-Echuca-Kevin HutchinsonPaddleboatTribute-RSmith.
160205F-Echuca-KevinWake-RSmith.  Another son has risen to master 4.



Title: Re: Kevin Hutchinson's funeral
Post by: Roderick Smith on February 23, 2016, 06:26:28 PM
Massed whistles: steam Adelaide, Hero, Alexander Arbuthnot, Pevensey, Canberra, Emmylou; diesel Pride of the Murray.
Three of these salutes were provided through the day.

Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Roderick Smith on October 11, 2016, 07:44:49 AM
The water is well up, and is rising.  Lake Eppalock (Campaspe River, near Bendigo) is overflowing.  There is water coming down it, and Murray water backing up into it.  Two big boats have got up to the first road bridge (I couldn't get that far with Jessie II on normal water).
PV Pride of the Murray has been up.  Now PS Etona, on Sat.8.10:

Title: Re: PS Alexander Arbuthnot to Koondrook
Post by: Roderick Smith on October 13, 2016, 05:12:22 PM
As predicted in at the time of PS Adelaide's 150th anniversary celebrations, Alexander Arbuthnot is on its way to Koondrook in November.
It was the last of the traditional paddlesteamers to be built for Murray trade, and was built for Arbuthnot sawmills at Koondrook.  The mill still trades, and supplies redgum for special uses (AFAIK mainly furniture).  Several triggers have come together for this event:
* The water is up; the voyage will be easy.
* The port has been keen to make the journey ever since AA was restored.  It will have been decades since it was last in Koondrook.
* AA was considered for the Mildura voyage for PS Melbourne's centenary, but the more-powerful Adelaide was deemed to be the more suitable vessel to not only get there, but to get back in a reasonable timeframe.
* A new floating jetty is under construction at Koondrook, funded by grant money as compensation for reduced irrigation water entitlements.
There will be only limited public sectors, as the middle section lacks vehicle access.  I chased Adelaide through there in a good year, and had some mud.  I suspect that, with this higher water, a lot of access tracks are completely impassable.  I won't even be able to chase this one in my all-wheel drive.
The plan:
* Wed.9.11, carrying passengers to Perricoota station (for afternoon tea, inspection, then back by bus. Continue to Torrumbarry.
* Thurs.10.11: through Torrumbarry lock (possible short novelty sector); overnight in state forest.
* Fri.11.11: Koondrook arr ~midday.
* Sat.12 & Sun.13: local 1 h cruises.
* Mon.14: Official wharf opening at 13.00, then vip cruises.
* Tues.15: depart, to reach Echuca on Friday night.


Title: Re: Alexander Arbuthnot to Koondrook
Post by: Roderick Smith on November 07, 2016, 11:40:46 AM
Wednesday is booked out.
.jpg versions of the website pdf ones.
161109W PS Alexander Arbuthnot to Perricoota Homestead.
161112Sa-13Su-14M PS Alexander Arbuthnot Koondrook cruising.

Title: Re: Koondrook wharf commissioning, Mon.14.11.16
Post by: Roderick Smith on November 16, 2016, 06:04:00 PM
The project has been in gestation for around 30 years, and has come to fruition: a floating wharf, capable of holding any boat which can get through this reach of the river.
It has cost $2m, a partnership of federal, state and local government.
The opening ceremony was major, helped by good water.
The centrepiece was PS Alexander Arbuthnot, back home for the first time in 80 years.  It was built for Arbuthnot sawmill, still in operation at Koondrook, and providing redgum for a range of uses.
The mill provided most/all of the timber for the new wharf and associated walkways.
AA left Echuca ceremonially on Wed.9.11, to reach Koondrook on Fri.11.11.  Other Echuca vessels voyaged too: PS Canberra, PS Etona, PS Ranger, PV Billy T, SWPV Adventurous, PV Black Shag.  A wooden putt putt was launched locally.
There were public cruises on Sat.12 & Sun.13.11.
The main ceremony was on Mon.14.11.  Invited guests lunched in marquees from 12.00.  The 13.00 speeches started at 13.10, with a large crowd of onlookers, and primary schoolchildren from a local school and from further afield.
At the end, a ribbon was cut by five dignitaries in unison.  AA ran a cruise for invitees, then two public cruises [I just got one of four remaining tickets].
Etona had left on Saturday, four others pulled out as the afternoon continued, leaving only Black Shag & Ranger.

Here are the newspaper photos; mine are yet to come.

