About the port

Shipwrights & Steamies

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

Boat building was an important industry in Echuca in the late 1800’s, 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 the Echuca continue to practice their trade in ways that bring the river heritage to the local community and tourists alike.

Over the years the Port of the 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 was always confident it will all keep going.

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