The paddlesteamer Jane Eliza was built at Moama in 1867 and had a long career on the Murray-Darling River system working as a passenger and cargo vessel. In May 1883 to June 1886 the vessel set an inauspicious record for the longest river journey taking 37 months to steam 1,300 miles upstream from Morgan in South Austalia to Bourke on the upper Darling River, its progress having been impeded by low river flows.

In 1887, the Jane Eliza was acquired by George Chaffey and converted into a floating pumping barge to raise irrigation water from the river into the 35-foot channel near the old homestead at Mildura. The vessel was moored to the riverbank and allowed to float up and down with rising and falling water levels in the river. The installation of Jane Eliza as a temporary pumping plant advanced the development of the Mildura Irrigation Colonies by up to two years. After a temporary pumping plant was installed on the riverbank near the homestead in early 1889, the Jane Eliza was moved to Psyche Bend where it continued to work as a pumping plant until the Psyche Bend Pumping Station was completed in 1890.

Later the Jane Eliza resumed her former role on the river. The vessel's boiler survives at Renmark.

Description of Content

The paddlesteamer Jane Eliza, tied up at the riverbank of Murray River near the old homestead at Mildura, while working as a temporary pumping barge for the Chaffey Brothers irrigation settlement scheme. Two large centrifugal pumps are visible on the foredeck, driven by rope pulleys from the paddlesteamer's engines. A large outlet pipe extends from an elevated position in front of the wheelhouse to the riverbank where it discharges into an irrigation channel.

Physical Description

Black and white cellulose acetate negative.

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