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Negative - Paddlesteamer Jane Eliza Working as a Pumping Barge for Chaffey Bros, Mildura, Victoria, circa 1888 Image Reg. No: MM 000169

The paddlesteamer Jane Eliza was built at Moama in 1867 and had a long career on the Murray-Darling River system working as a passenger and cargo vessel. In May 1883 to June 1886 the vessel set an inauspicious record for the longest river journey taking 37 months to steam 1,300 miles upstream from Morgan in South Austalia to Bourke on the upper Darling River, its progress having been impeded by low river flows.

In 1887, the Jane Eliza was acquired by George Chaffey and converted into a floating pumping barge to raise irrigation water from the river into the 35-foot channel near the old homestead at Mildura. The vessel was moored to the riverbank and allowed to float up and down with rising and falling water levels in the river. The installation of Jane Eliza as a temporary pumping plant advanced the development of the Mildura Irrigation Colonies by up to two years. After a temporary pumping plant was installed on the riverbank near the homestead in early 1889, the Jane Eliza was moved to Psyche Bend where it continued to work as a pumping plant until the Psyche Bend Pumping Station was completed in 1890.

Later the Jane Eliza resumed her former role on the river. The vessel's boiler survives at Renmark.
Black and white cellulose acetate negative.
Description Of Content:
The paddlesteamer Jane Eliza, tied up at the riverbank of Murray River near the old homestead at Mildura, while working as a temporary pumping barge for the Chaffey Brothers irrigation settlement scheme. Two large centrifugal pumps are visible on the foredeck, driven by rope pulleys from the paddlesteamer's engines. A large outlet pipe extends from an elevated position in front of the wheelhouse to the riverbank where it discharges into an irrigation channel.
Acquisition Information:
Copied from Mavis Heyward, 1985
The Biggest Family Album of Australia, Museum Victoria
Discipline: Technology

More information

Tagged with: industrial equipment, paddle steamers, rivers, did not resume her original role as a steamer but was converted to a pumping barge. offered for sale then sank at the downstream end of mildura wharf.
Themes this item is part of: Images & Image Making Collection, The Biggest Family Album in Australia Collection
Primary Classification: WATER TRANSPORT
Secondary Classification: Steam Power
Tertiary Classification: paddlesteamers - inland rivers
Organisations Depicted: Murray River
Format: Negative: Black & White; 35 mm
Place & Date Depicted: Mildura, Victoria, Australia, circa 1880
Creator: E Oswald Studio, circa 1880
References: Identification by Frank Tucker, 02/05/2010.
  1. [Book], Kaye Voullaire, Mildura Irrigation Settlement - The Early Years, The Sunraysia Daily, Mildura, 1985
  2. [Book], Brian Marshall, Paddle-Boats of the Murray-Darling River System, Mercury Publishing Co, Melbourne, 1988, pp.126-127. Pages


Frank Tucker Posted on 02 May 2010 5:05 PM
This is the PS Jane Eliza which the Chaffey Bros installed as their pumping plant at Psyche Bend, Mildure, prior to the Psyche Bend Pumping Station being constructed. C1888
Frank Tucker Posted on 01 Jul 2014 8:25 PM
After her role at Psyche Bend finished, Jane Eliza was towed to Renmark, stripped and converted to a pumping barge. She was then towed back to Mildura. Offered for sale at auction. Did not sell and eventually sank at the bottom end of Mildura wharf, where she lies to this day.

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