MURRAY RIVER SYSTEM SHIPWRECKS                      Enter here to bring up frames page with book codes if not already loaded.

The Murray River, with its joining rivers, the Murrumbidgee, and the Darling, is the greatest of Australia's rivers, forming, for a greater part of its length, the political boundary between Victoria and New South Wales. It is 2600 kilometres long, rising in the Great Diving Range about 1830 metres above sea level, and flows westward toward South Australia, where it flows south toward Lake Aexandria.  Discovered by Hamilton Hume and William Hovell in 1824, it was charted by Charles Stuart during his epic boat journey in 1830. From the mid-19th century, water navigation became the major form of transport linking the towns, and many splendid paddle wheelers were built, the first being the SS Lady Augusta, built by Francis Cadell in the 1850s.

By the early years of the 20th century, the railways, and the road system, saw the rapid demise of river transport for goods and passengers. The use of new and reconstructed bessels on the Murray is now predominaantly for the tourist trade. When the first locks were built on the Murray, they were established more for the control of qwater flow than any assistance for the vessels. The use of the Murray's water for irrigation and town use is a contentious issue for the three states bordering the river. This is a rather sad and incomplete list of vessels lost on the Murray. To do them justice, a great deal more work needs to be done to reference the excellent material that has been written about the Murray River steamboats.

Most of the references are from Loney [LAH,LV], althought at this stage, no specific authorative work has been referenced. The vessels listed here have been mentioned, somewhat in passing, by authors whose major interest has been in sea-going vessels
[74 records]

Associated links:  NEW SOUTH WALES         VICTORIA          SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Adelaide. Paddle steamer, iron, 58 tons gross. Built at Echuca, Victoria, 1866. Lbd 76.4 x 17 x 5 ft. Derelicct at Hopwood Park, Echuca (Murray River) for twenty-five years before ebing restored. [LH]

Agnes. Paddle steamer, wood, 110 tons. Built at Moama, NSW, 1877. Lbd 82 x 16.4 x 5.8 ft. Spent her final days as a barge for the Nagambie Sawmill & Steam Navigation Company. Abandoned in the lake above Goulburn weir (Murray River).  [LH]

Arbuthnot. Vessel of 41 tons. Burnt at Murrumbidgee junction, Murray River, 1913.  [LV]

Australien. Paddle steamer, composite, 58 tons. Built at Echuca, Victoria, 1897. Lbd 78 x 16 x 5 ft.Lies at the weir at Yarrawonga (Murray River).  [LH]

Beechworth. Paddle steamer,  202/141 tons. Burnt at Echuca, Murray River, 1867. [LV]

Blue Bells. Barge, 198 tons. Burnt at Echuca, Murray River, 1892. [LV]

Brewarrina. Paddle steamer, 28 tons. Lost on the Murrumbidgee, 1926.  [LAH]

Britannia. Paddle steamer, 186 tons. Built 1876. Destroyed by fire at Cragie Creek, Murray River, 23 July 1888. She was on her way to Wentworth. Several of the passengers and crew were badly burnt. [LS],[LAH]

Bunyip. Vessel of  277 tons. Built in 1858 as a double hulled vessel and when rebuilt in 1862 was converted to a single hulled stem-wheeler. Together with two barges, completely destroyed by fire about eleven kilometres above Chowilla Station, Murray River, 8 December, 1866. Two members of the crew and a child passenger lost their lives and most others on board suffered burns. One of the hulls of the Bunyip was converted into a schooner named Waterlily which traded on Lake Alexandrina before sinking off Point Malcolm, 1903. [LS]

Canally. Paddle steamer, 116 tons. Lost, 1957.  [LAH]

Captain Sturt. Paddle steamer, steel, 800 tons. Built at Cincinatti USA, shipped to Australia in sections, then assembled and fitted out at Mannum and Blanchetown, SA, in 1915.  Lbd 116 x 27.5 x 4.8 ft. Believe still exists as operating vessel or display. [LH]