161115Tu 'Gannawarra Times' - Koondrook wharf & PS Alexander Arbuthnot.

Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Roderick Smith on February 27, 2017, 04:54:15 PM
Vale Warwick Turner, 6.11.1941-10.6.16.
Warwick was a man of energy and action in the worlds of steam and marine preservation, also community affairs and preserving rare animal breeds.
He was a Sydney boy, and was a keen and competitive rower in his school days.  He became an apprentice with Manly Steamship Co., then moved into advertising.
He had purchased his first steamroller while still too young to drive it home.  He was part of a syndicate preserving steam yacht Lady  Hopetoun, leading to the formation of today's Sydney Heritage Fleet.
He became manager of Lachlan Vintage Village (Forbes, NSW), then Swan Hill Pioneer Village.  He moved to Echuca, buying a farm on the city fringe.  This became the repository for a large collection of steam machinery, boats and rail equipment.  He was active in Rotary, and achieved the top award (a Paul Harris Fellowship) for service.  In Echuca, he became a councillor, and a steam engineer on PS Emmylou and PS Canberra.  He spearheaded the movement which revived the port of Echuca for tourism, and established the annual steam rally.  A memorial service had to await the return of one son from overseas, and was very well attended.  In the one week, Murray River Skippers Association held its agm in Echuca on Tuesday night; attendees could then stay for the Thursday-Saturday celebrations for the 150th anniversary of PS Adelaide.  The family held the memorial service on Wed.20.7.  This was a riverside service, with PS Hero and PS Canberra as a backdrop.  The family  arrived via Warwick's Aveling &  Porter steamroller.  One son had been behind the short-lived move of SL Ena to Melbourne; the other operates river launch MV Grower on Yarra River.  Tributes came from all components of Warwick's diverse life, including a speaker from SHF.  Attendees then boarded the two boats for an ash-scattering ceremony (just one third).  There would be a further service and scattering on Sydney Harbour, and the remaining third would be scattered on Warwick's farm.  Refreshments were served at Radcliffe's bar/restaurant, with lots of mingling and swapping of stories and gossip.  I came from Melbourne for the day by train and bus, and was driven home by a Port Phillip charter-ferry captain.  I had met Warwick aboard one of the Echuca paddlesteamers perhaps 10 years ago.  Via a mutual friend, I had arranged for a visiting group from Wooden Boat Association SA to visit his steam collection during a club rally at Echuca over Queens Birthday long weekend in June 2015.

Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: DamienG on February 27, 2017, 08:16:51 PM
 :( :( :( :( :( :( :(
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Roderick Smith on March 02, 2017, 09:17:52 AM
The water continued to rise.
Murray River at Echuca (Vic.): PV Billy T floating on high water, inland from the normal bank, above the carpark on the landward side of the pavilion. Oct.16. (Bob McGrath)
The bank where the funeral was held is underwater on the river side of the pavilion.


Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Roderick Smith on February 28, 2021, 08:53:25 PM
PV Shay has been bought by an Echuca owner, and has been relocated from Swan Hill.
PS Etona has been slipped for major hull work, and is being lengthened by 4 m aft of the engine, to provide a larger dining saloon.
The second road bridge over the Murray, downstream of the general port area, is to be finished by the end of the year, possibly September.

