Paddle Steamer “Enterprise” – Canberra

Posted by jerry on January 18th, 2009 — Posted in Journal, Steam

The National Museum of Australia has a fully operating paddle steamer – the PS Enterprise – which is open to the public. It is operated by volunteers and they have done a great job of keeping this 130 year old vessel in good shape.

PS Enterprise

The vessel is 17.3. long, 8m wide and has a net tonnage of 42.7 tonnes – so the fact that the vessel only has a shallow draft – essential for a river boat.

The paddle steamer, made of river red gums, was built in Echuca and launched in 1878. It plied its trade up and down the Murray River. It has operated as a floating store, been used as a houseboat and as a fishing vessel. In 1988 the vessel was recommissioned by the National Museum of Australia after a through overhaul and restoration at Echuca in South Australia, and transport overland to Canberra. It is a great piece of Australian heritage. It was acquired by the NMA in 1984 and has been cruising Lake Burley Griffin for the last 20 years.

Here are some detail views of the engine – a 12HP twin cylinder double-acting steam engine which drives the paddles via a chain drive. The vessel operates at around 50psi pressure, but can run on less. The boiler is a fire-tube boiler with exhaust steam providing extra draft for the fire. Top speed is around 5 knots (9kph). It is wood-fired. The feedwater pump takes water from the lake for use in the boiler, and the water is regularly tested for impurities – acidity, calcium etc as part of the conservation plan. And the boiler undergoes annual certification for safety.

PS Enterprise

PS Enterprise

PS Enterprise

PS Enterprise

PS Enterprise

PS Enterprise

The donkey engine generates reserve power for the batteries to keep lights and communications working.
PS Enterprise

PS Enterprise

And here is the galley – where food is cooked for the crew and the kettle is on for coffee – perhaps the true ‘engine room’!

PS Enterprise

Cheers
Jerry

4 Comments »

Comment by Echuca Accommodation

Have you had a chance to see the current fleet of paddlesteamers operating from the Port of Echuca? A great spectacle and worth the trip. For good photos I would recommend the the riverbank betwwen the wharf and the information centre. Jamie E.A

Posted on January 20, 2009 at 8:19 am

Comment by Annie Florence

Greetings – do you have any information regarding the Captains of The Enterprise as I have recently been told that my grandfather (Newman) captained such a paddle steamer? thank you.

Posted on June 27, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Comment by jerry

Hi Annie
You could try here first:
http://www.nma.gov.au/collections-search/display?irn=37961

Then you could contact the National Museum of Australia and I’m sure they would be happy to provide you with what they have on previous Captains.

Cheers
Jerry

Posted on June 27, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Comment by Abdur Razzak

I just want to thank to National Museum of Australia for their announce to open paddle steamer – the PS Enterprise for public.It is so good news for me. In Bangladesh also open for public to visit.We have a fleet of century old paddle steamers in Bangladesh which are still in operation. You can check it here if you are interested: Paddle steamers in Bangladesh

Posted on February 24, 2014 at 4:50 am

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