Historical information

Built in 1866 in Echuca, the PS Adelaide is the oldest wooden hulled paddle steamer still operating as a passenger vessel in the world. Engines made in Melbourne by Fulton and Shaw. JG Grassie was the original owner who was looking for a wool carrying boat as a commercial venture with the arrival of the rail at the Port of Echuca making the future look bright. Seutonius and Charles Officer of Murray Downs Station joined Grassie in financing the venture and they used the boat for 6 years before David Blair and partners (Echuca sawmillers) bought the Adelaide in July of 1872 and she began her long working life as a logging boat providing a shuttle service between the forests around Barmah and the mill, usually towing up to 3 or 4 barges. The paddle boxes were rebuilt from round to a square configuration in approximately 1924 by Charles Felshaw, local Echuca shipwright. The Adelaide had unusual strength for her size. Her career ended in the mid 1950s where she lay idle tied up near the mill at Echuca wharf. For a short time she was sold to Mildura but fortunately the Apex Club raised funds to buy her back to be a reminder of the riverboat days at the Port. She was lifted out for safekeeping into Hopwood Gardens where she remained on show for nearly 25 years. After restoration by Port shipwright Keven Hutchinson OAM, she returned to the waters of the Murray River on Sunday March 4th 1984 at 5.20pm. After further restoration, in 1985 the Prince and Princess of Wales re-commissioned PS ADELAIDE in a ceremony on their tour of the region.


The world's oldest wooden hulled paddle steamer still operating as a passenger vessel today built in Echuca in 1866. It is often considered the flagship of the operational fleet of the Port of Echuca given its age and known provenance to Echuca. The Adelaide is an iconic symbol of the riverboat timber and cargo trade that worked on the Murray River from the mid 1800s. Remarkably, PS ADELAIDE still operates with its original Fulton and Shaw engines.

Physical description

Composite hull, side wheeler with two single cylinder steam engines, producing a total of 36hp. Currently cream and burgundy moored at the Echuca Wharf. 49 passenger capacity.

Inscriptions & markings

P.S. Adelaide signage on wheelhouse and port and starboard bow.