June 23 - 29, 2013: Issue 116

 The Namoi – Paddle steamer (P.S.)
August 3rd, 1883 to June 16th, 1933

The Namoi tells in her journeys of the half day holiday and winning of the eight hour day, of Pittwater being promoted as a place for an excursion, picnic or fishing trip and also reminds us that every generation has its music and bands, of brass and/or strings, were prolific in Australia as ferry owners sought to make the best of changing social structure and employed popular bands to play popular songs while a convoy of ferries made their way up the coast from Sydney Harbour to Pittwater.

During the mid to late 1800s the working day in Australia was long and arduous. Some employees would work up to 16 hours a day, six days a week. A movement begun by stonemasons in Victoria for an eight hour day or 48 hour working week. This succeeded and was adopted by NSW in 1856 and is still honoured annually as Labour Day. Following this a ‘Half Day’ holiday movement began in 1866 most states workers seeking a closing time one day a week when those who worked in shops or businesses could do their own shopping etc. as the Sunday off won was devoted to the Sabbath, attending services and other duties. A Wednesday or Thursday were first proposed until closing larger establishments at 1pm on a Saturday was finally established although not across the board. This allowed people to have a little lesuire time and shop or do their own tasks prior to the divine ‘day of rest to be spent contemplating the Lord’. As always there were opponents and proponents;

SATURDAY HALF-HOLIDAY MOVEMENT. To the Editor of the Herlad. Sir,-May I suggest (in reply to your correspondent E.Butler) that the interests of" retail employers are certainly advanced by the efforts of the promoters of the Saturday half-holiday movement." The customers are usually the assigned obstruction to reform in business hours, hone J if customers agree to concede the half-holiday, no injury can result to shopkeepers. Is it not a fact that the business usually done in ten hours may be easily compressed into eight ?
Does " E. Butler " believe that the best preparation for the Sabbath is fourteen or fifteen hours' labour on the Saturday, or that such a length of exertion is necessary. " In common fairness" does our friend desire a universal redaction of one-twelfth off salaries ; or is it merely to apply to the high-salaried men ? E. Butler must know that his assistants could not wellbear a reaction from salaries of £40 to £60 per annum.
SATURDAY HALF-HOLIDAY MOVEMENT. (1866, November 30). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from

The Half-Holiday Movement. To The Editor. Sir,-Would you on behalf of shop assistants generally insert this. Great interest is being felt in connection with the Half-Holiday movement, and none watch with more interestthan poor shop assistants who work ten hours everyday and fifteen and sixteen hours on Saturday. We have a Shop and Factories Act, but in what way that Act benefits the shop assistant is to me a mystery, for rest and recreation are beyond their ken.I would appeal to fathers and mothers who havechildren to interest themselves in this cause, for it will affect their children also, when they have tolannch out into the world to earn their daily bread. In a hot climate like this, men and women need ashort respite, and would hail with pleasure, thetime for recreation and rast that would thus betterfit them to resume their post behind the counterLet some of the men come forward and draw up aform, so that all who wish may sign their namesin favour of this movement. Richmond has a Half-Holiday Association-then why not Windsor,and every other town, for that matter ? Thanking you in anticipation. I am, &c., A. SYMPATHISER. The Half-Holiday Movement. (1896, February 8). Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72547787

With a few concessions won by some a special treat was to catch a ferry with your picnic basket to places of beauty. Pittwater, then still rural and prisitine, and accessible by water, was one of these destinations.

EXCURSION TO NEWPORT. The steamer Rook made an excursion to Newport, BrokenBay, yesterday, with a parly of about 150 ladies and gentlemen, The steamer remained two hours at Newport, giving the excursionists ample time for a run ashore. She started on the homeward trip shortly after 4pm, and the excursionists were safely landed in Sydney at 7.30 p.m., evidently pleased with the trip and the beautiful scenery around Pittwater. EXCURSION TO NEWPORT. (1883, December 27). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13555927 Photo: Circular Quay on a holiday, Sydney, ca. 1895, photo by Charles Henry King, nla.pic-vn6099298, courtesy National Library of Australia.

The Namoi was a steel paddle steamer. Paddle steamers were, and still are in some places, a steamship or riverboat powered by a steam engine that drives paddle wheels to propel the craft through the water. They preceded screw steamers and were great on rivers or waterways where access to wind and using sails was limited. Outside of the work duties she was commissioned for, she too was employed in what was the ‘season’ excursions:

The New Steamer Namoi.
Of the Hunter River Co.'s new steamer Namoi, which is now en route for Sydney, a glasgow -paper gives her dimensions as follows : Length between perpendiculars, 245ft ; breadth of beam inside paddle-boxes, 51 ft 6in, depth of hold, 15ft 9in ; depth from floor of hold to awning deck 21ft9in. The  awning on spar deck extends the whole length of he vessel. The main saloon and forecabin are on the maindeck. Accommodation for passengers is also provided in state rooms and ladies' saloon aft on the spar deck. Amidships on the spar deck is a large and well fitted smoking-room, two state rooms, and captain’s cabin. Forward on the spardeck is a second-class saloon for female passengers. Berths are fitted for 150 first-class and 90 second-class passengers. Accommodation for the officers is provided in sponson houses on the main deck, and the crew are located forward on the main deck. Norton's system of ventilation has been adopted to purify the air in the saloons, state-room, and second-class cabins far passengers. The smoking room, captain's and officers' cabins, forecastle, and holds are also ventilated by the same system. By means of an independent engine the vitiated air is withdrawn through air-tight piping and fresh air flows in to supply the place at the exhanted air. The engines indicate 2000 horsepower; the compound principle has been adopted ; the cylinders are vertical and oscillating. Diameter of low pressure cylinder, 70in ; high-pressure cylinder, 50in ;stroke of piston, 71in. The  air-pump is worked by an eccentric on to intermediate shaft. There are four single-ended, cylindrical, multi-tubular boiler, each 18ft 6in diameter by 10ft 4in in. length, three furnaces in each boiler leading to separate combustion chambers. Diameter of furnaces outside, 3ft 3in; tube surface in each boiler, 1283 square feet; grate surface in each. about 58 square -feet. Working pressure 90lb per square inch. Material, all steel ; the hull is also steel. The paddle wheels are each fitted with 10 steel floats, the register tonnage is— gross, 1413.99; net, 809.09. The vessel has been built under the supervision of Lloyd's surveyors, and is classed at Lloyd's. The Namoi was launched at Kinghorn on the 3rd August last, and has been built and engined by John Key and sons, of Kirkaldy.
The New Steamer Namoi. (1884, February 4). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 8. Retrieved from

Namoi Schooner rigged: New Steamer for the Hunter. (1884, April 12). Singleton Argus(NSW : 1880 - 1954) , p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article82596286

The official trail trip of the Hunter River New Steam Navigation Company's new steamship Namoi took place yesterday, and passed off most successfully. The following gentlemen were present; Messrs. J. E. Wolfe (chairman), J. B.R. Robertson, J. Soroggia, and J. See, M.L.A.. directors of the company; Hon. S. H. Terry, M.L.A., J. P. Garvan, H. Clarke. , R. Wisdom. W. C. Browne, Ms. L.A. ; Mr. Cruickshank, Government Engineer: Mr P.J. Thomas, manager of the company; Mr. J. P. Franki, of Mort's Dock; Messrs. A. Dodds, W, Briggs, E. E. Smith (W. Howard Smith and sons), John White manager C and R. R. S. N. Company ; T. A. Dibbs, G. J. Cohen, Dalgarno, Broderiek. R. C. Close, Turner (manager of the Illawarra Steam Navigation Company), R. Smyth, W. Broughton, D. Mc Mordie., H.M. Mills, R. Brock, Captain Adams, Captain Royle, and others, about 150 being present, and several ladies amongst the number. The ship arrived from Scotland on the 6th April, and a few days afterwards she was placed in the hands of Messrs. Mort and Co. for an overhaul. This work was very satisfactorily carried out, the whole of the exterior of the vessel having been cleaned and painted, and all necessary defects made good by Friday last, when she was taken for a preliminary trial trip, and everything about the machinery was found to be in first-class order. The trial trip yesterday was held solely with the object of allowing the directors, the principal shareholders, and a few personal friends of the directors an opportunity of inspecting the vessel under steam. The result fully justified expectations, as after repeated trials over the measured mile it was found that the average speed attained was within a fraction of 14 ½  knots, or 16 ½ land miles an hour, the engines making 26 revolutions a minute with a pressure of 96lb. of steam, and a vacuum of 25 inches. The Namoi left the company's jetty at about half-past 11 o'clock, with 150 ladies and gentlemen on board, and after the trials above-mentioned had been gone through she steamed over to Spring Cove, and dropped her anchor, it having been determined, owing to the threatening aspect of the weather, and the effect this change had upon some of the passengers, not to go outside the Heads. After some little delay, which was spent by most of the company in admiring the magnificent accommodation of the vessel, the announcement was made that luncheon was ready.  A move was at once for the saloon, and the company soon had the opportunity  of seeing how successful Mr. Evatt, the providore (who was previously in the company's s,s. Maitland), had been in providing creature comforts for everybody present. The table was very tastefully laid, and the viands were in accordance there-with, while the wines were excellent. Mr. J. E. Wolfe presided, and Mr. J. H. Robertson occupied the vice-chair. After the toasts of "The Queen," "His Excellency the Governor," and " The Parliament," had been given, and duly honoured and responded lo, Mr. H. Clarke proposed. "Success to the  Namoi and Prosperity to the H. R. N. S. N. Co." He commended the directors for their enterprise, in providing such a magnificent vessel for the trade between the metropolis and the Hunter River, and recalled, from his own recollection, the time when the Rose, the Shamrock, and the Thistle were the only boats on the line, and these could not find enough to do. The Namoi was a magnificent vessel in every respect, and a credit not only to the directors and the shareholders, but to the mercantile marine of Australia; and he trusted that the spirited enterprise which had caused her to be placed on the line between Sydney and the Hunter would be rewarded with the hearty support of the public. (Applause.) The chairman, in thanking the proposer of the toast for the terms in which he had proposed it, and the gentlemen present for the warm manner in which they had received it, referred to the steady progress the company had  made during the past few years, and to the hopeful outlook there was for the future. He concluded by expressing the hope that the trade would increase so rapidly with the Increased facilities that the directors would find it necessary to place  another and even better ship than the Namoi on the line. (Cheers.).Mr. Robertson also responded. Mr. See proposed the toast of ' The shippers with and supporters of the Hunter River New Steam Navigation Company," which was responded to by Mr. G.J. Cohen. Mr. Wisdom then gave the toast of " The Manager and Officers of the Company," and spoke in the highest terms of the ability of Mr. Thomas. Mr. Thomas responded. Several other toasts were proposed and responded to, and a most enjoyable time was spent. The Namoi, which was under the command of Captain Knowles, recently of the Maitland, returned to the company's wharf at about half-past 3 o'clock, everybody on board having enjoyed the outing thoroughly.
TRIAL TRIP OF THE STEAMSHIP NAMOI. (1884, May 20). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from
http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28367899 Picture shows Namoi at King's Wharf.

