I have been asked about the paddlesteamer positioned in the picture at the end of my latest Blog post.
Paddle steamers were once a common sight on the Murrumbidgee River in Wagga, although that was generally before the railway arrived. According to Keith Swan’s book “A History of Wagga Wagga”, the steamers “Corrong” and “Wagga Wagga” were employed to take railway construction material downstream to Narranderra (where the railway there was being built), and cut redgum timber back to Wagga in 1879, and 1880. The transport of redgum sleepers from the Narranderra sawmill via the river continued until 1914 according to Keith Swan. Upstream activity to Mundarlo for limestone occurred occassionly.
|Riverboat on the Murrumbidgee, believed at Wagga dock in the 18870s|
You can still ride a commercial sight seeing boat on the Murrumbidgee twice a week Unfortunately, it is an oversided “Tinny” rather than a paddlesteamer.
Paddlesteamers can still be found on the Murray River, where one can get an authentic feel. And if Echuca is too far, then the PS Enterprise is in Canberra on Lake Burley Griffin. So it is not too far fetched that a paddlesteamer may make it again to Wagga.
|Pevensey at Echuca Dock. VR Railway shed on the Righthand side of the picture|
|Steaming on the Murray. Note the water colour|
|PS Adelaide at Echuca in the 2010 flood|
I have had an interest in paddle steamers for many years. When LJ Models brought out their kits of PS Adelaide, and PS Pevensey in the 1990s, I bought both. Instead of building the kits, I used the plans to construct versions in wood. Both my models remain uncompleted.
|My unfinished scratch built paddlesteamers, PS Pevensey, and PS Adelaide.|
About 10 years later, came the sad news that Fred Gill MMR, had passed away. Fred was very influential in the hobby, and many of his scratch building articles and tips in early AMRM magazines are still inspiring. (hint: search for his name in the on-line AMRM Index) The NMRA was asked to find homes for his models, and the lists included the PS Adelaide. The start price was reasonable, and I was successful in my bid. I expected it to be the LJ models kit version, so I was very surprised when it wasn’t. The model is is exquisite in the detail.
Unfortunately, there was some postal damage to the wheelhouse, and the stay support post, but these were easy to fix.
|Fred Gill's, PS Adelaide - with some damage to the wheelhouse, and stay post|
After repair, I thought I would see the differences. My model is based on the LJ Models kit, and is close to the present configuration, (which I photographed in 2010 - picture earlier in this blogpost)
So, as my tribute to Fred, I will proudly display his model on my river. I hope you will all allow me this indulgence