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Jetty upgrade for good ship Enterprise

12 MARCH 2003

An upgrade to the jetty beside the National Museum in West Basin on Lake Burley Griffin last week has created a secure mooring site for the Museum's paddlesteamer, the PS Enterprise, in time for Canberra Day.

Low levels on the lake due to the recent drought resulted in the historic PS Enterprise scraping bottom at its former berth at the Kingston Boat Harbour. The paddlesteamer was moved to the jetty after the National Capital Authority approved the new mooring site for at least two and a half years.

With the new piles installed at the jetty, there will increased opportunities for the dedicated group of Museum's volunteers, who crew the paddlesteamer, to open the historic vessel to the public. The crew includes Canberra's Barbara Toohey, whose ancestors lived on the PS Enterprise on the River Murray.

The PS Enterprise's next "steaming" on Lake Burley Griffin will be on Sunday, 23 March.

"We're very excited about having the historic Enterprise closer to the Museum, where it will be more visible to our visitors," said Maciej Dunski, head of the Museum's volunteers program.

"As a major working exhibit, PS Enterprise provides visitors with a tangible experience of Australia's distinctive river boats and their colourful history."

The PS Enterprise, one of the oldest operational steam-powered vessels in the world, was constructed in Echuca on the River Murray in 1878, and plied its trade along Australia's inland river system for more than 100 years one of a fleet of some 300 river boats which turned the Murray, Darling and Murrumbidgee rivers into thriving and competitive waterways.

The PS Enterprise was acquired by the National Museum in 1984 and, after a massive restoration in Echuca, was formally re-commissioned on Lake Burley Griffin in 1988. The Museum has been documenting the history of the paddlesteamer and the people associated with it. Later this year, its 125th birthday will be celebrated with the publication of a book on its history by the National Museum.

For more information about volunteering opportunities at the National Museum, please call the Volunteers Coordinator on 6208 5204, or visit the Museum website: www.nma.gov.au

For more information please contact Sandy Forbes at the National Museum on 02 6208 5301 or 0408 679 308 or email s.forbes@nma.gov.au