The Namoi, like all vessels on Sydney harbour and on our coasts during these busy times for all watercraft, had her fair share of accidents. The first of these happening soon after she commenced her duties:

Collision in Sydney Harbour. A collision occurred in the harbour early this morning (says Tuesday's Echo) between the H. R. N. S. N. Co.'s steamer Namoi and the steamer Agenoria, and resulted in the immediate sinking of the latter. Fortunately, owing to the early hour, there were no passengers on board the smaller vessel, and the two hands on board were speedily rescued by a boat from the Namoi. The statement regarding the occurrence, as gathered from those belonging to the Agenoria, is to the effect that shortly after 4 o'clock she was coming across the harbor from Blue's Point to the Circular Quay in order to commence her running for the day. When between Miller's and Dawes' points' the steamer Namoi, coming in from Newcastle, struck her on the port side, forward of the engine room, stem on, inflicting such damage that the Agenoria sank immediately. The Namoi, which had stopped, lowered a boat and picked up the two men who were in charge, viz., Capt. Langham and the driver.

On inquiring on board the Namoi the following facts., regarding the casualty were obtained :-The Namoi, under the command of Captain Knowles, from Newcastle with cargo and a full complement of passengers, arrived in the harbour about 4 o'olook this morning. At 4.20 a.m. she was nearing Blue's Point at a reduced speed, when the chief officer reported a red light on the starboard bow just coming suddenly from the western side of Blue's Point. Captain Knowles, on lookingin the direction indicated, and seeing no bright light, thought that it was a sailing vessel, and that he should go well clear. To his astonishment, however, the vessel came with great speed, and seeing that he could notget olear on the port helm, and that a collisionwas inevitable, the helm was put hard astarboard, the engines stopped, and reversed full speed astern to make the blow as light as possible. The Agenoria came on at full speed, striking the Namoi's starboard bow near the stem with her port bow. The Agenoria's bows were smashed clean off, and the Namoi's engines, which had then been going astern for about half a minute, were stopped, and, having very little way on, the Agenoria came along her starboard side, crashing into the paddle and then went down, doing some damage to the Namoi's wheel. At the time of the collision the Namoi was heading across the harbour towards the foot of Kent-street.

The slight repairs to the Namoi's wheel are being executed at the wharf, and she will leave for Newcastle tonight as usual. The Agenoria belonged to Mr. W. Waterhouse, who is at present absent from Sydney. It is believed, however, that she is too muchdamaged to repair, and that the machinery will be the only portion of her worth saving. Collison in Sydney Harbour. (1884, September 18). The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18936501

Captain Knowles, master of the Namoi, who was called upon to show cause why his certificate should not be suspended or cancelled, by reason of the default on his part which the board considered had led to the collision between the Namoi and the Agenoria in Port Jackson on the 16th September. Some fresh evidence was taken, the tendency of it being to show that Captain Knowles could not have acted otherwise than he did. Captain Hixson summed up the case very clearly, and finally announced that the board had decided to suspend Captain Knowles'' certificate for a month, dating from the time of the collision. The case is fully reported in another column. NEWS OF THE DAY. (1884, October 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28368268

A collision took place in Newcastle harbour last night between the steamer Namoi, outward bound for Sydney, full of passengers, and the schooner Grace Lynn, inward, laden with timber; The latter sank almost immediately. The crew were picked up by boats. The s.s. Namoi was uninjured, and resumed her voyage to Sydney shortly afterwards. NEW SOUTH WALES. (1885, May 21). Launceston Examiner(Tas. : 1842 - 1899), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38299983

Newcastle Items. Newcastle, Thursday. The schooner Grace Lynn, which was sunk on Tuesday night by the steamship Namoi, was insured in the Hull Insurance Co. for £1000. She still lies where she sank, which is out of the fairway and partly on a, rock ashore. The usual nautical inquiry will take place in a day or two. Newcastle Items. (1885, May 22). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111012345

The owners sued for damages and what is intersting to note here is the dates of this court hearing and the dates (Feb 12th 1886) in which Captain Knowles, in fog off Terrigal, ran into the equally large steamship Newcastle, a paddlewheeler in competition at this time, as listed below:

Captain Adams, of the steamer Newcastle, gave evidence as to passing the Grace Lynn, and whistling to the Namoi to starboard, which, in his opinion, would have cleared her had she kept on the course she was then steering. In reply to Mr. Simpson, Captain Knowles said that the Marine Board had censured him for the collision, but added that anyone who knew how the inquiry had been conducted would wonder at that. The second officer of the Namoi and the chief engineer, two passengers, the lamp trimmer, and quartermaster of the Namoi gave evidence corroborative of Captain Knowles's statement, to the effect that when first seen the Grace Lynn had her red light showing, then her red and green, and ultimately the green light, which showed for a moment and then disappeared. His Honor, in summing up to the jury, said that in this case, as in all cases of the kind which came before the law courts, the evidence of the one side was completely contradictory of the other on almost all the material points. The plaintiffs said that after passing the Newcastle they had kept a straight course, which was only interrupted when their vessel was run into and sunk by the Namoi. The defendant, on the other hand, held that had the Grace Lynn kept such a course there could have been no collision ; the collision being, they alleged, solely due to the unsteady course steered by the schooner. The jury brought in a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for £900 damages. DARLINGHURST COURT. (1886, June 16). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article107286751

Captain William Austin Knowles (1825/6-1910) was the senior ship master with the Hunter River New Steam Navigation Company. This did not mean they were going to ‘pick up the tab’ for costs incurred during his work. This notice may give you an insight into what being a captain of one of the finest steamers entailed at this time;

Dated 6/3/1882 but published 9/3/1882, "Hunter River New Steam Navigation Company. Notice to Tradesmen and Others. Mr. William Austin Knowles, Master of the Steamship Maitland, having been appointed provedore of the vessel under his command, the Directors of the Company hereby repeat their former notification, that they will not be accountable or liable for any debts that may be contracted by the provedores of any of the Company's steamers, or for any Supplies that may be furnished for provisioning the crews or passengers of the said vessels; and also, that they will not be Accountable or Liable for any Debts that may be contracted without the written signature of their Manager. By order of the Board. F. J. Thomas, Manager. Offices, foot of Market-street, Sydney, 6th March, 1882."

Captain Knowles continued in charge of the Namoi until at least 1892. The Grace Lynn went back into service between Stockton and New Zealand and Sydney. She later went aground at Ballina:

A SCHOONER ASHORE AT BALLINA. NO HOPE OF SAVING HER. SYDNEY, FRIDAY. The schooner Grace Lynn, 93 tons, owned by Messrs. Lynn and Salmon, of Newcastle, and trading between Sydney and the Richmond River, went ashore to-day at Ballina,and has evidently sprung a severe leak. She has now 6ft. of water in her, and all hopes of getting her off have been abandoned. The captain and crew have been safely landed.  A SCHOONER ASHORE AT BALLINA. (1892, June 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 7. Retrieved  from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article8426678

