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Author Topic: PS Enterprise- question for australian members  (Read 6930 times)

Offline Roderick Smith

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Re: PS Enterprise- question for australian members
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2020, 10:43:19 AM »

April 13 2020 Paddlesteamer Enterprise is one of the National Museum of Australia's most important objects
PS Enterprise - nearly 150 years of solid service. Picture: National Museum of Australia
As you glance in a westerly direction from the Commonwealth Bridge, the dramatic architecture of the National Museum of Australia looms large. But if you drop your gaze to the shoreline, you'll see a white vessel moored to a jetty close to the main building.
Against the museum's radical, post-modernist sweep, this little boat is almost unnoticeable, and yet it is one of the museum's most significant historical objects. It is the Paddle Steamer Enterprise.
Paddle steamers were key to a pivotal change that took place in the interior of eastern Australia in the 19th century with the expansion of wool production. In 1797 the first merino sheep arrived in Australia and 16 years later the first commercial wool consignment was shipped to London. From that point the wool industry took off.
However, the immense tracts of land required to run sheep meant there was an ever-increasing demand for fresh pasture and by the middle of the 19th century the industry was running out of acreage. The vast interior of New South Wales, Victoria and southern Queensland held thousands of square kilometres of productive land but the distance to markets made much of it economically unviable.
In 1850, the government of South Australia recognised the potential of transport on the Murray-Darling river system and offered a reward of '£4,000 to be equally divided between the first two iron steamers of not less than 40 horsepower, and not exceeding two feet draft of water when loaded, as shall successfully navigate the waters of the River Murray to the junction of the Darling'.
The first paddlesteamer on the Murray was Mary Ann. The frame of the Mary Ann was built by the Randell brothers in Gumeracha, South Australia, and then transported, finished and launched at Noa-No near Mannum, in February 1853. It wasn't until August of that year that it began its maiden voyage upriver.
At the same time, Captain Francis Cadell had negotiated directly with the colonial government to pilot a vessel through the Murray mouth and further upriver. Cadell's paddle steamer was constructed by the Thomas Chowne shipyards in Pyrmont, Sydney. Aware of the politics of his venture, he named it Lady Augusta after the wife of the South Australian governor.
Lady Augusta sailed south from Sydney and through the Murray mouth in August 1853. The race for the Darling was on. By 14 September, just beyond the Murrumbidgee junction, Lady Augusta passed the Mary Ann and Cadell reached Swan Hill on 17 September, four hours before Randell. The race proved that river trade was possible and this signalled a seismic shift in the Australian economy. The middle of the 19th century had been dominated by the gold rushes but as the century wore on more and more of the nation came to be riding on the 'sheep's back'.
In the late 19th century, the Australian colonial economies were some of the strongest in the world, and the states of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales were seen as world leaders in progressive social policies.
The opening up of the Murray River, however, increased interaction and tension between the settlers and Indigenous people in the basin. The Murray had been home to at least 20 different Aboriginal nations but the influx of land-hungry colonists bringing with them a range of diseases for which Indigenous people had no immunity resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.
“Over nearly 150 years of service, the Enterprise has worked as a cargo ship, floating store, fishing vessel and houseboat. It is one of the oldest functioning paddle steamers in the world.”
PS Enterprise was built at the height of the Murray-Darling river trade in 1876 by the timber merchant William Keir at Echuca on the Murray. Like most of the Murray paddle steamers of the time it was constructed of river red gum, in this case sourced from the great Barmah forest.
The Enterprise is still powered by the original, single expansion, twin-cylinder 12-horsepower engine made by Beverley Iron Co. in England. A shallow draft hull made it suitable for dealing with the river system's wildly varying water levels. Over nearly 150 years of service, the Enterprise has worked as a cargo ship, floating store, fishing vessel and houseboat. It is one of the oldest functioning paddle steamers in the world.
PS Enterprise was the first significant object purchased, in 1984, for the Museum by founding director Dr Don McMichael. At the time the government was deep in debate about funding a display space for the National Historical Collection and McMichael decided, in order to forward the case, that a dramatic, engaging object that told a comprehensive story about Australia in a multi-sensory way was needed. The PS Enterprise fulfilled that role. After a full refit in Echuca, the Enterprise was launched in Lake Burley Griffin in time for the Bicentenary celebrations of 1988.
PS Enterprise continues to be one of the National Museum of Australia's most important objects, looked after by a crew of dedicated volunteers and the museum's professional conservation staff.
Although the museum's doors are temporarily closed, staff are working behind the scenes to keep bringing Australia's remarkable stories to you online. There's something for kids and adults with videos, interactives and audio on demand.
Visit for details about other objects and exhibition.


Offline Roderick Smith

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Re: PS Enterprise- question for australian members
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2021, 11:47:38 AM »
OCTOBER 31 2020 National Museum's 1878 paddle steamer to return soon to the lake Megan Doherty
Paddle Steamer Enterprise hopes to be back in action soon.
The National Museum of Australia hopes to have its historic paddle steamer churning through the waters of Lake Burley Griffin again by as early as next week.
The 1878 paddle steamer Enterprise has been waylaid at the jetty of the museum for the past 10 months, unable to operate because of bushfire smoke and then the coronavirus.
New maritime laws have also strengthened safety rules and forced the museum to seek, for the first time, a manager to oversee the maritime operations of the vessel and help update the training of volunteers who would continue to crew it.
The museum's head of collection care and management, Linda Byrne, said the dedicated volunteers were mostly elderly, and the interior of the vessel was cramped and not made for 21st century social distancing, which had forced a stop to the regular cruises around the lake.
The National Museum's head of Collection Care and Management Linda Byrne with senior large technology conservator Nathan Pharaoh and large technology conservator Craig Webb this week with the 1878 Paddle Steamer Enterprise. Picture: Megan Doherty
The paddle steamer, run by a wood-fired boiler, is originally from Echuca, on the Murray River, and is one of oldest working paddle steamers in the world.
Senior large technology conservator Nathan Pharaoh said the vessel had been part of the museum collection since 1984, restored in Echuca before being moved to its new home on the lake in 1988.
"Throughout its life, it was used to pull barges up and down the Murray, mainly for wool trade," he said.
"It was also used as a hawker, which is basically a shop. It's been a fishing vessel, it's been a private residence, it's been a showboat. It's mainly been continuously operating since 1878."
Ms Byrne said modern-day maritime legislation had been updated and the museum was trying to navigate its way through it, with the help of the new manager, securing an exemption to get that done.
"Vessels of this age don't really fit neatly into that [legislation]," she said.
Cruises for the public were not practical because only nine people could be on the paddle steamer at a time, six of whom had to be crew.
Ms Byrne said the museum was implementing COVID-safe practices so the public could enjoy static displays of the paddle steamer, which could dock at different locations around the lake, especially during large events.
It was also keen to attract more volunteers to ensure the paddle steamer could be used into the future.
She hoped the paddle steamer could be again a fixture on the lake as early as next week.
One photo was a repeat of an earlier one, posted earlier in this thread.
Attached is the second.  201031Sa-'CanberraTimes'-PS_Enterprise

Offline John S

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Re: PS Enterprise- question for australian members
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2021, 05:01:03 PM »
If passengers cannot be carried why not revert to towing a period looking barge fitted with suitable seating, not much different then to railway transport or an open top single deck bus. John


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