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The Yukon River Sternwheeler Victorian

by Murray Lundberg

Northern Ships and Shipping

The information on the Victorian that follows is simply a cut-and-paste from my database, compiled from a wide variety of sources, primarily the White Pass & Yukon Route corporate records (COR 722) at the Yukon Archives and newspapers including the Klondike Nugget (KN) and White Horse Tribune.
  • C.S.Reg. #103917, registered at Victoria.
  • wooden sternwheeler; 146.5 feet long, with 33.4 foot beam and 4.7 foot hold. Gross tonnage 716.39, registered as 455.15 tons. One deck, carvel build, sharp head and square stern. Licenced for 75 first class passengers and 100 second class, with accommodation for 29.
  • engine room was 35 feet long, housing a pair of horizontal high-pressure steam engines built in 1898 by James Reese & Sons of Pittsburgh; the cylinders were 15 inch diameter, 72 inch stroke, producing 15 NHP.
  • 1898, built at Victoria by John Todd, for the Canadian Development Company Ltd. With the COLUMBIAN, she was intended for Stikine River service, but neither boat worked there (Affleck).
  • 1898, sailed to St.Michael in convoy with the CANADIAN and COLUMBIAN; the coastal steamer TORDENSKJOLD joined them at Wrangell. She was stranded on the way, but was refloated (Affleck).
  • 1898-1899, wintered at Fort Yukon. Arrived at Dawson on May 29, in command of Captain McEwen and Captain Lewis; she carried 300 tons of freight, mainly provisions (KN,May 31). - operated on the upper river run by the Canadian Development Co.
  • 1899 season crew: Steward, "Tourist" O'Mally.
  • June 1899, steam steering gear installed in the CANADIAN, COLUMBIAN and VICTORIAN (KN, May 31).
  • 1900 season crew: Captain Tom Whalen; Second Engineer Harry Hutchinson.
  • 1900-1901, wintered at Dawson with the JOSEPH CLOSSET.
  • 1901 season crew: Captain Tom Whalen; purser George Tuttle; Chief Engineer Harry Hutchinson; Second Engineer J.Larsen; Mate G.L.Burruss; steward John Hannah.
  • 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.
  • September 2 1901, left Whitehorse under charter by the U.S.Army; she was carrying 87 soldiers under Lieutenant Frederick to Fort Egbert. "The steamer ...had been specially arranged and decorated for the soldiers and its interior presented a most comfortable and attractive appearance" (White Horse Tribune, Sept.7)
  • 1902, tied up for July and August due to a lack of cargo (COR722)
  • 1902, CANADIAN and VICTORIAN had refrigerator plants removed, and the galleys moved upstairs; "we figure that in high water these boats will carry from 250 to 275 tons instead of about 185 tons heretofore." (COR722)
  • 1903 season crew: Master, Thomas Whelan; pilot, James Lee; Mate, John McLeod; purser, A. D. Lewis; chief engineer, H. J. Hutchinson; second enginer, A. Borrowman; steward, E. A. Julien.
  • 1904 season crew: pilot, Capt.Frank Murray
  • 1905, CANADIAN, CASCA, COLUMBIAN and VICTORIAN converted to burn coal from the Tantalus mine: BONANZA KING is already on coal.
  • 1906 season crew: Master, Thomas Whelan; pilot, Syd Barrington; Mate, W. Cadano; second mate, H. L. Jones; purser, S. D. Terry; chief engineer, James Lauderdale; second enginer, George Brown; steward, Earl Anderson.
  • September 25 1906, first boat on the scene after the COLUMBIAN blew up, killing 6 men.
  • 1908, taken off the Dawson run on July 15; replaced by the BONANZA KING. Overhauled and back on the run September 11 (COR722).
  • 1908-1909, wintered at Hootalinqua. This was the last time the old Dominion Steamboat ways were used, being abandoned as rotten (COR722).
  • 1909, in command of Captain McKaster (COR722).
  • May 24 1909, involved in an accident with the TANA, which was stuck on a bar at Hellsgate; while freeing herself, TANA was struck by the barge CARMACKS. It was under tow by the VICTORIAN, which had tied up to await TANA's clearing the channel; the mooring line broke, andthey drifted downstream hitting the TANA. Part of TANA's store-room, some stores, 40 feet of guard, and 4 or 5 sheep were lost; Captain Langley billed BYN for the damage (result not recorded). (COR722).
  • June 20 1909, taken out of service, replaced by the BONANZA KING.
  • 1909-1911, on the beach at Hootalinqua (not launched in 1910) (COR722).
  • 1915-1916, wintered on the ways at the Dawson Shipyards (COR722). (Mills says she was broken up in 1912)
  • winters from 1928-1932, at the Dawson shipyards.
  • abandoned in the slough down river from Dawson now known as the "Sternwheeler Graveyard".
  • 1943, a salvage assessment by J.Gaudin reported that "considerable lead pipe" was still laying on the deck.


  • photo of VICTORIAN wooding up along the Yukon River, 1900 (YA #882)
  • photo of the crew of the VICTORIAN, ca.1900 (YA #4014)
  • photo of the Victorian ca. 1901 by H.J.Goetzman (YA: J.P.Forrest collection, PHO 127, 80/35, #28)
  • photo of the Victorian (YA: William C.Peter collection, PHO 232, 83/77, no #)