An inquiry was held yesterday morning by the Marine Board into the circumstances connected with the collision which occurred, between the coasting steamers Newcastle and Namoi, on the morning of the 12th instant, when running between Sydney and Newcastle. There were present :-Captain Broomfield, vice-president (in the chair),Captains Jenkins, Moody, M'Lean, Robertson, and Captain Lindeman, secretary. Mr. J. Want, instructed by Mr.O'Keefe, appeared on behalf of the owners of the Namoi and Mr. Rogers, instructed by Mr. Wallace, for the owners of the Newcastle. The following evidence was given :
Captain W. A. Knowles, sworn, stated that he was master of the Namoi on the morning of the 12th instant when she came into collision with the Steamer Newcastle; the Namoi was a paddle steamer, owned by the H. R. N. S. N. Company, and registered in Sydney ; she was not insured at the time of the collision the, Namoi was on a voyage from Sydney to Newcastle, and the collision occurred a little north of Cape Three Points ; the Namoi was not seriously injured ; there was a very thick fog at the time.
To Mr. Want : We left Sydney Wharf at 11 p.m., and got to the point of collision at 2 a.m. ; the fog came on a little after 1 o'clock, and he was then about two miles north of Broken Bay light ; the fog was then beginning to obscure the light, and ho slowed the engine ; the vessel could not have been going at the rate of five knots an hour; it was impossible for the vessels to have seen one another before they did; sometimes his masthead light was obscured ; he blew his whistle four seconds before the Newcastle did ; the Newcastle was nearly end on, but, judging by the sound, a little on the port bow ; lie gave the order to port, believing that the vessels would thus pass port to port ; he then blow the long blast in answer to the long blast from the Namoi, and immediately afterwards two blasts came from the Newcastle, showing that she had starboarded ; it was impossible for him to starboard then, as his vessel was paying off ; he then stopped his vessel and heard the relief officer of the Newcastle call out "Go astern; " the Newcastle was heading to his fore rigging, and would therefore have struck the Namoi's fore cabins; witness ordered "full speed," as loss of life might have ensued if the Newcastle had cut into the fore cabins, and she had been blowing the whistle for some time before the collision occurred ; he had never seen the fog so dense before except on oo ; his vessel was heading north by east half east when he heard the whistle, and east north-east at the time of the collision ; there was a man on the look-out on the starboard paddle-box ; the second officer on the port, and there were also himself and the man at the wheel Frederick Dettman, second officer of the Namoi, deposed that he remembered the fog coming on, the vessel somewhere about Broken Bay at the time, and the speed was put to slow, this would reduce the speed to five or six knots there was a good lookout, but it was hardly possible to see the vessel a length ahead, the whistle was kept going, he heard a whistle on the port side, and north ahead, just before the collision Captain Knowles gave the order, laid a-port, and the Newcastle blew her whistle for starboard, as the vessels were coming together if Captain Knowles had not given the order full speed ahead, the Newcastle would have shuck the Namoi amongst the fore cabins, the blow came on the sponsons from the time the Namoi whistle gave one blast until ho heard two from the Newcastle only a few seconds elapsed….. The board, having carefully considered the evidence adduced in the case of the collision between the steamers Namoi and Newcastle, are… that it was caused by a very thick fog, which Prevented the vessels being seen in time to avoid the collision, and no evidence has been adduced on which to found a charge of default against either master. At the same time the were of opinion that, if the Namoi had gone full speed astern, the collision would have been avoided.
COLLISION BETWEEN THE S.S. NEWCASTLE AND NAMOI. (1886, February 19). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13611830


This image depicts the paddle steamer NEWCASTLE at a Pittwater Regatte, New South Wales. The vessel was flagship for the Pittwater Regatta in 1922, 1923, 1924 and 1927. These were seriously large vessels. The Newcastle was 1,251 gross tons, 587 net. Lbd: 264'6" x 32'9" x 15'9". Steel hulled Paddle steamer, compound type oscillating engine of 500 horsepower. Built by J Key & Sons, Kinghorn for the Newcastle Steamship Co. She originally had 3 funnels, and worked the Sydney - Newcastle passenger run with a reputaion for speediness. She proved rather expensive to operate and later had one funnel removed along with a boiler. Became part of the Newcastle Hunter River S N Co in December 1891. Had a brief time working the Bass Strait run under charter to Huddart Parker & Co., Melbourne, exact time unknown. She returned to her Newcastle - Sydney duties until withdrawn and hulked 1928. She was the last ocean going paddle steamer actively working at that time. June 1933 scuttled off Sydney. Info Courtesy Flotilla Australia website. Image no 13729 courtesy Australian National Martimte Museum set on Flickr.

THE S.S. NAMOI. The Hunter River Company's steamship Namoi, which collided yesterday morning with the Newcastle Company's steamer Newcastle, arrived this morning early from Newcastle. Several hundred people have visited her during the morning. Her injuries are not no serious as those sustained by the Newcastle. She will be taken to Mort's Dock this afternoon for repairs. Her sponson for'ard of the paddle wheel on the port side has been smashed, but fortunately her hull escaped unhurt. THE S.S. NAMOI. (1886, February 13). Globe (Sydney, NSW : 1885 - 1887), p. 4 Edition: EVENING. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article102558452

Another social phenomenon which started around the time of the Namoi commecning her passenger and cargo ferry service to and from Newcastle was the perception that those who could afford a berth or stateroom may have a bit of money to spare and could be preyed upon by those who thought they did not have enough;

A Peculiar Robbery. Newcastle, Monday. During the passage of the Namoi from Sydney on Friday night, one of the crew, at about midnight, noticed a fore cabin passenger sneaking out of the saloon minus his boots and hat, and carrying a waistcoat. The sailor gave chase, and the man bolted and hid himself among some boxes. Constable Olsen, who was in charge of some convicts on board, and another policeman, seized him and found that the waistcoat belonged to Mr. Kirchener, the proprietor of the ice works, and that it contained a valuable gold watch and chain and a quantity of silver, stolen from his(Mr. J Kirchener's) cabin. The thief, who is a sailor, and was on his way to Newcastle to join a ship, bolted again and sprang into the life-boat. Thence he jumped on the paddle-box, and having dropped on the rail, he crawled under the cover of the paddle-wheel. The steamer was stopped for fully an hour, and every man aboard, from the captain and the passengers to the engineers, searched the vessel from stem to stern. No trace of the thief could be obtained. A double watch was placed at the gangway before the arrival of the vessel at Newcastle, but there were still no signs of the thief, who was probably drowned. Later; It appears that the thief wore false whiskers and was a saloon passenger, in a bunk near Mr. Kirchener's. The latter was awakened by the thief pulling at his waistcoat. Mr. Kirchner at once jumped up and gave chase. The thief dealt him a heavy blow in the teeth with his fist. A Peculiar Robbery. (1884, December 1). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article107280715

H. R. N. S. N. CO TIME TABLE. STEAM TO SYDNEY From Morpeth, Newcastle. This Thursday, Maitland. noon 5 p.mFriday, Namoi Friday, Lubra (Cargo only)Saturday, Morpeth. Monday, Namoi.Monday, Lubra (Cargo only)Tuesday, Maitland. Wednesday, Namoi.Wednesday, Morpeth. 10 a.m. 11 p.m STEAM FROM SYDNEY EVERY NIGHT, Sunday excepted, Goods for Clarence Town received daily. Deck Cabins, Berths, Saloon, State Rooms, or Reserved Cabins can be secured at once on application at the Company's Newcastle Office, by telegram or letter, to Lochbead and Co., Agents, J. W. LEE, Agent, Morpeth, January 14, 1885. 418 Advertising. (1885, January 15). The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18943196

STEALING from the person, on board a STEAMER. John Price was indicted for that he, on the 21st December last, on board a British steamer, to wit, the steamship Namoi, then on the high seas, unlawfully did attempt and endeavour to steal, take, and carry away from the person of Edmund Churchhill, the moneys of the said Edmund Churchhill. Accused pleaded not guilty, and was de-fended by Mr. Edmunds, instructed by Mr. Cronin (for Mr. Gorrick). In opening the case the Grown Prosecutor said it was one of extreme importance to society. The directors of the Steamship Companies and the public had suffered much annoyance, and had been greatly exercised inconsequence of the robberies committed onboard the steamers. Some time ago between£200 and £300 in specie were stolen in that way. It waB found necessary to employ detectives and other police to detect the persons engaged in these systematic robberies. If they believed the evidence they had now got hold of the right person. That was a question that should engage their careful consideration. The prosecutor, who is a miner in the Newcastle district, was a passenger by the steamship Namoi from Sydney to Newcastle, on the night in question, and occupied a lower berth. The accused's berth was at right angles with his. Prosecutor was dozing, when he discovered a hand in his right pocket, and caught hold of the hand, which he found to be accused's. He held Price's hand, and examined it, but found it contained nothing. He then asked the accused what he was doing, and the latter replied nothing. Prosecutor said " You have been trying to rob me." Price denied the accusation, and abused the prosecutor. The fore-cabin steward of thesteamer, Thomas Barrett, heard the prosecutor accuse Price of having robbed him. Previously Barrett's attention had been called by a passenger to accused leaning over a Frenchman, who was also a passenger, and having his hands in his pocket. The steward pulled Price on one side, and ordered him to go on deck, and while he was advising the Frenchman to let him care for his money till morning, the accused was disputing with prosecutor. Prosecutor had £17s 6d in his possession, and no money was abstracted from his person. On the arrival of the Namoi at Newcastle the accused was seen by senior-constable Thompson getting off the paddle-wheel of the steamer as the sailors were in the act of putting down the gangway. Prosecutor was sober on board. On the evening of the 23rd December the accused was arrested in Newcastle by Detective Campbin. He admitted to the police officer that he had come up from Sydney by the steamer Namoi on the previous Sunday night, but when charged with the offence he said he knew nothing about it. It was stated in evidence that several cases of robbery had occurred on the steamers between Newcastle and Sydney. For the defence, John Eyles, engineer, Pyrmont, and Francis Begg, sawyer, Sydney, who were passengers with the accused on the occasion referred to, deposed that they were present when the steward of the steamer ordered the accused out of his berth, in which he was lying. Price went on deck afterwards. The witnesses heard no accusation made against Price of having attempted to rob the prosecutor. No charge of that character had been made in their presence. Mr. Edmunds addressed the Bench at some length, arguing that the fact that so many thefts had taken place on the steamer, was sufficient to raise a doubt in the case, and suggested that a person other than the accused was the guilty party. His Honor summed up strongly against the accused, and defended the steward of the steamer from some remarks made by the learned counsel. The judge reviewed the evidence at great length. The jury after five minutes' deliberation found the accused guilty. The following previous convictions were proved : 23rdSeptember, 1858, assault, one month's imprisonment ; 23rd October, 1868, larceny, six months, with hard labour ; 8th February,1873, larceny, six months, with hard labour ;31st July, 1876, larceny, six months with hard labour; 27th June, 1879, vagrancy, six months with hard labour ; 22nd February,1882, having stolen property in his possession, one month; Sydney Quarter Sessions, 6thJune, 18S2, stealing in a dwelling, three years, with hard labour ; and fifteen summary convictions for drunkenness. His Honor said it ought to be satisfactory to the jury to learn the character of the prisoner. He thought it was desirable that they should learn the prisoner's history, and judge how far the surmises of the learned counsel were correct. Such surmises might have effect injuries in some cases. The accused was remanded for sentence. Maitland Quarter Sessions. (1885, March 19). The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18947099