Roderick Smith

Sun.15.11.20 Melbourne 'Herald Sun'. Break for the border. KENDALL HILL
Above: Echuca Wharf on the Murray River, Vic.
What its like for a stranded travel writer to feel the freedom of a wide open road again
After months of being very good, staying at home for the sake of state and country, in the final week before Victoria eased restrictions I made a run for it. Curiosity finally got the better of my inner journalist. I had to see what life was like beyond Melbournes fabled ring of steel. So I got my paperwork in order and set off to breach the citys 25km force field. The ring of steel, it turned out, was not so tough. At the Gisborne South checkpoint, which was flanked by a booze bus and white marquees, it took all of 20 seconds to break free. What have you got for me? asked a smiling policeman. Im just going up to Swan Hill and the border towns. Its a newspaper job. Yep, no worries! And Im through. No more questions asked. Its difficult to describe the freedom of driving on the open road when for 12 weeks your worlds been bound to a 5km radius from home. I cant remember the last time life flew by at 110kmh. Theres a faint sense of trepidation, but also exhilaration as I charge into the (still) forbidden land, beneath the biggest, bluest, warmest sky Ive seen since March. Drunk with opportunity, aching with the temptation of it all. I pass signs for Mount Macedon, Kyneton, Daylesford, and long to visit all of them, but my goal is much further away yet: the border city of Swan Hill, about four hours drive north of Melbourne and as far as I can legally go from home. I stop in Bendigo for a salad roll, my roadtrip snack of choice. Absolutely everyone is in masks. True, the students wandering back from lunch to Bendigo Senior Secondary College (my alma mater) wear theirs casually under the chin, but I dont see anyone without one. Its the same story wherever I venture in regional Victoria. This is why we did so well containing our rampant coronavirus outbreak. We stuck tight to the rules. In roadside paddocks I see sheep and lambs, as white and pure as snow and brown cows and candyfloss galahs flapping over golden fields. I stay at the Lady Augusta, the highest rated of Swan Hills 15 motels, and relish the brick-wall dcor and the rare thrill of sleeping somewhere that is not my home. Next day, Cup Day, I set out for the old river port of Echuca via beautiful Lake Boga and (possibly) Australias largest inland island (see breakout). Echuca is pumping. I can barely believe my eyes watching streets throng with tourists at outdoor settings eating, drinking, ice-creaming. Theres even live music in the beer garden of Henrys Bridge Hotel. I pop into St Annes Winery because it isnt busy and I want to (a) taste some wine, and
(b) chat to staff there about what lockdowns been like for them. Stupid me. I forgot I cant do wine tastings just now or sit in cafes or restaurants because Im from Melbourne. Plague city. You can flee lockdown but you cant escape its restraints. The manager explains the inconsistencies of border-region confinement. She lives in Moama, just over the Murray River bridge, and yet some days, she says, it can take 90 minutes to get home because the single-lane checkpoint queue is so long.No one wears masks in the promised land across the river. I get to go home and go zing! she says, motioning to rip off her mask. It makes zero sense. Its not just one states set of rules were following; in this area we have to follow both. (Border lifes set to return to normal next week when New South Wales reopens to Victoria, where all travel restrictions were lifted last Monday.)
After being denied service at St Annes I stroll across to the Echuca Hotel, which is brimming with Cup Day revellers at veranda tables. I fancy joining them until I see a large sign on the pubs door: If you are from Melbourne, please do not enter. Its Cup Day in Echuca and I cant get a drink. Is there anything more un-Australian?
I spend the second night at Rutherglen, which Id naively booked thinking I could tour vineyards there and chat to winemakers. Instead I head home the next morning, taking my time to savour the wildly beautiful bush landscapes. After barely taking the wheel in months, I clock up more than 1200km in 48 hours.
On that final night, sitting on the back porch of the Walkabout Motel, gazing at peachy dusk sky while lambs bleat and swallows chatter in the eaves, a microbat zooms right in front of me and swallows a bug. And suddenly life feels normal and extraordinary again.
Theres a faint sense of trepidation but also exhilaration as I charge into the (still) forbidden land, beneath the biggest, bluest, warmest sky Ive seen since March


Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Roderick Smith on April 18, 2021, 04:14:51 PM

Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Roderick Smith on June 22, 2021, 06:14:18 PM
Meet the women making their mark on Victorian food, wine, hospitality and tourism. Larissa Ham, Bianca Carmona and Charlotte Brundrett March 20, 2021 Herald Sun
* Beth Conner, Murray River Paddlesteamers
For much of 2020, the distinctive whistles of Echucas historic steamers fell silent.
If youre around here long enough, you can tell what time it is by what whistle is where, Beth Conner says. Nobody quite knew what time of day it was.
The fourth generation paddlesteamer worker fell in love with the boats aged five, when her grandfather popped her behind the wheel.
Now 31, the Murray River Paddlesteamers captain is one of only two female skippers on the river. Its her dream job. For starters, my office is awesome, she says.
Just on the PS Canberra (built by her great-grand uncle), you look around and think this boat is coming up on 108 years old, shes had 30 or 40 different skippers shes seen about 10 million passengers.
Sharing that history is one of the things Beth loves about life on the river.
Beth Connor is a fourth-generation paddlesteamer worker and one of only two female skippers on the Murray River. PICTURE: ANDY ROGERS
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: DamienG on June 23, 2021, 07:52:43 AM
 :bravo :clap :bravo :clap :beer
Title: Re: Current Echuca News !
Post by: Roderick Smith on January 02, 2022, 11:17:30 AM