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Check out some of the exciting things to see and do in the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre.

Discovery Centre

The Discovery Centre at the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre is the starting point for a voyage of discovery. Several audio visuals, models and displays interpret the story of Australia's inland river system, the history of Paddlesteamers, and how they connected a fledging colony to its growing cities and outside world.

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Evans' Sawmill

The Evans Brothers' sawmill is a working exhibit, restored during the recent major refurbishment. The original 1900's mill interprets for the visitor how red gum timber was used for ship building, railway sleepers and building in general.

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Steam Display

See original working steam engines and pumps, and meet the engineers who operate them. The Steam Display allows visitors to learn about the important role steam played in the development of the Port of Echuca. Kids can also get involved by completing tasks set by the engineers and being rewarded with an 'Outstanding Performance' certificate for their skills acquired.

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Echuca Wharf

Magnificent red gum walkways weave visitors along the riverbank to the meticulously restored Wharf. The heritage listed Echuca Wharf is the heart of the facility and gives visitors a much closer and detailed experience at the Port of Echuca. Explore above and below the wharf and experience the best views along the Murray River.

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Cargo Shed Museum

The Port's history can be interpreted through the Cargo Shed Museum. Here visitors can learn about the working life of a paddlesteamer and the captivating stories of what life was like for men who worked on the wharf.

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Rail Siding & Vans

Listen to the stories of the Echuca Wharf's links with rail, and explore the inside of an original Breakdown and Guard's van.

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Welcome to the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre


Our History

The bustling Port of Echuca is recognised as one of Australia’s finest heritage icons.

old photoBuilt in 1865 by the Victorian Railways, the Port of Echuca Wharf was crucial to Echuca’s development. For many years, Echuca was the main shipbuilding centre for the river transport industry. Some of the boats built in Echuca, such as the PS Adelaide, still operate on the Murray River today. At its peak, Echuca supported 8 sawmills and turned over up to 240 paddlesteamers a year.

Today, the Port represents the pageantry of the river trade’s heyday and offers an extraordinary insight into our pioneering days. The Echuca Wharf is a surviving part of the great red gum wharf, which once stretched more than a quarter of a mile.

Learn about the bustling river trade of the 1800s, discover the Star Hotel with it's underground bar, and hear fantastic but true tales of the Murray River on your next visit to Port of Echuca.


“We’ve trained the young blokes to maintain the paddlesteamers. We’ve got the people to drive them, and people want to see them.”

kenBoat building was an important industry in Echuca in the late 1800s, mainly due to the endless supply of superior red gum in the nearby Barmah, Moira and Perricoota forests. Today, shipwrights still based at Port of Echuca continue to practice their trade in ways that bring the river heritage to the local community and tourists alike.

Over the years Port of Echuca has assembled a skilled team responsible for several major paddlesteamer restoration projects. As the late Kevin Hutchinson, former senior shipwright of the Port said, “Rebuilding paddlesteamers is a team effort. Although I have been the leader you need a good lot of workers to do the job and I have been lucky to find a team for each major restoration.”

The work of Kevin and his team has made an enormous contribution to both the local community and Australia’s heritage. Although a lot of the old skills have been forgotten, Kevin has always been confident it will all keep going.

Paddle steamers

P.S. Adelaide

ps adelaide2

P.S. Adelaide is the oldest wooden hulled paddlesteamer still operating anywhere in the world. She was built at Echuca in 1866 for J.C. Grassey and Partners. She is now moored at Echuca Wharf and used for special occasions.

How did she get her name?

One of the fastest paddlesteamers on the Murray, PS Adelaide is rumoured to be named after Her Majesty Queen Adelaide.  “Adelaide” was also a popular ladies’ name during the riverboat trade era.

What job did she do?

She was used by her original owners to transport wool to Echuca from nearby stations.  She was also a part-time passenger boat, bringing the ladies into town to do their shopping. When PS Adelaide was purchased by the Murray River Sawmill Co, she began her long life as a logging steamer.

How did she do her job?

P.S. Adelaide towed four empty barges upstream to the Barmah forest to collect the red gum logs. The logs that were being transported were tied with chains to logs that stretched across the deck. The cargo then hung down in the water.  PS Adelaide would then bring the load home to the mill at Echuca.

What happened after the river trade era?

In 1957 Murray River Sawmills started to use trucks to transport the logs and PS Adelaide was sold and went to South Australia.  In 1960 she plied the Murray River back home again and remained there until 1963.  Because of the rise and fall of the river, a group of dedicated people tirelessly adjusted the ropes daily to prevent the unused boat from tilting hazardously on the bank.  Eventually, she was raised out of the water by a series of locks and placed in the Hopwood Gardens where she remained for 21 years until restoration finally began in 1980.  In 1984 PS Adelaide was refloated and in October 1985 she was re-commissioned by Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales during a Royal Visit to celebrate Victoria’s 150th Anniversary.

What does she do today?

PS Adelaide operates at the Port of Echuca as a passenger boat carrying 49 passengers per trip. On special occasions she even tows one of her four original barges, the D26.

What is special about P.S. Adelaide?

P.S. Adelaide is special because she is the oldest wooden paddlesteamer still operating on any river in the world. PS Adelaide is also 100% Australian made.

P.S. Success

P.S. Success

The P.S. Success was built in Moama in June 1877 by G.B. Air for Westwood & Air.

What job did she do?

In the old days, the Success towed barges of sawn red gum, wool and other cargo along the Darling and Murray rivers, as well as running as a passenger boat from Swan Hill to Mildura during 1915-16.

What happened to the boat?

The Success ended her working life in 1957 and was put up on the bank at Ned’s Corner Station, 80 km west of Mildura. In 1996 her owners, the Pollard Family, donated the vessel to the Riverboat Historical and Preservation Society of Mildura, with plans to restore the vessel to her former glory.

However, additional funds were required to proceed with hull renovations. Becoming increasingly difficult for the dedicated volunteers to handle, the group approached the Shire of Campaspe to take ownership of the Success to enable further restoration.

What does it do today?

The Port of Echuca has assembled a team of skilled shipwrights, responsible for several major paddlesteamer restoration projects, who will utilise local red gum and parts from the original steamer to restore the P.S. Success to full working order. Once operational, the Success will be added to the fleet of traditional paddlesteamers moored at Echuca Wharf.

What is special about the Success?

The Success was the last paddlesteamer to carry wool along the Darling and Murray rivers in 1956.

Make your mark on history!

In order to help with the costs of ongoing restoration for the PS Success, Port of Echuca has launched the Buy-A-Plank sponsorship program, which includes:

  • Your name (or a name of your choice) engraved on the inside of a new plank to be fitted to the hull of the PS Success.
  • A genuine section of an old plank from the hull of the PS Success, that was laid down with the vessel was built in 1877. This also includes a commemorative plaque.

All for only $100 inc GST