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PS Enterprise celebrates 130th birthday

3 OCTOBER 2008

The National Museum of Australia will celebrate the remarkable story of the Paddle Steamer Enterprise and volunteers who keep the vessel steaming 130 years after it was launched in Echuca in 1878.

PS Enterprise is one of the world's last operating paddle steamers and is a working exhibit in the National Museum collection.

For the past 20 years, the PS Enterprise has steamed on Canberra's Lake Burley Griffin, crewed by a dedicated team of highly skilled volunteers. Four of the volunteers will be recognised for 20 years service at a ceremony at the National Museum on Friday 3 October at 10 am.

PS Enterprise was built at Echuca of river red gums. When she was launched in 1879, her certificate of survey put her length at 56 feet (17.1 metres), her beam or width at 15 feet (4.6 metres) and just 75 centimetres between the surface of the river and the bottom of her keel. PS Enterprise is powered by a 12-horsepower two-cylinder steam engine made in Yorkshire, England.

The same steam engine still turns the paddlewheels of the PS Enterprise to this day.

The PS Enterprise has worked as a cargo vessel, floating store, fishing vessel, houseboat and showboat.

The National Museum has 67 volunteers working across a range of departments. Each year volunteers contribute 5800 hours of their time to the Museum.

"Our volunteers enhance the National Museum's work by sharing their skills, knowledge and experience with our visitors and staff. Their dedication and passion ensures that many stories and skills are passed on for all to share," said Louise Douglas, General Manager of Audience and Programs at the National Museum of Australia.

For more information about PS Enterprise visit www.nma.gov.au

For interviews, images and more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481; Caroline Vero on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or media@nma.gov.au