Paddlewheeler

pedaling in the river

This sternwheeler made its maiden voyage on the Murray River back in 1977. Second hand timber flooring straddling a pair of catamaran hulls made up of five 44 gallon drums provided a large enough deck to carry victuals for a week’s cruising for the crew of four.

The bench seat accommodated two pedallers powering the paddle wheel via bike chains and gearing. Normally, one pedaller was adequate to provide steerage way while heading downstream. At full power with two pedallers top speed was around two knots. Since the river current was mostly somewhat higher than this there was no going back, and a sharp lookout had to kept for landing places well in advance.

It took just under a week to cover the 80 odd river kilometres from Tocumwal to Echuca, a leisurely cruise, camping on the river bank overnight, a most enjoyable holiday.

”Paddlewheeler”
”Paddle