The P.S Australien was built in 1897 by Richard Wilson, of Moama, at Echuca. In 1937 it was used to tow boilers, winches, derricks etc. for construction of Locks 6,7,9 and Yarrawonga Weir. Presently awaiting restoration at Echuca. The barge Vega was built in 1911, by Franz Wallin at Moama . It sank in 1958 at Merbein, but was salvaged c. 1973 and is now housed at Swan Hill museum. ( Ref Parsons, Ronald. "Ships of the Inland Rivers." ) p.139.
The P.S Australien is significant because it is one of the oldest Paddle steamers built at Echuca. It was a working vessel during the construction of the Yarrawonga weir in the 1930's which was the beginning of the irrigation system which enabled the Agriculture Industry to become such a prominent industry in the Murray-Darling River Basin. The barge Vega was also built in Moama. It was a working barge for 47 years , before sinking at Merbein, in South Australia. In this photograph the steering apparatus can be seen attached over the top of the load on the barge. People can be seen standing on the lower deck of the paddle steamer. They could possibly be passengers. The wheelhouse of the paddle steamer is draped with a piece of tarpaulin, there is a man standing beside the wheelhouse dressed in a suit and hat.
This is a photograph of the P.S Australien, and the barge Vega tied together and moored to the river bank. The position is unknown. The barge has a load of building materials and a boiler on board.
Inscriptions & markings
On the paddle steamer are the words Australien and on the barge are the words Vega.