Robbery on the Namoi Steamship". (Newcastle Herald of Tuesday.)
During the past few months several robberies of an extensive character have been perpetrated on steamers running between Newcastle and Sydney and vice versa, but as none had been reported for some time past it was surmised that the depredators of these thefts had secluded themselves from the vigilance of the police, who were on the alert, so numerous had the robberies become. On Saturday night, however, or on Sunday morning at an early hour, a daring, and apparently premeditated, robbery was committed on the steamer Namoi. The vessel left here at 11 o'clock on Saturday night for the  metropolis, crowded both for«and aft with passengers, those in the former portion of the vessel being mostly betting men (who had come up to witness the Sheffield Handicap),"spielers" of the lowest description possible, and "mont" players by the dozen. The saloon was also crowded, and in fact it was hard to move about without stumbling across someone. About a quarter past 12 several of the passengers handed the chief steward (Mr. C. Kingman) their valuables to place in the iron safe which he keeps in his cabin, and which is just at the entrance to the saloon. Mr. J. W. Kirkaldy gave that gentleman a silver watch and gold chain, a gold ring, one ¿E10-notc,and four ¿El-notes, and one or two other articles in all valued at about ¿£40-to take care of. One or two of the "spielers" also gave him some¿E27, which he placed in the safe with some £28 of his own takings at the bar. Having locked the safe securely, and also the cabin door, he transferred the keys to his pocket and walked away. Towards 2 o'clock he had occasion to enter his cabin, but he did not notice anything wrong, and locked it again. The steamer arrived alongside the Sydney wharf about 5.30 on Sunday morning, and after the gangway had been placed from the vessel to the wharf, the "spielers" accosted the steward and asked for their money. He at once proceeded to his cabin to comply with the request, little thinking what a surprise was in store for him, and on going to the safe he was aghast at finding it unlocked, and the whole of the contents gone, to the value of £95. The news of the affair soon spread, and Mr. Kirkaldy, who was asleep, was informed of what had taken place. By this time nearly all the passengers had left the vessel, especially the "spielers," so that it appeared futile to attempt to solve the mystery as to who had abstracted the money and jewellery from the safe. Had the robbery been discovered ere the vessel reached the wharf, she would have anchored in the stream, whilst a messenger would have been despatched for the police. There were several of the force on the wharf, but it was too late for them to make any arrests, as the bird or birds had evidently flown. The matter was immediately reported to the police, and several Sydney detectives were soon active, and examined minutely the safe and cabin where the  robbery had taken place. The locks had not been injured in any way, and duplicate keys had evidently been used, by which an entrance was effected, the whole affair clearly pointing to the fact that whoever took part in this extensive robbery was one who knew his way about the vessel. It has been stated by several that these robberies have not been the acts of "spielers " and ,loafers, but of one of the crew; but no evidence whatever has been forthcoming to show that this is so. At any rate, it is a most peculiar robbery, and duplicate keys would have to be made at least to get at the safe. The police have the matter in hand, and intend, if possible investigating the cause of these too frequent robberies.
Robbery on the Namoi Steamship. (1886, May 13). The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893), p. 2. Retrieved from

Aside from these adventures the Namoi brought people to Pittwater and the Hawkesbury during the 'season' which began in early Spring each year and lasted until May. A sample of some of her destinations and the thousands of people she brought here:

The Newcastle Steamship Company dispatched the favourite and fast paddle-steamer Newcastle on a trip for Careel Bay with a full complement of passengers, while a large number had to be turned away from the wharf, being unable to get a seat. The trip was a most enjoyable one, and all landed on their return apparently well satisfied with their day's outing. The company also dispatched the paddle-steamer Sydney to Botany Bay, it being also well patronised. Other steamers plied all day from the Circular Quay to the various .resorts, and were, needless to say, crowded. Some 8000 journeyed by the Manly steamers to ' our village,' 4000 to Chowder Bay, 3000 to Mosman’s Bay, Watson Bay, Cabarita (where dancing was indulged in to the strains of the Young Australian Band), Fern Bay, and Clontarf, and very large numbers to the various other bays and nooks. The Maitland, Namoi, Gwydir, and Balmain also sailed for Broken Bay, Pittwater, Newport, and the Hawkesbury, crowded with passengers, and returned without any mishap. Boxing Day. (1890, December 27). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113749384

the Hunter River Steamship Company arranged that the  favourite  paddle-wheel passenger steamer  Namoi should run up the Hawkesbury as far as the railway bridge, for the inspection of which, as well as of the natural beauties of the Hawkesbury voyagers were afforded abundant opportunity. The Namoi left the wharf at 10 a.m with a full complement, and at about the same hour the steamer Maitland cast off for the Newport Hotel wharf the Newcastle Company ran the paddle steamer Sydney to Careel Bay, Pittwater, and carried thither a numerous body of excursionists, many of them having provided themselves with fishing tackle, had some capital sport. Mr B B. Nicoll's steamer Wyrallah also ran to Newport, and was well patronised. HARBOUR AND OCEAN EXCURSIONS. (1891, January 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13785202

The Steamer Namoi. The H.R.N.S.N. Co.'s steamer Namoi has resumed her trips to and from Newcastle, under the command of Captain Knowles, after having received a most extensive overhaul at Morts Dock. The engine department has during her stay at the dock received more than her usual notice. The high and low pressure slide valves were taken out and faced up. The cylinders, safety valves, pistons, crank, and paddle shafts, bearings, &c, were thoroughly examined and found to be in good order. The paddle wheels have had special attention. The electric light and steering engines were examined. The boilers after being cleaned were found to be in exceptionally good order. The hull was chipped and painted inside and out. The whole of the passenger accommodation has received special attention, deck cabins, saloon and steerage having been cleaned and painted. The Namoi, after adjusting compasses, made a trial trip on Tuesday, when a speed of nearly 15 knots per hour was attained. After the trial the Government engineer surveyor expressed great satisfaction with the result. The Steamer Namoi. (1891, July 24). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111985581

Ocean Excursion.— The Hunter River New Steam Navigation Co. dispatched its fast and favorite paddle-wheel steamer Namoi on a trip' to Broken Bay and Newport on Sunday. This trip was to have taken place on Eight hour Day, but was postponed owing to the heavy weather. ' The Namoi, under the command of Captain Knowles, left the company's wharf, foot of Market street, at 10.30, and despite the fact that several showers of rain fell during the morning there was a large crowd of excursionists on board. Upon clearing the Heads a pleasant swell was felt, which continued throughput the whole of the upward voyage. Upon nearing the Newport Hotel Wharf a very heavy hail storm was encountered, some of the hailstones being very large; but beyond delaying the steamer some 10 minutes, the captain being unable to see owing to the density of the atmosphere, and breaking the pole holding up the forward awning, the storm passed off without doing any serious damage. After the storm was over some of the jollier passengers engaged in a game of snowball: Upon arrival at Newport Wharf  the excursionists disembarked and explored the magnificent reaches in search of wild flowers and ferns in which this place abounds. After spending some four hours  ashore the passengers  re-embarked, and the return journey was started at 4 o’clock. Upon clearing Barrenjoey  the sea was found to be calmer than on the upward journey, and after a most enjoyable trip the excursionists were landed at the;wharf at about 6.30, all apparently well satisfied with the excursion. AMUSEMENTS. (1891, October 12). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111989712

In order to accommodate the large number of excursionists to the Hawkesbury River, and to prevent overcrowding on Monday next (Prince of Wales 'Birthday), the Hunter River Steam Navigation Company intend, weather permitting, to despatch from the wharf at the foot of Market-street, at 10 a.m. sharp, the magnificent paddle-wheel passenger steamer Namoi, 1414 tons, landing excursionists for about four hours at Long Island Wharf, Peat's Ferry, and the S.S. Maitland, to Newport, landing excursionists at the Newport Hotel wharf for about four hours. Band music will be provided. PRINCE OF WALES' BIRTHDAY. (1891, November 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13848800

The Hunter River New Steam Navigation Company despatched its favorite paddle-steamerNamoi, under the command of Captain W. A. Knowles, on an excursion to Broken Bay and Hawkesbury River. The Namoi left the company's wharf at the foot of Market-street at 10a.m. with between 900 and 1000 excursionists onboard. On clearing the Heads a light swell was felt, with a northerly breeze, which continued throughout the whole of the upward journey. On the way up a fall view of the coast as far as Broken Bay was obtained, and upon entering the bay a fleet of yachts, all in line, was seen coming out of one of the various inlets after their Easter encampment, their white sails lending an additional charm to that scenery with which Broken Bay and the Hawkesbury River abounds. A slight alteration in the stopping place was made on this occasion, the steamers, instead of going as far as the Hawkesbury Bridge, stopping at Dangar Island, which place was reached by the Namoi at a little before 1 o clock. Upon landing some of the excursionists amused themselves gathering ferns, others in gathering oysters, fishing, &c, while the new baths which have been lately erected on the island were also taken advantage of by a great many. The return journey was commenced at about a quarter to 4, a good 1breeze being met with on the downward journey, the swell on the sea being also a little heavier than on the upward journey. This made some a little sick, while several others were glad when Sydney Heads were reached. The Namoi arrived at the company's wharf at about 6.30 p.m., after a most enjoyable trip. The Coldstream Band discoursed music on the steamer, both on the upward and downward journey, and also on Dangar Island. About 450 excursionists journeyed to Newport by the same company's steamer, Maitland (Captain Mannigal), where a very pleasant two hours were spent in rambling about the bush and enjoying the beautiful scenery of this part of the Hawkesbury. Newport wharf was reached about 1 p.m., and a start for home was made at 3.30, the Sydney wharf being reached about 6.45 p.m. without mishap. The Glebe Band supplied the musical part of the programme. THE THEATRES. (1892, April 19). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article112944360

