The History of Paddle Steamer Hero - One of the worlds oldest paddle steamer
The Hero was built at Echuca in 1874 by George Linklater, the same person who built the world's oldest paddle steamer, the PS Adelaide in 1866. Hero worked the river trade until the 1930s when she was sold to Arbuthnot Sawmills where she worked as a logging boat. In 1942, the Hero and two barges were purchased by the Forests Commission and moved to Echuca for restoration.
The refurbished Hero and barges were put to work carting firewood from Barmah Forest to the Echuca Wharf where the firewood was transported to Melbourne by rail. The firewood had been cut into 1 foot blocks using Italian prisoners of war for labour. On one journey, enough wood was carted to fill thirty-two rail trucks.
In 1950 the Hero and barges moved to Mildura after being sold to the Collins Bros. During the 1952 floods, she and a barge steamed down to Renmark where they would cart firewood for the steam pumps at Berri & Renmark.
1956 saw the Hero sold to Chislett Bros at Boundary Bend where she again worked as a logging boat. During the floods of that year she rescued flood bound cattle. In january of 1957 she caught fire, was badly burnt and later sank. Over the years she was stripped and slowly deteriorated. Her paddle wheels were removed and installed on todays P.S. Pride of the Murray.
In 1989 Gary and Irene Byford purcahsed what remained of the Hero. Several attempts were made to raise her until eventually, in Febuary 1998, the hull was finally raised, loaded onto a semitrailer and brought to Echuca. After heavy repairs to her hull, she was refloated in September 2000 and completely restored.
Fully Restored Hero
Hero is a first class luxury paddle steamer fitted-out to the finest detail. Now available exclusively for private charter, overnight accommodation, weddings, events and corporate occassions, Hero is an unforgetable experience offering enchanted journeys along one of Australia's greatest rivers.
Hero is 28 meters long and fully licencsed to carry up to 75 passengers in unequaled comfort. The restoration is of a design and quality unmatched by other river-faring vessels.
Hero`s legendary heritage and Victorian era splender marry the past to today, resulting in an historical vessel that is a heady mix of today`s technology and old-world elegance.
On board, the cleverly concealed comercial kitchen and bar gives Hero the capacity to cater without compromise.
A wedding on board the Hero is a truly pleasurable experience and one that will not easily be forgotton. All guests have an unobstructed view of the wedding ceremony, and use of the vessel's state-of-the-art sound system and microphone.
The Hero crew and Steampacket Inn staff will take great pride in helping to make your function, charter and overnight stay perfect, although it is not that hard when you already start with the special atmosphere created by being on the beautiful Murray River itself.