"There's money to be made on the river..." So goes a famous line quoted over one hundred years ago that marked the birth of a paddle steamer. The river? The Murray. The Steamer? The P.S. Canberra. Small, agile and something of a battler, the Canberra has been the quiet achiever amongst larger, more prominent vessels. From her humble beginnings as a fishing boat in a mosquito fleet to one of the longest serving tourist vessels, the Canberra is a boat that is loved by many. From teetotallers and soldiers to larrikins and hard workers, the Canberra has seen thousands of people cross her path during her life. With 100 years already on the water, the P.S. Canberra has made her mark on history and found her way into the memories of many. The Murray River. A paddle steamer. One hundred years of stories.
Beth Conner's love affair with paddle steamers started when she was five years old. Her grandfather Dave took her out on the P.S. Etona, a boat that had once belonged to the family. She grew up on the Murray River in Boundary Bend, wanting to learn everything she could about the river and the boats that had worked on the reaches. Captain Peter Garfield is a current skipper and engineer for the P.S. Canberra. Having started his career as a volunteer on the P.S. Enterprise on Lake Burley Griffin in the City of Canberra in 1989, Pete now lives in Echuca where he works on the P.S. Canberra as well as other vessels.