Model of "Charlotte Dundas" paddle steamer, made circa 1852.

Steam powered vessel designed by William Symington of Scotland, and constructed about 1801-2. Generally regarded as the first practical vessel built for, and equipped with a steam engine. Symington received a patent for his marine steam engine design on 14 October 1801. The model is believed to have been made by the inventor's son, Andrew Symington, about 1852 and was brought to Victoria by another son, William Symington, in 1855. The Charlotte Dundas was a stern wheel paddle steamer for towing boats on the Forth and Clyde Canal. It was later banned by the canal owners for allegedly causing damage to the banks from her wash.

The model was exhibited at 1888 Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition. The official catalogue of the 1888 exhibition, p.671, lists "model of the 'William Symington' of 1802. The first practical steamboat. This model is the very one made by the inventor himself". It is listed as being exhibited by Thos. Wallace of Osborne Street, Williamstown, who also exhibited a model of a yacht. Family tradition is that this model was first exhibited at the 1866 Inter-colonial Exhibition in Melbourne. The model was loaned to the Museum by William Symington in 1889 and subsequently donated.

Physical Description

Wooden paddle steamer model. The deck can be lifted away to reveal the inner workings (including the wheel and model engine) of the model. The model has a single chimney and a wheel mounted onto the deck at the bow.

More Information