River-steamer Settler

The vessel depicted in the picture above is The Settler. The Steam Packet Licence for the Settler was transferred from Thomas Stabler to William Kennedy at a meeting of the Liquor Licensing Board in January 1881. The Police Magistrate remarked that the scenes on board these river steamers were reported to be sometimes of a beastly character. Read “Pawky John” to discover one of those beastly scenes that led to The Settler’s bad reputation.
The Settler was a stern-wheel paddle steamer that plied the Brisbane River from Brisbane to Ipswich from 1863 to 1879…..From “The Courier” 16th May 1863, “The Settler is built on the plan of the American River steamers, with large carrying capacity, ample accommodation for passengers, and a light draught of water. Her hull was framed in Oregon, and brought out in parts to Port Adelaide, where she was put together in 1861. She is one hundred and fifty feet long, twenty-five feet beam, with about three feet draught of water when carrying 150 tons of cargo. She is propelled by one large stern wheel 20 feet in diameter driven by a 160 horse-power high pressure engine.”
From 1880 to 1884, the Settler took passengers on excursions to the bay. It had a capacity of 585 passengers and, as can be seen in the painting, had just one small boat on board. She travelled as far as Southport, a journey of seven hours.
The steamer was sold for scrap in 1884 and later, its remains lay under the water in the Brisbane River at Bulimba.
I found and photographed this water colour painting in the John Oxley Library at the State Library of Queensland. It is held in their archives and is not available as a digital image online. The title is “4586 ‘Settler steamship’ painting.” The artist is W. Haseldene. The description is “Watercolour painting of the steamship ‘Settler’, a Mississippi type steamer that traversed the Bremer River between Ipswich and Brisbane in the 1860s.” The identifier is “Reference code: 4586”

river-steamer settler

Another black and white photograph of a painting of the Settler is held at SLQ The title is “Settler (ship)”and the Negative Number is 160060.

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Pawky John : The Life and Times of a Colonial Publican by Brian J Menzies. 240 page softcover book.


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