P.S. Ruby - historic riverboat
The P.S. Ruby will turn 100 in 2007. To celebrate her centenary, the newly renovated riverboat will aim to steam to Morgan in South Australia, where she was built.
Making P.S. Ruby new again
In 1996 a group of local volunteers undertook an 11-year renovation project to rebuild P.S. Ruby from the hull up. The refurbishment included:
- Completely replacing the wooden hull (360 red gum planks used)
- Fitting new wooden floors and new internal cabinetry
- A complete paint job including hull, decks, cabins, dining saloon etc
- A complete refit of electrics and plumbing etc
- Tying 10,000 knots by hand, using several kilometres of rope, to create the safety mesh for the handrails along both decks. This was done by a local 90-year-old fisherman.
- Creation of 35 patchwork quilts by the South Australian Quilters Guild and the Sunraysia Quilters to covers the bunks in the passengers' and crew's quarters
- Rebuilding the boiler and the Robey steam engine
The P.S. Ruby was built by David Milne in 1907 in the town of Morgan, South Australia. Her captain, Hugh King, used the 205-tonne vessel to deliver mail and ferry passengers along the Murray River between Morgan and Swan Hill.
In 1909 Ruby was bought by the newly formed Gem Navigation Company (which later became the Murray Steamship Company) and was updated with modern conveniences, including electric lights and fans in the cabins.
Ruby was retired in the early thirties and brought to Mildura in 1938 to be used as a houseboat. By 1968, in a state of disrepair, she was purchased by Wentworth Rotary Club and moored opposite the Wentworth wharf for 30 years. In 1996 Wentworth Shire Council took over responsibility for Ruby and a program of restoration started, under the guidance of Captain Leon Wagner and involving local groups and volunteers.
Style and comfort
P.S. Ruby was designed with a ‘shallow draught', which allowed her to operate even when river water levels were low. She has three decks - on top the wheelhouse and captain's quarters, the second deck housed the passengers, and the lower deck for cargo, quarters for the crew, the galley and engineer's cabin.
See the P.S. Ruby
At the conclusion of Ruby's birthday cruise and celebrations (in conjunction with the Tri-Annual Junction Rally for Historic Riverboats & Steam Machinery), she will be docked at Wentworth.
Visitors are welcome to come onboard every Tuesday and Wednesday when the volunteers are at work, or at any time you find the gates open in Fotherby Park, where she is in dry-dock.
Ph: 03 5027 3090 www.psruby.com