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SWPV Murray Princess (Murray River, Australia)

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Roderick Smith:
It is too hard finding the many earlier items and photos on this vessel, so I am starting a new thread.

This came from the travel section of Fri.19.8.11 Melbourne Herald Sun.  I haven't fixed any ocr errors.
One photo accompanied the article.  The other is the only one which I have on the hard drive already, and may have been posted before.  It shows my boat, still with its previous owner and hence still Janoralee.  The renaming to Jessie II came after my purchase.  If ever I find the earlier post, I can delete this, and even replace it with a fresh scan from a different print.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Muse cruise
It's relaxing watching the Murray River slide by from a paddlesteamer, writes Jason Nahrung
The Murray-Darling river system is the closest thing Australia has to the Mississippi, an inland highway paved with muddy water and boasting more chicanes than an F1 circuit.  Flooding rain this year has refuelled a river depleted by drought and dwindling water supplies, so my wife and I take advantage of a winter special to get a riverside glimpse of Australia's history and geography on a three-night float on a South Australian stretch of the Murray.
We are on diesel-driven stern-wheeler SWPV Murray Princess - the largest in the southern hemisphere, the Captain Cook line boasts.
Our voyage leaves Murray Princess's home port of Mannum on a Friday afternoon, takes us downstream to Murray Bridge where we wander through the historic Round House and along the docks, then upstream to the vicinity of Walker Flat before heading back to Mannum to disembark on the Monday morning.
The Round House was built in 1876 for the overseer of the Murray Bridge construction project, completed 3 years later, and it has been expanded since that time.  It enshrines a slice of that pioneer life with its wooden floors, artfully lit cellar and rooms filled with period memorabilia that echo the building's various uses.  It offers a superb view of the twin road and rail bridges.  The road bridge has a path for pedestrians, and a stroll across the breezy span gives some idea of the size of the achievement as well as a view of the cliff-top business district and paddle-steamer berth.  Murray Princess is a handsome boat, built in 1986, with lots of dark timber interiors in its common areas.
Our cabin is just big enough - a wardrobe, small ensuite in which I have to stork-bend to get under the shower head, a single bed on either side of the door that opens directly to the deck, a heating vent in the bathroom that means barely any blankets are needed, and a wee window to let in some cool winter air.  There are six larger staterooms fitted with double beds, fridges and tea and coffee-making facilities, and nine inside cabins offering a porthole view.  For those without a kettle, 24-hour coffee and biscuits and refills of drinking water are available in the lounge.  The lounge is a comfortable, sunlit space, with two floors linked by spiral staircases in timber and brass, and a floor-to-ceiling window that shows the paddle doing its thing; the floor vibrates with the motion.  We never make it to the on-board spa and sauna or the top-deck gym, or make use of the laundry facilities.  Rather, we spend much of the voyage with our laptops and souvenir coffee mugs in the lounge or with a glass in the bar, where the prices are very fair, making occasional dashes outside to photograph something gorgeous.  The bar is a cosy space at the nose, ideal for watching the river slide by.
The river is the star attraction, usually showing one steep set of cliffs on one bank, the other flat land most often given over to agriculture but consistently dotted with towns and small outposts of rather fancy holiday shacks.  Holiday houseboats are common on this stretch of the lower Murray.  At night, our boat simply nudges its way into a berth with a little help from the dinghy and ties up to some handy gum trees.  We go ashore a couple of times for a closer look. One stroll to a billabong reveals a midden and canoe trees.  The birdlife is abundant - hawks, ducks, egrets, cormorants, pelicans, black swans, a cheeky willy wagtail who could have been a fellow passenger and swallows.  The birds are coming back after the drought forced them to relocate elsewhere.  Even so, many are still at Lake Eyre enioying the big wet.

www.captaincook.com.au
murrayriver.com.au

James.McD:
PS Murray Princess has been taken over by SeaLink (their main operation is the regular high speed ferry service from the South Australian mainland to Kangaroo Island), along with all of Captain Cook Cruises operations - except the Fijian cruise ship. This has resulted in no change to the vessel's itinerary, however she is receiving a huge amount of makeover work.
In the time I was working onboard as First Officer, the paddlewheel fell off once, we had multiple engine shut downs/malfunctions and the hydraulic motors powering the paddlewheel broke on multiple occasions.
SeaLink has replaced the hydraulics, plan to replace the 14 ton paddlewheel and plan an extensive multi million dollar cabin refit - which will see the "Princess" back to the days of her former glory!
I am presuming once all this is carried out, their cruise fares will reflect the level of luxury onboard!

Roderick Smith:
The boat is heading to Renmark to go into its dry dock for survey work, and for replacement of the paddlewheel.  As at Sat.29.11, it had reached Loxton.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Roderick Smith:
Coming under Paringa (Renmark) bridge.  This should be open access.
<www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10205611379192058&set=vb.1480788579&type=2&theater>

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

Roderick Smith:
There are several photos of the Renmark voyage, and placement into the dry dock, at the open-access site <www.facebook.com/pages/PS-Industry/325824597564261>.
I have one offlist photo showing the boat sitting on those concrete ribs, but it is not online, and I don't have reposting rights.

Roderick B Smith
Rail News Victoria Editor

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