IT WILL be the largest congregation of heritage paddlesteamers and riverboats Mildura has seen for many years at the PS Melbourne Centenary River Festival tomorrow.

The PS Marion, PS Industry and PS Oscar W from South Australia met up with the PS Adelaide from Echuca, the PS Melbourne from Mildura and the PS Ruby from Wentworth for the Jewels at the Junction event yesterday.

They will be joined by up to 30 other

privately-owned boats for the centenary festival tomorrow.

“The Renmark departure looked fantastic with only five boats – if you times that by seven, the flotilla will be a spectacle not to be missed,” said Lyn McKenzie from the PS Melbourne.

“The PS Melbourne Centenary River Festival will be a reunion as well as a celebration and will be the first time many of the major boats have been together in over 80 years.”

The grand flotilla will arrive at the Mildura riverfront at 10.30am, heralded by the Mildura District Brass Band.

Short cruises will commence at 12.30pm on board the five major heritage

paddlesteamers – the PS Melbourne, South Australian vessels the PS Marion from Mannum built in 1900, the PS Industry from Renmark built in 1910, the PS Oscar W from Goolwa built in 1908, and from New South Wales the PS Ruby from Wentworth built in 1907.

“With the PS Adelaide being the oldest existing operational, original wooden-hulled paddlesteamer in the world and with the many other vessels attending, you could say there will be over 1500 years of history collectively in the one spot at the event, which is not only unique, but quite amazing,” said Rob Bowring, chairman of the PS Marion.

“Our volunteers on board are looking forward to reaching Mildura and the festivities.

“We saw a large crowd wave us goodbye at Renmark and I am sure we will see many more people on Sunday,” said PS Industry chairman Dave Nattrass.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Saturday’s Sunraysia Daily 08/09/2012.

CELEBRATION: E.J. Thorp, captain of PS Oscar W from Goolwa, catches up with Frank Tucker, captain of PS Industry from Renmark, by the Darling River, Wentworth. Picture: David Sickerdick

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