Paddleboat travels north through Bourke


Pride of the Murray approaches the water tower making its way through Bourke. Photo Noel Fisher

Richard Kinnon of Outback Pioneers at Longreach – new owner of the Pride of the Murray, at North Bourke last Thursday. Photo Ian Cole

An historic paddleboat made an epic journey by road from Echuca through Cobar and Bourke last week and is now at her final resting place at the Outback Pioneer tourism centre in Longreach.

In the process, the Pride of the Murray made history and added another chapter to her chequered life.

A film crew recorded the 1000-kilometre road trip which will air as a documentary later. It’s a story worth telling.

The Pride of the Murray is part of the legacy of the paddleboats that plied their trade up and down the Murray Darling until the early years of the 20th century.

Dean Miller is a videographer who has a passion for the history of the outback, and paddleboats in particular, and said the logistics of transporting the 100-tonne vessel by road through the far west was a feat of engineering and skill.

Mr Miller said it was the biggest operations of its kind ever seen in Australia.

“It’s been a saga, no doubt about that,” he said.

“In trucking terms it’s the biggest movement undertaken of its kind in the southern hemisphere ever.

“The trailer is 38 metres long and is towed by a 700 horsepower Volvo transporter. The trailer has 154 wheels and the sets of eight wheels have their own axle.

“It was difficult to schedule the route because we had to consider road signs and bridge rails and in some cases that came down to a matter of millimetres.

“There were 40 people involved in the move and the breadth of the boat is 8 metres - which is the width of a two-lane highway and there were two pilot vehicles and a police car to escort her,” Mr Miller said.


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