PS Melbourne’s centenary

Article image - PS Melbourne’s centenary PS Melbourne arriving at Mildura City. Photo supplied by Vision House Photography/Mildura Tourism Inc. The picturesque banks of the Mildura riverfront were alive with festival-goers celebrating the 100th birthday of the PS Melbourne in September 2012.

Close to 15,000 spectators came out to see the 40+ river boats including seven heritage paddle steamers, wooden paddle/riverboats and cruisers from three states
“Apart from the number of boats attending, the number of people that turned out to welcome the boats was wonderful,” said PS Melbourne Manager and daughter of the late Alby Pointon, Lyn McKenzie.

The official ceremony took place in front of the PS Melbourne and commenced with a poem by Brian Hunt of the Barkindju River People of the Darling.

The Mayor welcomed visitors to Mildura and told the story of the late Alby Pointon, owner of the PS Melbourne, and his collection of paddle steamers.

Lyn McKenzie spoke on behalf of the family when she told the crowds of the genesis of the event.

“Approximately 10 months ago I received information from Mannum Dock Museum that the PS Marion was coming to Mildura for the Melbourne’s centenary and that was the start of this grand event.

“Before long, the Marion was fully supported by the Oscar W from Goolwa, the Industry from Renmark, the Ruby from Wentworth and the Adelaide from Echuca.

“These boats have all been restored, and looked after by people who have a passion for the history, and character, of the Murray River paddle steamers and the river trade, past and present and into the future.

“My father, Captain Alby Pointon, had that passion and it is a tribute to him, that all these boats are here today, and Mildura’s iconic Paddle Steamer Melbourne has been so honored. Our family is overwhelmed.

“This is the united opportunity we have to promote the Murray River — full steam ahead everyone, and may the big wheels keep on turning,” said Lyn.

“It was an amazing day to be on the water and it was a privilege to be involved in such a significant event and to have so many heritage paddle steamers in Mildura all in operation. It was an impressive effort on behalf of the organisers, crews and volunteers,” said PS Melbourne Captain Scott Thorp.