Clara. Paddle steamer, 79 tons. Built 1816. Burnt to the water's edge at Morgan on the Murray River,  11 June, 1880. Attempts to scuttle her failed. [LS],[LAH]

Colonel. Paddle steamer, iron, 58 tons gross. Built at Echuca, Victoria, 1895. Lbd 80.5 x 1 3.9 x 5 ft. Believe still exists as operating vessel or display. [LH]

Coorawa. Steamer. Sank in deep water near Morgan, Murry River, January,1930. [LS],[LAH]

Cumberoona. Paddle steamer, 142 tons. Struck rocks near Wilcannia, NSW, and abandoned, 1889.  [LAH] ,[LV]

Edwards. Vessel of 78 tons. Sank near Echuca, Murray River, 1958. [LV]

Emily Jane. Paddle steamer, 90 tons. Burnt at Wentworth, Murray River, 1889. [LV],[LAH]

Endeavour. Paddle steamer. Sank in the Murray River about ten miles from Euchuca, 1866. [LV]

Express. Paddle steamer, 17 tons. Destroyed by fire at Euston, Murray River, 1878.  [LAH],[LV]

Gem. Composite paddle steamer. Built at Moama NSW, 1876.  Lengthened to 133.6 x 20.7 x 6.6 ft. Had a varied career as a barge, cargo boat and passenger steamer. Towed from Mildura to Swan Hill (Muray River) in 1962 for restoration. Now lies in an artificial pond at Swan Hill, part of the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement.  [LH]

Glimpse. Paddle steamer,  18 tons. Burnt at Echuca, Murray River, 1886. [LV]

Hartley. Vessel type not recorded. Sank opposite the Murray Bridge wharf,1909. [LS]

Hero. Paddle steamer, 137 tons.  Burnt at Boundary Bend, Murray River, 1957. [LV]

Hero. Wooden paddle steamer, 82 tons. Built at Echuca, 1874. Lbd 92.2 x 17 x 6.3. Burnt at her moorings at Nyah West (Murray River) in 1959.  [LH]

Industry. Wooden paddle steamer, 91 tons. Built at Swan Point, 1876. Lbd 98.8 x 15.3 x 5.9 ft. Believe still exists as operating vessel or display. [LH]

Invincible. Composite paddle steamer, 84 tons. Built at Echuca, 1889. Lbd 91 x 20.2 x 5.5 ft. Believe still exists as operating vessel or display. [LH]

Kingfisher. Paddle steamer, 23, Sydney, 1872. Broken up Echuca, Vic, Aug, 1895. [ASR]

Lady Darling. Paddle steamer, 169 tons. #43147. Built South Australia, 1864; reg.  Melbourne, 17/1867. Length 95.5 ft.  Left Echuca with 60 tons of general cargo for Wahgunyah; lost on the Murray River, near Moama, 23 August,  1866.
[SAN],[LAH - destroyed 1867],[LV]

Lady of the Lake. Paddle steamer, 40 tons. Sunk, total loss, in the Murray River during a flood.  [LAH]

Marion. Iron paddle steamer, 157 tons. Built 1897. Lbd 107.9 x 22.6 x 5.2 ft. Believe still exists as operating vessel or display. [LH]

Melbourne. Paddle steamer, 153 tons. Lost on the Murray River bar, 1859. [LAH]

Melbourne. Wooden paddle steamer, 69 tons. Built 1912..Believe still exists as operating vessel or display. [LH]

Merle. Paddle steamer, 87 tons. Built 1904. The eighteen passenger vessel was well known on the Murray for more than 50 years; burned and sank at Murray Bridge, 1 March.1958  [LS],[LAH]

Moira. Paddle steamer, 90 tons. Burnt near Echuca, Murray River, 1904. [LV],[LAH]

Moolgewanke. Paddle steamer, 271 tons. Built 1866. A boiler explosion at Swan Reach claimed
three lives, 1874. The hull was not badly damaged and was converted into a barge which was also destroyed by fire many years later. [LS],[LAH]

