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Paddle steamer model

At a glance

  • Paddle Steamer Enterprise model
  • John Robinson
  • Echuca and Canberra
PS Enterprise model
Scale model of the Paddle Steamer Enterprise. Photo: Jason McCarthy.

Paddlesteamer model
John Robinson's scale model of the PS Enterprise. Photo: Jason McCarthy.

PS Enterprise model

This is a scale model of the Paddle Steamer Enterprise, created by a descendant of the vessel's original owner and builder. The actual Enterprise is moored at the National Museum's jetty on Lake Burley Griffin. 

This plywood model was made by John Robinson and includes details such as a small flag at the bow, and a whistle made from copper wire.

PS Enterprise

From the 1860s to the early 1900s, paddle steamers dominated the rivers of south-eastern Australia, hauling cargo and supplies, and carrying passengers between towns and busy ports.

Now one of the oldest working paddle steamers in the world, the PS Enterprise was launched at Echuca, Victoria, in 1878. From its first river journey until it was acquired by the Museum in 1984, the Enterprise had many lives: cargo vessel, floating store, fishing vessel, houseboat and showboat.

The Enterprise is now a permanent exhibit, maintained and operated by staff and a dedicated team of volunteers.

Family connection

John Robinson is a direct descendant of the Enterprise's original owners and builders, William Keir and William Keir Snr. Robinson visited the Enterprise while it was being restored by the National Museum at Echuca between 1984 and 1988, to make detailed measurements and scale drawings.

The model is 1105mm long, 520mm wide and 475mm high.

Robinson was present when the Enterprise was officially recommissioned by the National Museum at its new home on Lake Burley Griffin in 1988. Robinson's family donated this model to the Museum in 2010.

A colour photograph of John Robinson and his sister with the PS Enterprise in the background.
John Robinson and his sister visiting PS Enterprise during the National Museum's restoration work.

The PS Enterprise model is currently on show in the Hall at the National Museum of Australia.