Yukon River Sternwheelers:
by Murray Lundberg
- C.S.Reg. #107525
- iron sternwheeler; 115.0 feet long, with 24.8 foot beam and 4.0 foot hold. Gross tonnage was 422.43, registered as 308.43 tons. Three decks, iron framework and iron-plate build, square stern. Licenced for 200 passengers; had accommodation for 30.
- the engine room was 25 feet long, housing 2 horizontal high-pressure steam engines built in 1898 by the Pittsburgh Engine Company of Pennsylvania; they had 2 cylinders, with 10 inch diameter and 48 inch stroke, developing 6.6 NHP. Affleck says the engines were by James Reese & Sons of Pittsburgh, with 54 inch stroke.
- 1899, built at Victoria for the Canadian Development Co.; brought over the White Pass and reassembled at Lake Bennett Photo of her nearly completed at Bennett, in Cohen, p.45.
- July 6 1899, with the GLEANER and CLIFFORD SIFTON, standing by at the WP&YR spike-driving ceremony at Bennett. The AUSTRALIAN and GLEANER had brought 200 Klondikers to Bennett; loaded with $500,000 in gold, they were headed outside.
- September 1899, running from Bennett to Canyon City "every other day" (SDA,Sept.9).
- operated on Bennett-Miles Canyon run until 1900.
- June 1900, running from Bennett to Caribou Crossing (Atlin Claim, June 30)
- June 28, 1900, Captain Wallace Langley left Atlin, where he had been in command of the SCOTIA, to take over command of the AUSTRALIAN, “the finest on the line.”
- July 29 1900, carried WP&YR VIPs to the spike-driving ceremony at Carcross.
- April 1 1901, all 17 CDCo. steamers were bought by the British Yukon Navigation Company; this included 3 Stikine River boats, 4 lake boats, and 10 Yukon River steamers.
- 1901, on Carcross-Atlin run.
- 1902 and 1903, not launched.
- operated in 1904 (COR722).
- October 1905, put on the BYN ways, 3-4 miles below Carcross.
- 1907, 1910, not launched
- 1915-1916, still on the ways at Carcross (COR722).
- 1916-1917, main BYN ways moved to their present location near the railroad at Carcross; the others became known as the Australian ways.
- 1928-1934, still on the ways.
- 1938, removed from Shipping register (Affleck).
- 1942, rebuilt by the Public Roads Administration as a barge for use on the Alaska Highway/Canol projects.
- ca.1970, sunk just below the Carcross bridge; local stories vary as to whether it was scuttled as a breakwater or sunk when pumps failed. Hull is very well preserved, and Easton recommends it as a recreational dive site
The intact hull of the Australian can still be seen clearly from the railway bridge on calm days at low water.
References & Further Reading:
Edward L. Affleck, Affleck's List of Sternwheelers Plying the Yukon Waterways (Vancouver, BC: Affleck, September 1995)
Stan Cohen, Yukon River Steamboats
(Missoula, MT: Pictorial Histories, June 1982)
Art Downs, Paddlewheels on the Frontier, Volume Two (Surrey, BC: Foremost, 1971)
Arthur E. Knutson, Sternwheels on the Yukon (Snohomish, WA: Snohomish, 1979)
Robin E. Sheret, Smoke Ash and Steam: Steam Engines on the West Coast of North America
(Vistoria, BC: Western Isles Cruise & Dive, 1997)
©2014 Murray Lundberg:
Use for other than research purposes must be approved by the author.
Northern Ships and Shipping