MEDIA RELEASE - 3 October 2016


History will be made at the biennial All Steamed Up event in Mannum with the re-commissioning of the historic vessel, Mayflower built in 1884. 


Returning to her 1913 fishing boat era then owned by the Creager family in Renmark, the Mayflower has undergone a two year restoration programme at the Mannum Dock Museum.  


The Mayflower’s beginnings were quite checkered with original owner  ‘Black Alexander’, a six foot negro operating the boat as a ‘Bottle O’ and being literally chased up the river by the banks, the vessel then passed through many owners, including  Pirate Billie Wilson’ and in the mid 50’s onto a showboat revival with the late Captain Alby Pointon in Mildura.


Volunteers have worked tirelessly every week to bring the Mayflower back to life and are now working daily to ensure we make the November 19 deadline said Rob Bowring OAM, Chairman of the Mannum Dock Museum. 


“The 1913 era was one of change for the vessel as she became two storey to accommodate the expanding Creager family”.


“We are extremely grateful to Pam O’Donnell and Robert O’Callagahan for their ongoing support of this restoration programme and initial purchase of the Mayflower”.


 “A new cruising era will commence for the Mayflower after the re-commissioning as we will be offering weekly short cruises from the Mannum Dock Museum”.   


“Steam power was replaced with a diesel plant in the showboat era and although it would have been wonderful to return to steam, we have retained the existing engine to make it quick to fire up with the turn of a key”.



The Band of the 10th/27th Battalion, Royal South Australia Regiment will also be joining the official re-commissioning celebrations on Sunday 20th November appearing for the first time in Mannum.  The 10th/27th is the oldest serving Military Band in Australia, quite fitting for this milestone event with the oldest paddle steamer in South Australia.


The band’s heritage began with the formation of ‘The Adelaide Rifles’ circa 1860, and draws it’s lineage from the Bands that have served with all South Australian Infantry Battalions, including those which served in both World Wars.


Those Battalions were among the first ashore at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.


Today, the Band performs at Regal, Vice-Regal, Ceremonial and Civic functions and provides support to South Australian based units of the Australian Defence Force.


The Band’s repertoire encompasses many musical styles including military music, classical, modern popular, jazz and vocal arrangements and Pipes and Drums. It is this versatility that enables the Band to serve both the military and the public of South Australia with quality and entertaining music.


To add to the history line-up, the Shearer Steam Carriage built in 1897 at Mannum by David and John Shearer will be on loan from the National Motor Museum at Birdwood and on show to head the extensive exhibition of operating engines and vehicles including the 1908 John Fowler single cylinder steam traction engine, a 1922 Sentinel Steam Wagon and a 12 tonne Blackstone 150hp flywheel engine.


Mayor Dave Burgess of the Mid Murray Council said as Mannum is known for many world recognised iconic attractions including the PS Marion and the Randell Dry Dock, I am sure we will see widespread interest on a national and international basis when the Mayflower cruises again.


“To have the Mayflower, the 10th/27th Regiment Band and Australia’s first steam car together at this milestone celebration will be a combination of our nation’s history on show for all to enjoy”.


“A action packed two-day programme has been formulated by the Mannum Dock Museum which will include the largest congregation of blacksmiths seen in SA at one time”.


“Our river friends will also be offering cruises with the PS Industry from Renmark and the PS Oscar W from Goolwa along with many other paddle wheelers and classic boats”.


The Mayflower will be re-commissioned at the biennial All Steamed Up – Boats, Engines and Blacksmiths Festival on the 19th and 20th November 2016.  For further details visit or the Mannum Visitor Information Centre on 0414857738 or