BALMAIN PREMIER COLDSTREAM BAND  Mr. Fred Witton, hon. secretary of the Balmain Premier Coldstream Band, reports that this popular Band have to fulfil the following engagements: September 26, League of Wheelmen Sports; October 3, 2J.S. Wales AmateurAthletic Sports; October 5, N.S.Wales Cycling Union Sports; October 13, Coal Lumpers Picnic ; October 19, St. Francis's School Picnic.They have also several engagements for the string band. BALMAIN PREMIER COLDSTREAM BAND. (1896, September 21). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111033451

GLEBE. The members of the Glebe Local Brass Band held their second quadrille party, on Wednesdayevening, in the Glebe Town Hall. There was a very large attendance, and the proceedings were. carried out very successfully under the supervision of Mr. C. Powell, M.C. The band has nowbeen organised six months, ia composed of sixteen efficient members, tinder the well knownbandmaster, Sir. J. Devlin. They have appeared several times in public, and have always given satisfaction. The Mayor and aldermen of the Glebe have given their patronage, and there isevery prospect of the local band attaining great popularity. GLEBE. (1887, September 1). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108005705

Captain Knowles, of the Namoi, in concert with the Gwydir, landed his passengers at the jetty at Newport, and gave them a run on shore for about three hours, which was most thoroughly enjoyed. The Namoi was the first steamer to arrive in port, followed closely by the s.s. Gwydir and immediately in the latter's wake came the s.S. Balmain. The excursionists speak in the highest of praise in all cases of the attendance they received on board, from the respective commanders downwards. It Is pleasing to relate that no accident ocourred throughout, the weather fine, the sea smooth, and a most enjoyable day was spent. OCEAN EXCURSIONS. (1890, April 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13766008

Fire on Board the s.s. NAMOI SUPPOSED INCENDIARISM.EXTENSIVE DAMAGE. A great deal of consternation was caused in Sydney about 9 o'clock this morning when the news spread that the well-known steamer Namoi, lying at the Hunter River Steam Navigation Co.'s wharf at the foot of Market-street, was on fire. A crowd soon collected round the wharf, but finding there was no admission to the premises, and that no view of the vessel could be obtained, they soon dispersed. The history of the fire is as follows : At 6 o'clock this morning the night watchman employed on board the steamer left the vessel apparently all safe. The wharf laborers and others in the employ of the company went to their work about the same time, and nothing unusual occurred until about 10 minutes to 9 o'clock, when a wharf laborer named White thought he smelt fire. Investigation justified his suspicions, and it was quickly ascertained that flames had got a good hold in the vicinity of the saloon. A private hydrant was got to work, and the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Was called. Superintendent Bear ordered two steam-engines to the scene, and with Mr. Webb (second in command M.F.B.) personally superintended operations. By about half-past 9 the fire was 'got under ' but not before damage to the extent of considerably over £1000 had been done. The North Sydney and Standard Brewery V F Companies were in attendance. After examining the vessel, Mr. Bear is in a position to state that the fire originated in the upper bunk of one of the stewards' Cabins, situated in the starboard alley-way leading aft to the saloon. Thence it spread rapidly to other small cabins and the pantry adjoining, and was arrested in the entrance to the saloon. The small cabins are completely burnt out, and the saloon fittings and furniture are seriously damaged by smoke and water. All the approaches to the saloon, were securely locked when the Steamer came alongside the wharf, and the doors had not been opened since. The assumption is that the fire has been the work of an incendiary, accomplished by dropping alighted match through a sky light on to the bedding in the steward's cabin. The matter, is already being closely investigated by detectives and the police. The vessel is not insured. Fire on Board the s.s. Namoi. (1890, September 18). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113340731

Of the steamers engaged in the Sydney to Newcastle passenger service the Namoi of the of the H.R. N.S.N. Company's line is perhaps one of the best known. She was built expressly for the trade, and during the seven years that she has been running has made quite a name for herself  both for speed and comfort. Some short time ago, whilst the strike was in full swing, the Namoi was laid up, and one morning there was an outbreak of fire on board. The fire broke out in the saloon, and before it could be extinguished this handsome apartment was almost totally destroyed. This proved a serious loss to the company, who were not only deprived of the services of the good ship, but were put to considerable expenses in having the damage made good. It was found necessary to have the saloon completely renovated, and the work, which has occupied several weeks, has now been completed. The new saloon is, if anything, an improvement on the old one, and the workmanship throughout is of the highest class, reflecting great credit on the contractor. The new saloon is fitted up with choice woods, and the decorations are in pleasing style, white and gold predominating. The jalousie work and lincrusta walton panelling are all new, and what with handsome carved mouldings and silverg plated fittings, new carpets and hangings, the apartment has a most charming appearance. The various staterooms have been rearranged, and all the space devoted to passengers both on deck and in the saloons and cabins has been made as comfortable and as luxurious as possible. An important alteration to the arrangements on board, and one which will prove a great attraction, is the installation of the electric light. Another improvement on board is the widening of both entrances to the saloon from the main deck. This has been done by entrance into two berth rooms. These new cabins are exceedingly large and are fitted up  as in the case of the others, with due regard to passengers comfort. New revolving chairs, covered with Utrecht velvet, have been provided in the dining-saloon, and the open berths aft are in keeping, the settees also being covered with Utrecht velvet. The ladies saloon overhead has not been neglected and looks as comfortable as ever it did, whilst the handsome companion-way, which has been touched up, adds to the cheerful appearance of the laternal arrangomonts. The opportunity was taken whilst the passenger accommodation was being renovated to give the Namoi a complete overhaul, the work being done on the Atlas pontoon. The hull both inside and out was examined and found to be in splendid order. Chipping, cleaning and painting was carried out both internally and externally, the bottom being coated with Nomo's anti-corrosive and fouling composition. The engines also had due examination, and were found to be in thorough working order. The Namoi made an engineer's trial trip on Friday and acquitted herself  remarkably well, covering the measured mile in 4min. 4sec., equal to a speed of close to 15knots per hour. The engines developed 1835 horse-power with 90lb. of steam, 25in. of vacuum, and making 26 ½  revolutions per minute. The Namoi had resumed running, leaving Newcastle for Sydney at 11.30p.m., Captain Knowles in command, and it is fully expected that with the alterations and improvements effected she  will prove agreater favorite than ever with the travelling public.
The S.S. Namoi. (1890, December 10). Singleton Argus (NSW : 1880 - 1954) , p. 4. Retrieved from

Marine Excursions.; — The Newcastle and Hunter River Steam Navigation Company dispatched their favorite paddle steamer Namoi on an excursion to Broken Bay and Hawkesbury River yesterday. The Namoi, gaily decked with bunting, left the company's wharf at about five minutes past 10 under the command of Captain W. A. Knowles, with a very large crowd of excursionists on board. After a pleasant trip down the harbor the heads were cleared a little  before 11 o'clock. A northerly wind with a light easterly swell made several on board feel unwell. After a little over an hour's steaming the steamer entered Broken Bay Heads, and the magnificent scenery which is to be found there was seen at its best. The steamer arrived at Dangar Island a little before 1 o'clock. All on board then went ashore and passed a few hours, some in gathering flowers and oysters, others exploring the bush, while some indulged in dancing in the pavilion attached to the Marine Hotel. About a qnarter to 4 three blasts of the whistle gave warning to those on shore to be aboard, and Dangar Island was left at 4 o'clock. The steamer took a different route on the way home, affording those on board a splendid view of the Hawkesbury Bridge. After clearing Broken Bay Heads on the return journey, it was found that the breeze had gone round to the eastward, and had brought a rather heavier swell than what was experienced on the upward journey. This caused the Namoi to roll a bit, and consequently several on board suffered from sea sickness. The steamer, however, made good progress, and arrived at the company's wharf about a quarter to 7, after a most enjoyable trip. A brass band on board enlivened the proceedings on both journeys, and also played in .the pavilion at Dangar Island for those who desired to dance. The same company dispatched the steamer Maitland on an excursion to Broken Bay and Newport. The Maitland left the company's wharf with a good crowd on board, and after a pleasant trip made fast to Newport wharf a little after 1. A few hours were spent ashore, and judging by the way the excursionists were laden with wild flowers and ferns it was evident that they had enjoyed themselves. After a pleasant trip the Maitland made fast to the company’s wharf about 6.30 p.m. A brass band on board helped to pass the time pleasantly, and greatly contributed to the pleasure of those onboard. Eight-hour Day. (1892, October 4). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113313104

Marine Excursions-The Newcastle and Hunter River Steamship Company's magnificent paddle-wheel steamer Namoi will be dispatched from the Company's Wharf, foot of Market-street, at 2 o'clock to-morrow, on an excursion to the Hawkesbury, Pittwater, and Newport. Excursionists will have an opportunity of viewing the Scenery of the Hawkesbury, and Pittwater, and will be landed at the Newport Hotel Wharf for about an hour. The steamer will leave Newport at 6 p.m.; and town will  be reached at 8. The Coldstream Band has been engaged and will play several choice selections during the trip.  As the return fare is only 2s, this and the excursion tobe held on the 17th, 24th, and 31st instant, should be liberally patronised.  Advertising. (1892, December 9). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113316838

