Paddle boats on the Murray River, South Australia

Paddle boats on the Murray River, South Australia

The paddle steamers on the Murray were the b-double trucks of 150 years ago. They were the lifeblood transport of many parts of outback Australia in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. They have been on the Murray River since 1853 when William Randell launched the PS Mary Ann near Mannum in South Australia.

These pics of Murray River Paddle Boats give you a picture of what it was once like. Many of them are now diesel powered rather than steam powered, so they cannot be called paddle steamers. The are a number of true steamers left, including the PS Marion at Mannum, the oldest paddle steamer in Australia, the PS Adelaide operating in the Echuca area, and the PS Melbourne operating in the Mildura area.

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Aussie Stories - telling about Australia in words and pictures

Paddle Boat 'Murray Princess', in the grand style of years past. Murray River, Mannum, South Australia
Paddle Boat Murray Princess, in the grand style of years past. Murray River, Mannum, South Australia. Note that this is a stern wheeler, with the paddle at the back. Other paddle boats were side wheelers, with a paddle on each side. This one is a 'PB', Paddle Boat, rather than 'PS' Paddles Steamer, because she is diesel powered.

Copyright © Koole Imaging

A smaller paddle boat, in a more modern style, Murray River, Mannum, South Australia
A smaller paddle boat, in a more modern style, Murray River, Mannum, South Australia. Note the side mounted paddle wheels.

Copyright © Koole Imaging

Paddle Steamer 'Melbourne', in the grand style of years past. Murray River, Mildura, Victoria, Australia
Paddle Steamer PS Melbourne, in the grand style of years past. Murray River, Mildura, Victoria, Australia. This is a true steam powered, side wheel, paddle steamer. April 2012

Copyright © Willem Schultink

Paddle Steamer PS Melbourne, in the grand style of years past. Steaming on the Murray River, Mildura, Victoria, Australia. This is a video taken in April 2012.

Copyright © Willem Schultink