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PV Akuna Amphibious

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Roderick Smith:
As at 13.5, raising had yet to start.  Just the roof and solar panels were above water.
As at 16.5, the raise had been 2 m: the wheelhouse was above water; the hull was still below.
As at 21.5, there was no further progress, but completion was expected within days.  The slipway was still occupied by Emmylou.

Roderick Smith:
Paddle boat owner's heartbreak over sinking of historic Amphibious
ABC Riverland Thursday 14 May 2020
Photo: top of boat visible while the rest is under water along the bank of a river
Owners of the PV Amphibious hope to be able to bring it back to the surface after it sunk at the Echuca wharf.(Supplied)
Tim Mills was more than 500km from his pride and joy — Australia's second oldest wooden paddle boat — when he heard it was at the bottom of the River Murray, off the historic Echuca wharf.
Key points:
The owner of a historic paddle boat that sank in the Murray says coronavirus restrictions have prevented inspections
Tim Mills says he will salvage the craft and intends to renovate it
Mr Mills said the fact that he was away when the boat sank has made the pain of the loss more acute
The ferry operator, from the Riverland of South Australia, said he felt helpless.
"Absolutely gut-wrenched, heartbroken, to find out via phone call and not actually being able to do anything or get up there, being over here in South Australia," Mr Mills said.
As custodian of an important piece of Australia's river and maritime history, he said he wanted to retrieve the boat quickly and feared memorabilia onboard may be lost forever.
He said he had engaged divers and hoped to be able to bring the boat to the surface later this week.
Restrictions prevent inspections
Mr Mills moved the Amphibious from South Australia to Victoria after being unable to secure a permanent mooring near his hometown of Renmark.
A selfie of a smiling couple on a boat on the River Murray towing a young rider.
Tim and Carol Mills would regularly stay onboard their historic paddle boat.(Supplied: Carol Mills)
After being offered a lease at Echuca he made a nine-month voyage upstream, arriving in September of 2019 after lengthy delays due to bridge and lock works.
He had regularly stayed onboard with his wife and enlisted the support of local boat owners, a shipwright, and friends to inspect the boat while he was away.
But the introduction of travel restrictions and the closure of the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre blocked access to the boat.
"Unfortunately we copped the raw end of the coronavirus. We were unable to check on the boat as often as we would like to," Mr Mills said.
PV Amphibious paddle boat on the River Murray.
PV Amphibious cruising along the River Murray at Renmark on its way to Melbourne for paddle boat centenary celebrations in 2012.(ABC Riverland: Catherine Heuzenroeder)
A boat with many lives
PV Amphibious worked on the River Murray before the 1900s and before it was converted to a sailing craft and used as a trading ketch in open waters around SA.
In 1959 it was turned into a showboat and operated from the Port River in Adelaide.
At the end of its entertainment heyday it sat idle, and even sank in 1978.
It was salvaged and rebuilt by paddle steamer enthusiast Dick Bromhead and went on to appear in the 1981 classic, Gallipoli, and the miniseries The River Kings.
Decades later it was rebuilt and refurbished by Peter Teakle as a passenger cruiser on the River Murray near Waikerie.
A black and white photo of the sailing ketch Amphibious circa 1906.
The Amphibious sailing in open waters around South Australia, circa 1906.(Supplied: Carol Mills)
'We will renovate'
Riverboat historian Peter McLeod said the boat had survived many reincarnations.
"I have full confidence they will raise it up pretty quick smart and it will be back up and running," he said.
"Don't write the Amphibious off just yet."
Mr Mills said he was determined to resurrect the craft.
"We own it outright, so at the end of the day we will get it raised and start the painful procedure of renovating it to its glory," he said.
"Hopefully in as good or better condition as it went down in."


Roderick Smith:

PV Amphibious now above water
31.5.20 Riverine Herald
PV Amphibious has been brought from under the water after sinking at the Port of Echuca almost two weeks ago. Photo: Cath Grey
PV Amphibious is now sitting above water after sinking last month. The salvage operation has taken several weeks with experts required to come in and help bring the boat back up. Owner Tim Mills said the next move was to get the


29.7.20 ABC Riverland
The historic wooden paddle boat has been written off by its insurer after sinking to the bottom of the River Murray at Echuca in Victoria in May.
Riverland ferry operator Tim Mills and his wife Carol own the Amphibious and Mr Mills told the ABC yesterday that the vessel needs a full rebuild of its electrics and cladding as a result of being underwater.
He's made what he describes as a heartbreaking decision to pass on the first option to buy it from the insurer because of restoration costs and border restrictions due to COVID.
He says the insurer has an interested party and hopes the new owners will restore the boat to its former glory.
Being raised from the River Murray at Echuca and below, in happier days near Renmark.
Three months after she sank while moored on the Murray River at Echuca, the PV Amphibious is being lovingly restored under the watchful eye of new owner, Lou Iannacone.
Lou hopes to have the historic 144-year-old vessel (which featured in the movie "Gallipoli") back on the water in a matter of weeks with Echuca its new permanent home.

200531-Echuca'RiverineHerald'-PV_Amphibious.  This appears to have been taken in Goulburn River, a short way upstream of the Murray River confluence.


Roderick Smith:
I have no details of how much work was done, but it is now off the slip, and PS Etona is up.


PV Amphibious finds a new owner
6.8.20 Riverine Herald
Paddle Vessel Amphibious has a new skipper — and he's hoping to recruit the Victorian and federal governments to join his crew.
He probably wouldn’t mind if Lady Luck jumped on board as well.
Paddle Boat Amphibious's new owner, Lou Iannacone. The paddle boat is continuing to undergo repairs after being submerged. Photo: Cath Grey


Roderick Smith:
Three months after sinking to the bottom of the River Murray at Echuca PV Amphibious is again rising from the ashes. It was the second time the boat had sunk in its 144-year history. Its new owner Lou Iannacone, of Echuca, is hoping to have it back on the water in weeks. Amphibious was owned by Riverland ferry operator Tim Mills until it was written-off by its insurer after being retrieved from the river. It has appeared in Australian TV dramas and the movie Gallipoli.

As at November, Amphibious was back in the water; PS Etona was on the slip

Roderick Smith



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