S.S. NEWCASTLE to Dangar Island, Hawkesbury River S.S. NAMOI to Newport, Pittwater. Excursionists per the Newcastle will have an opportunity of viewing the Seven miles of River Scenery and the famous Railway Bridge, and he landed at the Marine Hotel, Dangar Island, for about four hours. Excursionists per the Namoi will be favored with a view of the Magnificent Scenery of Pittwater, and be landed at Newport Hotel Wharf for about four hours. Bands engaged for each trip. Luncheon and Refreshments on board and at The hotels at moderate rates,3s Return Fare 3s, Children half-price. F. J. THOMAS, Manager. Offices— 147 Sussex-street and 401 George-street. Advertising. (1892, December 24). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113313195

Ocean Excursions. — A large number of persons availed themselves of the trip to Broken Bay and Dangar Island yesterday in the Hunter River Company’s paddle steamer Namoi (Captain Snowies). The trip up was delightful, the sea being as calm as the proverbial mill pond. On arrival a pleasant three hours was spent ashore, but on the return passage a nor'-easterly sprung up, which brought on a slight swell, causing the ship to roll, and a number of passengers to suffer mal-de-mer. Sydney was reached about 6.45, all having enjoyed a pleasant trip. The Gwydir (Captain Thompson) with a full complement of excursionists went to Newport, where a pleasant time was spent. DRUIDS' PICNIC. (1893, January 27). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113733635

THE NAMOI AGAIN IN COMMISSION.  The Newcastle and Hunter River Steamship Company’s  paddle-wheel steamer Namoi having undergone a thorough overhaul at Mort's Dock and Engineering Works, Balmain, to prepare her for the passeneger service during the summer season left the dock at 9 o’clock yesterday morning for a spin down the harbour, in charge of Captain Knowles who is favorably known m the passenger trade between Sydney and Newcastle Mr Marshall, representing the Marine Board, and Mr R Pollock, the company's superintending engineer, were on board. The Namoi steamed below Bradley’s Head turned round and ultimately brought up at Berry's Bay to adjust compasses. The machinery) worked admirably, and although not pushed the vessel,  it is said, attained a speed of 141/2  knots. Having in view the comfort of passengers, special attention was paid to the cabins both saloon and steerage, the whole of them having been cleaned, painted and decorated. The thorough ventilation and the use of the electric light render the cabins cool and comfortable during the hot summer nights, and the care bestowed by the company on the Namoi will be appreciated by the travelling public during the ensuing season. The  Namoi left Sydney last night with passengers and cargo, to resume the service between Sydney, Newcastle and Morpeth.  It is intended to utilize the Namoi for the Saturday afternoon excursions to the Hawkesbury River which are so well patronized during the season, the first trip starting on Saturday, 8th September, should the weather be suitableTHE NAMOI AGAIN IN COMMISSION. (1893, August 29). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13926791

OCEAN EXCURSIONS. The Newcastle and Hunter River Steam Navigation Company despatched two of their steamers for the benefit of those who preferred to spend their holiday on the river and ocean. The s.s. Namoi left with a good complement of passengers for Newport and the Hawkesbury River, and the only drawback to a thoroughly enjoyable outing was the heavy wind which was blowing all day. Upon making fast at the Newport jetty the pleasure seekers were landed for three hours, and found no difficulty in finding amusement of almost every conceivable description. The s.s. Maitland, belonging to the same company, made a trip to Port Hacking,where an equally merry time was spent. Both steamers returned to town shortly after 6 o'clock, thereby giving the picnickers an opportunity of attending the theatres. OCEAN EXCURSIONS. (1893, October 3). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13907829

ACCIDENT TO THE S.S. SYDNEY.  TOWED BACK TO NEWCASTLE. NEWCASTLE, WEDTO SAT. The steamer Sydney, which left Newcastle this morning for Sydney at 1 o'clock, broke her starboard paddle-shaft at 2 25, about four miles north of Red Head. The steamer Namoi, from Sydney, towed her into port this morning by 9 o’clock. The mails on board, and also several passengers, were taken on by the Sydney train at 9. 30. ACCIDENT TO THE S.S. SYDNEY. (1893, October 26). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13923705

OCEAN EXCURSIONS. The s s. Newcastle and the s s Namoi were in readiness yesterday morning to make trips to Pittwater and Newport respectively, but owing to the unfavourable weather neither steamer was despatched. OCEAN EXCURSIONS. (1893, November 10). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13926211

OCEAN EXCURSIONS. Newcastle and Hunter River S. N. Companyorganised three ocean excursions yesterday, andthey were well patronised. The s.s Namoi went to Careel Bay, Hawkesbury River, taking 650 passengers. The s.s. Maitland took 250 passengers to Newport, and the s.s. Sydney 320 to Port Hacking. A band was engaged for each steamer. OCEAN EXCURSIONS. (1894, March 27). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13945934

STEAMER EXCURSION TO COWAN BAY. The large paddle steamship Namoi, which seems to be especially well adapted for making holiday trips, made on Saturday afternoon an excursion to Cowan Bay in the Hawkesbury River, which was patronised by about 300 persons.  Captain Skinner was in command and the Oriental Band was aboard. The weather as well as the sea being propitious the run was an exceedingly enjoyable and healthful one. Everything was done on board that could possibly conduce to the enjoyment of tho excursionists. On arrival at Cowan Bay a stop was made to allow the passengers to go ashore. STEAMER EXCURSION TO COWAN BAY. (1894, November 12). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 6. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13982520

A HARBOR COLLISION. Messrs. Fenwick and Son's steamer Spec, used for the carriage of fresh water to the shipping in the port, was run down yesterday morning in Darling Harbor by the Newcastle and Hunter River Steamship Company's steamer Namoi. The Spec was alongside the steam collier Alice, supplying that vessel with fresh water, when the Namoi, in moving away from the company's wharf, ran foul of her. The paddle wheel of the Newcastle boat struck the Spec heavily on the starboard quarter, and the points of the floats ripped open the side of the water boat. The Spec listed over when struck, and quickly began to settle down by the stem, and- the crew jumped on board the Alice. Fortunately the main tank of the Spec was empty at the time, and this watertight compartment saved the vessel from sinking. However, the Spec’s engine-room was flooded, and the fires put out. Assistance was promptly obtained, and the Spec was towed to Balmain and beached. She will be docked on Monday. A HARBOR COLLISION. (1895, July 13). Evening News(Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article109887512

THE fast paddle-wheel steamship Namoi will leave the Market-street wharf at 2 o'clock sharp tomorrow, affording excursionists a splendid opportunity of enjoying about 20 miles of a delightful ocean trip before entering Broken Bay, and the unsurpassed scenery of seven miles of the Hawkesbury River, including Lion and Dangar islands, the entrance to Pittwater and Cowan Creek, and landing excursionists at Cowan Bay wharf, the paradise of the Hawkesbury—leaving in time to reach Sydney about 7 p.mThe Sydney Morning Herald. (1896, January 24). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14034331

ELSEWHERE the Newcastle and Hunter River Company announce that the Namoi, after being at  Mort's Dock for the past six weeks for an extensive  overhaul, will take up the running of the excursions,leaving the Market-street Wharf at 2 o'clock to-morrow. Excursionists will enjoy about 20 miles of an ocean trip before entering Broken Bay, and after rounding Barranjoey Lighthouse a view of the unsurpassed scenery of Pittwater can be obtained, as the vessel will make a tour round Scotland Island. The Sydney Morning Herald. (1896, March 27). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14043135

The Namoi suffered a few tragedies through people falling off her and drowning but none like this incident:

S.S. NAMOI. THE INQUEST. The inquest on the body of Amy Elizabeth Hoppenworth who was killed on the Namoi on Monday through the breaking of a davit, was held at the Red Lion Hotel, Five Dock, yesterday by the City Coroner (Mr J C Woore, JP) Mr J Taylor appeared on behalf of the relatives of the deceased, and Mr Dibbs (of Messrs. Dibbs and Gibson; for the Newcastle and Hunter River S S Company Janey Hoppenworth stated that she resided with her parents at Bay View-road, Five Dock, and was 15 years of age Deceased was her sister, and was 17 years old and a native of England. Deceased, a young woman named Edith Grayhurst, and witness were passengers to the Hawkesbury by the Namoi onMonday They were sitting on a seat on the right side of the vessel when Cowan Bay was reached A boat was there suspended from davits near where they were sitting, and someone began to lower it something appeared to break, and witness looked into the water and saw two men struggling Then she heard a crash, and, looking round, saw her sister still sitting on the seat near her But her sister's head was split, and she was dead Witness did not know what struck her. Dr Jamieson described the injuries to the deceased. The left side of the face was smashed, and death must have been instantaneous. Matthew Thompson, second officer of the Namoi, stated that there was a general order in force, according to which on his arrival at Cowan Bay on Monday he was expected to see that everything was in readiness for mooring the vessel. He went aft and placed two men, named Christiansen and Peterson, in the boat which was hanging from davits on the starboard side of the vessel Two other men, named Williams and Burford, were stationed at the davit tackle When near the wharf witness gave the order to lower the boat to within aft of the water, which was the meaning of the usual order given when lowering a boat for moorage purposes Witness then stationed himself on the taff rail under the sun deck, from which position he could receive the captain’s orders He saw the fore part of the boat lowered into the water suddenly, and the two occupants thrown out The davit to which the fore part of the boat was attached broke off at the socket and fell overboard This was due to the strain upon it caused by the bow of the boat being submerged while the vessel had way on From his position on the vessel witness could not see who was handling the tackle when the bow of the boat fell into the water The tackle was new, perfectly sound, and unbroken, and from subsequent observation witness was convinced that the davit was also sound By a juryman The Namoi was travelling at the rate of three knots when the boat was lowered The vessel was licensed to carry  600 passengers on excursion days, and had a full complement on Monday. When he saw the boat on the water he gave the order to " go astern " in order to take the strain off the davits caused by the resistance of the submerged boat Samuel Williams, a seaman employed on the Namoi, stated that the second officer gave the order to him and Burford to stand by the starboard boat, and to see that the line was clear He saw that the line was clear Burford was standing by the tackle of the after davit....Thomas Burford, a seaman attached to the Namoi, stated that on approaching the wharf at Cowan Creek he went to stand by the starboard boat in accordance with a general order The boat was then swung on the davits, and he stood by the  after tackle, with his hand on the fall. Witness was then looking out towards the bay He did not at that time know where Williams was It was one man's duty to go and clear the line, and if witness did not go it would be necessary for Williams to go Witness did not see Williams go to the fore tackle, as a number of passengers on board obstructed his view. Witness had his hand on the fall for five minutes. Two men wore in the boat, and one of them called out " Lower away " Then the second officer was at his post in the after part of the vessel If he had given an order witness would have heard it. It was the practice for the men in the boat to give the order to " Lower away," and then to lower it to within ¿it of the water The men should then, according to practice, wait until the captain whistled before the boat was lowered into the water On Monday witness lowered the Stern and saw the fore-part of it being lowered , but on account of the number of passengers between him and the davit ho could not see who was handling tho .opa After the boat had been partially lowered he saw the forward part go with a run, throwing the two occupants of the boat into the water Witness believed that it was Williams who was lowering the boat after the order had been given by the boatman. The further hearing of the inquest was adjourned until 10 o'clock to-day at the Freemasons' Hotel, Burwood. FATAL ACCIDENT ON THE S.S. NAMOI. (1896, April 9). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14044944

