HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

9 September 2014

SS Mibbin and the SS Booyong

109-AWR-Settree Builder Alfred.William.Morrow Settree. (1820-1896)
Started building his own ships in 1903 on the Tweed River. After moving around building ships at many locations A.W.N Settree decided upon Huskisson to start a ship building industry.

Two of his early vessels were the SS Mibbin and the SS Booyong

Built for the the Tweed River passenger trade, both vessels were added to the G.C. Skinner Brothers passenger fleet in 1903.

The River Road
Road travel was still difficult and slow and river steamers provided a quick, convenient and efficient link between rail heads..
Both vessels were stylish additions to the Skinner Brothers fleet, and capable of carrying up to 200 passengers, although the photographs certainly seem to show with that many people on board it might not have been all that pleasant a journey.

As well as passengers, they were used to carry a wide range of goods for local traders as well.

These little ferry’s led very busy lives, running daily except Sundays between Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads, during their working life they were involved in many incidents.

Passengers boarding the ferry SS Mibbin (Mebben), A Skinner and Lowes River Passenger Service, at a small wooden jetty at Fingal, 1911
reference http://ehive.com/account/5051
Here are a just a few condensed accounts of incidents involving the SS Mibbin found during the research.
1. One of her crew had his hand severely crushed while oiling machinery.
1916. While underway a small child fell overboard, everyone was alerted when the mother let out loud screams. A passenger jumped overboard and after a harrowing swim against the current managed to reach the child, she was pulled on board and after some assistance regained full consciousness. 
1926. Mibbin, in charge of Captain Lowes, towed the pilot boat towards the bar after a lobster boat with 4 men was overturned in heavy seas while trying to enter the bar.
The sea was running to big for the Mibbin to venture out, all the men were eventually safely rescued.
1929. While on one trip with around 30-35 passengers, many of them women, she lost steerage after hitting a sand bar, the Mibbin was carried down the river at around 8 knots towards the bar the master was afraid of striking the retaining wall, but with skillful navigation he managed to keep her off the rocks.
Fortunately she became fast on a sand-spit which had formed just inside the river, all crew, passengers and cargo were safe.

Changing sand bars always created problems, she became stuck a number of times, delaying passengers, who often missed their train links.

Without these little hard working boats life at coastal and inland towns would have been a greater burden.

Below is a collection of images of the Mibbin and the Booyong. reference to these images can be found below..
119-SS-Mibbin capture 6 rvrkp4_6q5g_l
StateLibQld_1_298611_Unloading_passengers_off_the_steamboat_Booyong_at_Caves_Wharf_on_the_Tweed_River,_1913 Steamer tweed river postcard 118-SS-Booyong
Booyong ship Footballers picnic at Fingal Point Tweed Heads 1928

Mibbin beached on Tweed Heads shoreline 

http://picclick.com/Postcard-Tweed-River-NSW-Steamers-EMMA-PYERS-and-301229315406.html http://www.facebook.com/VintageQueensland?filter=3
article about a misshap of the ss mibbin at tweed heads.http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/94165440?searchTerm=ss%20mibbin&searchLimits=
Article about child falling overboard off ss mibbinhttp://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/125931348?searchTerm=ss%20mibbin&searchLimits=

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