PS Industry history
The PS Industry was designed and built by AJ Inches of Melbourne at Goolwa South Australia in 1910. Mr GB Wilson was the engineer in charge of construction with Captain George Grundy supervising the building of the superstructure at a cost of £3,858.
She replaced an older Paddle Steamer, also called the ‘Industry’ which was built at Swanport near Murray Bridge in 1876. The New PS Industry was Commissioned on January 11th, 1911.
After the completion of the Locks, Weirs and Barrages she was used by the River Murray Commission and later the E&WS Department with her own ‘plant’, consisting of many different barges for pile-driving, a floating crane, mobile pumping station etc. doing various works along the river including wharf construction, de-snagging the River from Wentworth to Wellington and later, the standardisation of the Locks in the 1960’s.
In February 1950 the Derrick Crane on her foredeck was fitted from the PS Tarella and this enabled her to remove snags a lot easier than by block and tackle and using nearby trees.
During the 1956 flood the PS Industry ‘stood by’ with steam up for several days ready for any emergency during those critical days of the flood when a total evacuation of Renmark appeared imminent.
In 1968, the PS Industry was decommissioned following 60 years of service with the E & WS and following a submission to the Premier, Hon. Don Dunstan, the Corporation of the Town of Renmark was allocated the Steamer to be used as an Historic Museum.
She was pushed to Renmark over a three-day voyage by two smaller motor launches and watched by thousands of people on the banks. In August 1975 she opened to the public as a static display. In 1973, a basin to house the vessel was constructed alongside the Renmark Irrigation Trust’s Pumping Station. The PS Industry opened as a static museum in 1975. During this time, the vessel proved a popular tourist attraction, however in the late 1980’s the move to restore her to working condition began to gather momentum.
The PS Industry operates under steam as it once did and conducts scheduled steaming days about 20 times a year when the general public can experience the atmosphere of a bygone era. The PS Industry’s home is now at moorings behind the Visitors Information Centre in Renmark. Visitors can access and board the vessel through the Information Centre.
Length: 112 ft. (34.14 metres)
Width: 19.3 ft. (5.8 metres.) 34.8ft (10.6 metres) over the Paddle Boxes
Draught: 3.9ft. (1.2 metres)
Hull Construction: Composite. – Iron Topsides with 3 inch thick Spotted Gum Planks (originally Kauri Planking)
Engines: 2 Cylinder Direct-Acting 30hp non-condensing Steam Engines – 13 inch Cylinder Heads, 2.6ft. Stroke. Built by A. Robert’s & Sons in Bendigo, Victoria in 1910.
Boiler: Locomotive Type – Wood-Fired Steam Boiler. Originally capable of 120psi (now regulated to 100psi) Built by Perry Engineering in Mile End, Adelaide, South Australia in 1933. – it’s the second boiler in the boat. The original was built by A. Robert’s & Sons and was a matching set with the Engines.
Paddle Wheels: 14ft. (4.26 metre) diameter, 14 Red Gum Paddle Floats. Fastest Speed: 32rpm Cruising Speed: 28rpm Top Speed: 14.5kmph (7.8 knots) Overall Weight: 97.5 Tons.
Her claims to fame:
- The Fastest Steam-Powered Paddle Steamer in South Australia.
- She was the Last operational Paddle Steamer in the river trade (non-passenger or tourist) when she was retired in October 1969.
- Fastest Paddle Boat at the Wentworth Junction Rally, 1992.
- One of only 6 heritage Paddle Steamers to have never been sunk.
It will be largely thanks to the efforts of many volunteers and community sponsors that the PS Industry will be able to be enjoyed by many more generations of Australians.
In June 1990, a public meeting was held to gauge the level of interest in the restoration of the PS Industry and through this meeting a ‘Friends of the Industry’ voluntary group was formed to oversee the restoration of the vessel under the supervision of shipwright Andrew Cook.
After many efforts to restore her to an operation standard by the volunteers, the Council finally agreed and the PS Industry was dry-docked in early 1990 with substantial work done to her deteriorating hull.
She steamed again on October 19th, 1990 only one day before she was set to leave Renmark, bound for Morgan to star in the ABC Mini-Series: ‘The River Kings’ as the PS Lady Mabel.
Following complications in early 1994, the ‘Friends of the Industry’ and the Corporation of Renmark approached the Minister for Transport with regard to securing a loan for final restoration work of the vessel. This would enable the PS Industry to gain its survey standard which was so integral to its operation as a passenger vessel.
What followed was almost a year of hard work by volunteers to bring the vessel to survey standard. Modifications such as replacing steering chains below deck and reinforcing windows were long term jobs done with the assistance of volunteers.
On 16th July 1995, the PS Industry was re-commissioned as an historic passenger type vessel.
Since then the PS Industry has attended many River Events from Mildura to Goolwa. In April 2011 she celebrated her 100th Birthday with a huge weekend at Renmark, with more than 10 Paddle Steamers and other boats of all descriptions attending.
Come along for a cruise!
Bookings now available! Individual and group bookings can be made by phoning the Renmark Paringa Visitor Information Centre on 1300 661 704 or 8580 3060. Payment to be made on booking.