FATAL ACCIDENT ON THE S.S. NAMOI. THE INQUEST. The inquest on the body of Amy Elizabeth Hoppenworth who was killed on the Namoi on Monday through the breaki ng of a davit, was continued at the Freemasons' Hotel, Burwood, yesterday by the City Coroner (Mr J C Woore, JP.) Mr J Taylor appeared on behalf of the relatives of the deceased and Mr Dibbs (0f Messrs Dibbs and Gibson) for the Newcastle and Hunter River S S Company Evidence was given by two seamen  attached to the Namoi, named respectively Christenson and Peterson, mainly corroboration of evidence given on the previous day.

The jury  returned a verdict of death from injuries accidentally received, and added the following rider
-" We are of opinion that the company should be censured for the great lack of discipline displayed by their servants on the occasion, and on all future excursions when the order is given to stand by the boat the men should not leave their post till the boat reaches the water, and we are also of opinion that Thomas Brightmore, while not criminally liable, is deserving of censure, inasmuch as he had no right to interfere with any part of the ship's duties.
FATAL ACCIDENT ON THE S.S. NAMOI. (1896, April 10). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 3. Retrieved from

Cowan Bay 1900, photo by Charles Kerry Courtesy Powerhouse Museum Tyrell Collection on Flickr.

Captain Skinner seemed very much depressed when spoken to with regard to the fatality last night. He stated he was on the outside of the main bridge, on the port side, when the second officer gave the order to "go astern "The vessel was then close to Cowan wharf,  I have been for 21 years in the company," the captain added, "and no such calamity has occurred during my time. This  was my last trip on the Namoi, and after such a long period of command free from accident the occurrence has altogether caused me very much pain " FATAL ACCIDENT ON THE S.S. NAMOI. A WOMAN KILLED. (1896, April 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14044697

the Namoi, 1414 tons, to Newport, Pittwater. Excursionists will be landed for three hours, arriving in Sydney on return about 6 p.m. . A band is engaged for each steamer. BREVITIES. (1896, November 7). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108216479

OCEAN EXCURSIONS. For the holiday the Newcastle and Hunter River S S Company put on two of their best boats for the Hawkesbury River trips; the Newcastle running to Cowan Bay and the Namoi to Newport, Pittwater. Notwithstanding the prospect of a rough trip the steamers took close upon 1000 excursionists between them, and as the Southerly was fair for the run up there was only a minimum of discomfort. The steamers reached their respective destinations in excellent time and the passengers were enabled to have the pleasure of an enjoyable run ashore for two or three hours. The return journey against a head sea was not so pleasant as the forenoon experience and people who were not good sailors sought " the seclusion which the cabin grants," and took no further interest in the majestic beauties of our bluff headlands. Both boats reached Sydney before 6 o'clock. OCEAN EXCURSIONS. (1896, November 10). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14074776

THE excursion of the Federal Convention proved a success as far as steam and rail transport were concerned. The s.s. Namoi took portion of the visitors down the Harbour; whilst the s s.General Gordon took some up the river for a trip. Owing to the number of invitations issued, the luncheon tables needed to be pretty large and well-stocked ; and judging by the corporations of some of the gentlemen who attended-they possessed any amount of "storage room." Thirty first class cars and two engines were required to convey the excursionists here-the longest passenger train run in N S W. for many a day. About 800 ladies and gentlemen composed the party. The s.s. Namoi met with a slight accident on her arrival at Peat's Ferry, as she ran past the wharf, smashing her boat that was being got ready to go ashore. PEAT'S FERRY. (1897, September 18). Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1954), p. 12. Retrieved  from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72552957

Federal Convention Picnic 1897.: "Namoi" at Hawkesbury River, Government Printing Office 1 – 09197, Courtesy State Library of NSW

The Namoi's accidents, although not annual anymore, still continued;

Transcription (No. 5635.) "NAMOI" (S.S.) AND "HUNTER."  REPORT and decision of the Local marine Board of Newcastle, N.S.W., in the matter of collision between the S.S. "Namoi" and the Dredge "Hunter."  AN inquiry was held by the Local Marine Board into the circumstances connected with the collision which took place between the above-named vessels, and they ascertained that the s.s. "Namoi" was a steel paddle steamer of 809 tons register, Official No. 89250, registered in Sydney, and owned by the Newcastle and Hunter River Steamship Company, and bound from Morpeth to Newcastle, came into collision with the dredge "Hunter" in Newcastle harbour, about 8.30 p.m., on the 19th ult. No one was lost or hurt by the occurrence. The dredge "Hunter" is the property of the New South Wales Government.  The Board reported that from the evidence the dredge "Hunter" at the time of the collision was safely moored out of the usual channel kept clear for vessels navigating in the harbour, and therefore was not compelled to show other lights than what she displayed.  And that the acting master of the s.s. "Namoi" had not kept sufficiently in the said channel to avoid the collision; for which the Board caution the said acting master of the s.s. "Namoi," Francis Stafford, to be more careful in future.  J. H. VEITCH, Secretary, Local Marine Board.  Newcastle, 1st November, 1897. (Issued in London by the Board of Trade on the 31st day of December, 1897.)

The Newcastle Marine Board opened an inquiry this afternoon into the circumstances surrounding the mishap to the steamer Gosford on the afternoon of Boxing Day. It will be remembered that the Gosford attempted to tranship the passengers from the Namoi, which was aground on the flats, and that through some cause or other the Gosford was severely damaged. Captain Cross (president) occupied the chair, and Messrs. Reid and M'Lean wore also present. Mr. T. D. O'Sullivan appeared for Captain Skinner, of the Namoi, and Mr. Julian Windeyer appeared for Captain Hunt, of the Gosford. The inquiry was instituted at the request of the master of the Gosford. Captain Hunt, master of the steamer Gosford, deposed that on the afternoon of the 27th ultimo he received instructions to proceed to the Namoi, which was aground on the flats, with a view to bringing the passengers ashore. He stood off for some time, and then made fast to the Namoi on the starboard side aft of the gangway. At the request of one of the officers of the Namoi witness removed the rail in order to run the gangway on to the Namoi. Before this could be done, however, the engines of the Namoi were started, with the result that the suction caused by the paddle-wheels revolving forced the Gosford under the sponson. Witness called attention to the danger in which he was placed, and asked that the engines should be stopped until he had cleared the Namoi. The request was not complied with, and the Gosford was consequently extensively damaged. ' At this stage the court was cleared and the board conferred in camera. Upon resuming, the president reported that the board had no jurisdiction to deal with the matter. He pointed out that the mishap was not a collision, and that as the questions of the rule of the rood or misconduct had not been raised the board had no jurisdiction to proceed with the investigation. The board, therefore, dismissed the application for an inquiry.
THE MISHAP TO THE GOSFORD. (1898, January 19). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved from

The steamer Namoi will run to Cowan Bay on Tuesday; while the Sydney will be dispatched to Careel Bay. The company has made special provision for the conveyance of passengers to and from Sydney and Newcastle during the holidays. The Sydney will be dispatched to Newcastle this afternoon at 3.30 o’clock, leaving Newcastle the same night with the Namoi. There will be a Sunday night steamer from Sydney and -Newcastle to-morrow and on the following Sunday, and there will also be two steamers leaving Newcastle this evening, and from Sydney on Tuesday next and on Monday, January 1. The popular paddle steamers Newcastle and Namoi will provide a nightly service. The steamers from Sydney will leave at 11.30 p.m. from Saturday, December 23, and until Monday, January 1,at 11.30 p.m., both days inclusive. From Newcastle on Saturday, 23rd, the Namoi and Sydney will leave at 12.30 p.m., or immediately after the arrival of the train from Tamworth, Singleton, and Maitland, timed to arrive at Newcastle at12.26 p.m.; with this exception the steamers will leave Newcastle every night at 11.30 o'clock. AMUSEMENTS. (1899, December 23). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113695241

OCEAN EXCURSIONS Excursionists who would rather "get a  notion ot the motion of the ocean" than pass their holiday ploughing the placid waters of Port Jackson, have not far to seek for their particular form of enjoyment. The Newcastle and Hunter River Steamship Company will run the S.S. Namoi,1414 tons, to Cowan Bay, while  the S.S. Sydney, 634 tons, is to take excursionists to Newport and Pittwater. A first-class band has been engaged for each steamer. OCEAN EXCURSIONS. (1900, November 10). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 10. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14379725