Murrumbidgee. Paddle steamer, 108 tons.  Destroyed by fire, 1948. [LAH]
Also listed:
Murumbidge. Vessel of 108 tons.  Burnt near Goulburn junction, Murray River, 1943. [LV]

Nangus. Unregistered paddle steamer. Sunk by a snag near Wagga, 1867.  [LAH]

Nile. Vessel of 44 tons. Burnt at Echuca Murray River, 1926. Later rebuilt. [LV] [LAH]

Paringa. Paddle steamer, 148 tons. Destroyed by fire at Wentworth, Murray River, 1890. [LV],[LAH]

Pearl. Paddle steamer, 118 tons. Destroyed by fire at Echuca, Murray River, 1898. [LV],[LAH]

Proud Mary. Houseboat, 40 tons. Gutted by fire at Murray Bridge, 1985. [LS]

Providence. Paddle steamer, 78 tons. A boiler explosion on  the Darling River left five dead, 1872. [LAH]

Queen. Paddle steamer, 165. Built 1865. After an eventful life on the river the was destroyed by fire at Mypolonga, 13 September 1928.  [LS],[LAH]

Renmark. Paddle steamer, 152 tons. Built 1912. Burnt to the water's edge at Goolwa, 2
February1951. She has recently been refitted for the tourist trade.  [LS],[LAH]

Riverina. Vessel of 87 tons. Burnt near Echuca Murray River, 1883. Later rebuilt. [LV]

Rodney. Paddle steamer, 196 tons. Burnt on the Darling River during the shearers' strike, 1894. [LAH]

Roma. Paddle steamer, 67 tons. Built 1884. Bound to Goolwa with wool,  was destroyed by fire near Tailem Bend on 26 December 1886.  Apparently the extremely hot weather and heat from the funnel were responsible. [LS],[LAH]

Sapphire. Vessel type not recored. Burnt at Renmark, Murray River, 1915. [LS]

Shamrock. Paddle steamer, 20 tons. Destroyed by fire at Ral RalCreek, 1895. [LAH]
Not sure if this is on the Murray.

Struggler. Unregistered paddle steamer. Destroyed by fire  when moored near Mannum, March 1928. She was used originally to transport livestock and was later fitted out to accommodate fishing parties. [LS],[LAH]

Vesta. Paddle steamer, 29 tons. Built 1867. Struck a sandbar near Overland Corner, 8 July 1882. [LS],[LAH]

Victor. Paddle steamer, 76/64 tons. Sunk; declared total loss, Murray River (location not recorded), 1912.  [LAH],[LV]

Wahgunyah. Vessel of 96 tons. Burnt at Echuca, Murray River, 1878. [LV]

Waikerie. Steamer, 82 tons.  Built 1911. Burnt at Morgan, Murray River, night of 12
September 1929. [LS]
Waikerie. Paddle steamer, 82 tons. Destroyed by fire at Morgan, 1929.  [LAH]

Wanda. Steamer, wood, 29 tons. Built at Lake Tyers, Gippsland, 1902.  Lbd 46.8 x 9.4 x 4.6 ft. Renamed Dorothy, transfered by wagon to Lake Colac, Victoria, where she was lost on a mudbank, possibly 1916. [LSS],[LV - built 1897]

Water Witch. Wooden cutter, 25 tons. Built Hobart, 1834; reg. Hobart, then Port Adelaide in June 1839. Lbd 35.6 x 16 x 6.7 ft. Government owned vessel, bought to replace the brig Rapid. Sank in a gale at her moorings in the River Murray, at the government station Moorundie two miles below modern Blanchtown, 5 December 1842.  She was never refloated. [LS],[ASW1]
Also listed, and obviously the same vessel:
Watenvitch. Wooden cutter, 25 tons. Sunk at Moorundie on the  Murray River, 1842. [LAH]

Waterlily. Wooden schooner. Built from one of the hulls of the vessel Bunyip, lost in the Murray River in 1866. Sunk in Lake Alexandrina, 1903.  [LAH]

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