The Amphibious sinks in Port of Echuca

By Riverine Herald

THE Paddle Vessel Amphibious sank in the Murray on Saturday evening.

The reason for its sinking has not been determined but NSW Roads and Maritime Services is investigating.

The PV Amphibious was moored in front of berth one when it went down but devastated owner Tim Mills did not want to comment at this stage.

The boat returned to Echuca in 2019 – the first time it had been here in 143 years.

At the time the diesel-powered boat’s owner said he was planning to drop anchor here for the foreseeable future.

However, he pointed out the Amphibious would not become part of the thriving paddlesteamer tourism business in the twin towns, it would be remaining a private vessel.

Tim bought the Amphibious in 2016 and began a trip up the Murray on Boxing Day last year from Renmark, South Australia, but his plan ran aground at Tocumwal bridge – his vessel was too big to proceed.

Tim said then he intended to make Echuca the Amphibious’ home for the foreseeable future.

“It’s a beautiful town, Echuca… everyone seems friendly and very paddleboat-oriented,” he said.

“We’d be happy to call Echuca home for a while.”

The Amphibious’ 144-year career has been a tumultuous one, not least, like many other river boats, because it sank back in 1978.

But paddle steamer enthusiast Dick Bromhead raised it from the murky depths and once overhauled she was back to her nautical best.

She has also been a star of the big and small screen – appearing in Peter Weir’s 1981 classic Gallipoli as well as the TV series The River Kings.

It has also doubled as a wind-powered trading ketch and then an entertainment showboat.

Tim might be the current custodian of this remarkable piece of Australian maritime history but the original owners might have trouble recognising her today as she has gone through multiple rebuilds (and owners).

He said it is her remarkably chequered career that makes her such a favourite among paddleboat enthusiasts, and what certainly attracted him to buy her in the first place.

“I hadn’t seen a paddleboat on the river that had been fitted out to that standard or that good of condition,” he said.

“Amphibious was always ready to go to the next step.”

The only commercial tourism boats operating in Echuca-Moama are Murray River Paddlesteamers with its fleet of the Emmy-Lou, Canberra and Pride of the Murray and Echuca Paddlesteamers with the Pevensey and Alexander Arbuthnot.