Matt Moran visits the beautiful Riverland Region in SA and jumps on board one of the iconic Paddle Steamers on the Murray River.
The Riverland is one of Australia’s major horticultural producing regions. Paddle steamers were used to carry produce and goods between stations and towns. The first paddle steamer was launched on the Murray River and in the Murray-Darling Basin in 1953 by William Randell, who launched the P.S Mary Ann.
• In the 1920’s the Riverland used paddle steamers mainly to deliver fruit and vegetables. Further upstream paddle steamers were used to tow barges and pick up wool clips from stations along the River.
• The P.S Industry paddle steamer was commissioned in 1911 and worked for South Australian Engineering and Water Supply department, assisting in the maintenance of locks and weirs along the Murray, before retiring in 1969.
• It was also a work boat for the water works, pulling out snags to clear the river for boats, as well as assisting in the contraction of the locks and wheels and bridges.
• In 1995, the P.S Industry was recommissioned as a historic passenger vessel and is still operating on the Murray River today in Renmark.
• Captain Paul has been driving the P.S Industry for ten years.
• Steam horns on paddle steamers were used frequently. Each paddle steamer had a unique whistle; people could determine which paddle steamer was approaching by the distinctive sound of it. They were also used as they approached sharp river bends to advise oncoming boats.
• Australia has a large collection of active paddle steamers.