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Vessel Number: HV000166
Date: 1884
Registered Dimensions: 14.48 m x 6.71 m, 14.71 tons (47.5 ft x 22 ft)
Vessel Dimensions: 15.85 m x 6.71 m x 0.61 m (52 ft x 22 ft x 2 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
MAYFLOWER is a Murray River paddle steamer built in 1884 at Moama in NSW. It is the oldest original paddlesteamer in South Australia. The first owner was Black Alex, a legendary figure in the river's history.
DescriptionMAYFLOWER was built at Moama on the Murray River in NSW, opposite Echuca by Wilson and Burkett. Black Alex was a West Indian Negro whose real name was Daniel Alexander. By all accounts he was an impressive figure, and the stories about him exaggerate his strength, while he claimed to be the greatest swearer and talker on the river.

Black Alex and his Australian wife ran the paddle steamer between them. It is carvel planked in red gum on steel frames. It has a flat bottom and light draft enabling it to work on many of the Murray River tributaries as well. MAYFLOWER was low powered and this caused problems when making headway up stream against the current.

Black Alex collected bottles and carried firewood before the craft was seized in Hay by the National Bank when he ran into debt. He seized it back one night and made for the Murray River where he was arrested at Swan Hill. The craft was taken over by his bankers again and eventually sold to Billy 'Pirate' Wilson.

Amongst its subsequent owners were the Creager brothers from Renmark who removed the top deckhouses and used MAYFLOWER as a fishing steamer for a period before it was left idle, falling into disrepair. It then went through a succession of owners on the Murray, including N. Collins, Captain Alby Pointon, Captain Paddy Hogg, Tommy Barr-Smith from Lake Victoria Station and Stan Wilson a retired merchant seaman from Swan Hill. Captain Pointon installed a diesel engine in place of the steam engine and boiler in the mid 1950s. It then became the MAYFLOWER Show Boat for many years.

The current owners bought MAYFLOWER at Swan Hill in 1984 and have used it as a private vessel. It retains the diesel engine and side-wheels and has a reconstructed superstructure that reflects the original arrangement.

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:operational
Deck layout:cabin
Deck layout:full decked
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:flat bottom
Hull shape:monohull
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Propeller:side wheel
Related materials:film
Related materials:news clippings
Related materials:photos
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
ships:Byzantine ships:ships:ship:wheelhouse
Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: HB023

Official Number: 89328

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