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PS Melbourne

Vessel Number: HV000503
Date: 1912
Vessel Dimensions: 29.87 m x 6.4 m (98 ft x 21 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
PS MELBOURNE is a Murray River paddle steamer that was launched at Koondrook in Victoria on the Murray River in 1912. It was built for the Victorian Government as a work boat, and was fitted with a large winch used for hauling fallen trees and snags from the river to keep the main channel open for navigation by other paddle steamers. PS MELBOURNE was used for many public works along the Murray River, assisting with bridge, weir and lock construction. It remains operating in 2012 as an excursion vessel with its original engine and boiler.
DescriptionPS MELBOURNE is 29 .87m (98 feet) long, 6.4m (21 feet) wide at the waterline and 12.2 m (40 feet) across the top of the paddles. Like other paddle steamers, it has an almost flat bottom with very shallow draught and can operate fully laden in less than 1.22m depth of water. In 2012 operating as an excursion vessel PS MELBOURNE is licensed to carry 300 passengers.

It was built for the Victorian government but was later bought by Evans Brothers Timber Mills at Echuca and used for logging. When road transport became more viable it was left moored against the river bank until 1965 when it was purchased by Captain Alby Pointon and his wife Freda. After extensive boiler and hull repairs, PS MELBOURNE's boiler was again relit for the first time in 23 years, in preparation for her long voyage from Echuca to Mildura. Once at Mildura, Captain Pointon began the arduous task of carefully restoring the key elements of the PS MELBOURNE while converting the old work boat into a passenger carrying tour boat. The old steam engine was originally built by the Marshall engineering Company in England. The boiler is referred to as a Loco type with a maximum steam pressure of 150lbs and is still fired by wood. This in turn drives a twin-cylinder compound engine, which at normal cruising speed turns at about 60 rpm or 130 rpm at its maximum speed of 11 miles per hour or 7.3 knots.

PS MELBOURNE departed Mildura Wharf on its maiden voyage carrying passengers on the 1st January 1966. It has attracted passengers from all over the world with the unique feature of travelling downstream through Lock 11, which was built to bypass the weir across the river. Passengers can experience the workings of a lock as PS MELBOURNE is lowered to the downstream level and raised again on the return journey. PS MELBOURNE has operated continuously in Mildura for the past 40 years, and in 1990 was the Victorian Tourism Award Winner for Excellence. Still owned and operated by the Pointon family, PS MELBOURNE operates alongside along with PV ROTHBURY and MUNDOO providing cruises along the Murray River at Mildura.

Prepared with assistance from the Register of Australian and New Zealand Ships and Boats compiled by Mori Flapan;
Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:operational
Deck layout:multiple decks
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:flat bottom
Hull shape:monohull
Motor propulsion:paddle steamerpaddle wheelerPSsternwheeler
Propeller:side wheel
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel

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