• Short Summary

    She's one of last of her kind.

    The days of the big river boats along the?

  • Description

    She's one of last of her kind.

    The days of the big river boats along the Murray are over. Even the tourist paddle-streamers are disappearing from the scene.

    It's the Marion's last voyage. She's heading downstream to Mannum in South Australia. Captain Drage has been at the helm for 35 years, guiding the steamer through the locks.

    Lock Four at Book Purnong is one of the series of locks across the Murray begun too late to save the river-boats from the competition of trail and road.

    The Marion's been on the river more than 60 years, but her boilers are still capable of a reliable performance. The fireman - Arthur Hisgrove, a member of the National Trust, is kept busy feeding the furnace. Steam is up, ready to turn the paddle as the gates open.

    The Marion won't be passing here again.

    The Murray is its own museum, its banks strewn with reminders of the barges that carried the produce of the interior to the coastal ports.

    The last voyage was without incident - No snags or floating debris trapped the steamer - a common fate in the eighteen-seventies.

    For the crew, it was a busy time. At the end of the five-day voyage down river, the Marion would have to be ship-shape. She'd be tying up to become a museum.

    Not for passengers this trip.

    The staff here is kept on its toes just providing for the 34 crew members. In charge of the galley is the skipper's wife, Mrs. Drage.

    The galley once served the finer delicacies that appeal to the tourist palate. The dining room for years buzzed with the talk of travellers from all over Australia and from overseas.

    In her time the Marion's head many crewmen. At Bowhill she signed on one more hand - the Premier of South Australia, Sir Thomas Playford.

    The new crewman was issued with regulation kit, and then Captain Drage gave a quick resume of a deck-hand's duties...

    The new man's instruction was necessarily a hasty one. The journey of 2-hundred-and-40 miles was almost over.

    This was the end...they'd reached the river port of Mannum.

    The deck hand was again a Premier, who announce a Government grant of one-thousand pounds towards the preservation of the Marion.

    Captain Drage and his crew have completed their last voyage. For the last time, the mail goes ashore. The paddle steamer Marion has retired.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Black & White
    Time in/Out:

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