1902 timetable: Advertising. (1902, December 19). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved June 20, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14493536

The s:s.  Namoi, 1414 . tons, will run an excursion to the Hawkesbury River tomorrow afternoon leaving the Market-street wharf at 2 p.m.The company notify that this will be the last excursion of the season. ESCAPED DUTY. (1903, May 1 FRIDAY). Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article113414016

THE S-S. "NAMOI." This steamer, after being laid off for overhaul at Mort's Dock since the 8th August, resumes her running in the Newcastle-Morpeth and Sydney trade, in charge of Captain Harry Warne. Advantage has been taken of her layoff to thoroughly overhaul engines, paddle shafts being relined, and any other necessary repairs being undertaken. The boilers were found to be in thorough good order, and only required cleaning. Two new funnels were fitted ; the forehold was thoroughly gutted out, ceilings lifted, cement chipped off, and all defective plates renewed, also reverse bars After re-cementiug the hull, new ceilings were laid. The after-hold forepeak and chain lockers and coal bunkers were chipped and repainted. The passenger accommodation has been thoroughly repainted. Compasses were adjusted, and a satisfactory engineers' trial run. The " Namoi" starts the summer excursions today (Saturday) from Sydney.  THE S.S. "NAMOI.". (1903, September 12). Singleton Argus(NSW : 1880 - 1954) , p. 5. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article79378504

OVERHAUL OF THE NAMOI The paddle steamer Namoi, of the Newcastle and Hunter River Steamship Company has just completed an extensive overhaul at Mort’s 'Dock and Engineering Company's works, Balmain. The vessel was in dock for 28 days, during which time a large number of her bottom plates,  together with several of the floors, nearly all the reverse bars  and stringers in the after hold, and the bulkhead at the after-end of the forehold, were renewed. The port paddle-wheel was also fitted with a new bracket. All the frames and internal structure of the ship have been thoroughly cleaned and painted from end to end, and the cement renewed in both olds and in the machinery space.  The engines and boilers have had a general overhaul, and have passed the survey under steam by the Navigation Department. The saloons and accommodation for passengers and crew have received special attention, and have been thoroughly renovated, cleaned, and painted throughout. The Newcastle and Namoi will conduct the passenger and excursion traffic during the  coming season, the Newcastle leaving Sydney on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights, and the Namoi on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights. OVERHAUL OF THE NAMO[?]. (1905, September 8). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 8. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article14725174

Pittwater was becoming ever popular as a destination and so the owners of the Namoi started running excursions to Port Stephens  and Nelson Bay as well:

Ocean Excursions. Those who take pleasure in the seatrip between Newcastle and Sydney would do well to glance at the time-table of the Hunter River S.S. Co., when it will be seen that special rates are set down for Easter Monday. On that date also the s.s. Namoi will convey excursionists to Port Stephens, leaving Newcastle at 10. o'clock,, after allowing a fair timoon shore, at the former port, the vessel will reach Newcastle at 6 p.m. Ocean Excursions. (1911, April 15). Singleton Argus (NSW : 1880 - 1954) , p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article80000639  

Photo (right): Tourists landing from S.S. Namoi at Port Stephens, Feb. 1909, GPO original locations or series - St3722, courtesy State Library of NSW

CURRENT NEWS To the Hawkesbury. Some hundreds of excursionists took advantage of a delightful trip to the Hawkesbury River in the s.s. Namoi on Saturday afternoon. A string band was on board. Each succeeding trip seems to add in the popularity of the outing. The return is made to meet the convenience of those desiring to attend evening functions.The trips are run weekly, weather permitting. CURRENT NEWS. (1912, November 20). The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW : 1888 - 1950), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86134561

STEAMER NAMOI. RUDDER DAMAGED. NEWCASTLE, Friday. The steamer Namoi was prevented from leaving for Sydney last night owing to a mishap after she departed from Morpeth and was making her way down the river yesterday afternoon. The recent rains caused a very strong fresh in the river, and a no five-inch hawser, which was being used to turn the vessel round, snapped, and the Namoi- rudder touched the river bank. As the rudder would not work well the assistance of a steamer was obtained to take the Namoi to Newcastle, where she arrived at 10 o'clock this morning. The surveyor of the Navigation Department, in company with Mr. Thompson, the marine superintending engineer of the company,  made an examination, and found that, in addition to the rudder being damaged, one of the paddle-wheels was bent. It was decided to send the vessel to Sydney for the necessary repairs. As a matter of precaution the passenger certificate has been withdrawn pending repairs to the steamer. The Namoi is to be towed to Sydney and repaired. STEAMER NAMOI. (1913, May 10). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 19. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15419089

The Namoi continued running passengers and cargo between Sydney and Newcastle and excursionists to and from the Hawkesbury or Port Stephens. In 1921 she was the flagship for the Pittwater Regatta:

Namoi with passengers on deck, Pittwater, 1921. Image no 12160, courtesy Australian National Maritime Museum.

NEWCASTLE AND HUNTER RIVER S.S. CO.sr LTD. The Newcastle and Hunter River S.S. Co. 's steamer Namoi, after a thorough overhaul at Mort's Dock, will leave for Newcastle in charge of Captain Delucey to-night (Saturday) in place of the Newcastle, which vessel will be overhauled, to be followed by the Hunter at the close of the month. The company's passenger steamers will thus be overhauled ready for the summer passenger and excursion season. NEWCASTLE AND HUNTER RIVER S.S. CO., LTD. (1921, September 10). Singleton Argus (NSW : 1880 - 1954) , p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article80782761

PITTWATER REGATTA.  The Pittwater Regatta, to be held on Saturday, December 31, will be under Vice Regal patronage, as their Excellencies the Governor General and the Governor have consented to become patrons of this fixture. Owing to the Inadequate accommodation on the steamer Gosford, which was the flagship at the last regatta, the committee has for the coming event secured the steamer Namoi to act in that capacity, and has also arranged that this boat will take passengers to the regatta, leaving Sydney on Friday and returning on Saturday night. PITTWATER REGATTA. (1921, October 7). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15991238

Crew and officials of the Pittwater Regatta on NAMOI, 1921, image No.12165, courtesy Australian National Maritime Museum. John Roche can be seen at back of this group.

PITTWATER REGATTA.The Pittwater regatta committee have decided to place a special race on the' programme for the 14ft skiffs under theauspices of the Birchgrove Club. Sofar 15 nominations have been promised,and as handsome prizes are being donated, Secretary Arthur Schultz is confident of getting at least 20 entries.The 16ft skiffs on the registers of thePort Jackson, Drummoyne Park, MiddleHarbor and St. George Clubs will beeligible to compete in a general handicap. Entries close on December 10 atthe Newport Hotel on December 9, andwith the hon. secretary, Mr. John Roche,42 Mountain-street, Sydney, on December 10. The boats and crews will beconveyed to the scene of the function by the steamer Namoi at a liberal cost. SAILING TOPICS. (1921, November 18). Arrow (Sydney, NSW : 1916 - 1933), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article103445526

NEWCASTLE-SYDNEY. SHIPPING SERVICE.  PASSING OF THE PADDLE STEAMERS. After 30 years of continuous service in the trade between Newcastle and Sydney the steamer Newcastle is being taken off the regular running. Her place in the Newcastle service is being taken by the steamer Gwydir, recently purchased by the Newcastle and Hunter River Steamship Co , Limited, to cope with the increase in trade that has been noted In recent years between Newcastle and Sydney. The Newcastle was built In 1884, at Kinghorn, Scotland, and since 1892 has been running In the Newcastle trade. The vessel will now be used by the company as a reserve ship In the place of the steamer Namoi, and at holiday seasons she will figure as an excursion boat. The Newcastle is the last to go of the old paddle steamers, which have been on the coast for many years. On her first voyage to Newcastle, the Gwydir leaves Sydney to-night in charge of Captain Robert Heion, formerly in command of the Hunter, while Captain R. Delucey, formerly of the Newcastle, will take command of the Hunter.  NEWCASTLE-SYDNEY. (1922, October 11). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 13. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16031887

With the advent of faster ferries and a train service diminishing the need for transport on the ocean, the Namoi's days as one of our larger paddle steamers were numbered:

After 40 years' service in the- Newcastle trade the paddle steamer Namoi it to be broken up. SUMMARY. (1925, July 10). Albury Banner and Wodonga Express (NSW : 1896 - 1939), p. 27. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article102328073

The report states that trade has been satisfactory during the year, and that the paddle steamer Namoi was disposed of for conversion into a hulk. NEWCASTLE AND HUNTER RIVER. (1926, January 26). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 9. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16266878

NAMOI RAISED. OLD PADDLE STEAMER. The old paddle steamer Namoi, which sank in Iron Cove some weeks ago, has been successfully raised. She is owned by Mr Budrodeen, and had been lying idle in Iron Cove for about two years For many years the Namoi ran in the Newcastle Sydney trade under the Newcastle and Hunter River S N Company's flag The sal vage work was carried out by the Tay Lighterage Company, Balmain. NAMOI RAISED. (1927, June 29). The Sydney Morning Herald(NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 19. Retrieved  from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16379405

In knacker's hands! The old paddle steamer Namoi, which "made" Hunter River Steamship Company in its early days, is being broken up for her material by a gang of knackers in Sydney Harbor. OLLA PODRIDA. (1927, July 8). The Muswellbrook Chronicle(NSW : 1898 - 1955), p. 7. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article107608984

THE LAST OF THE OLD PADDLE STEAMER NAMOI.  The Namoi, formerly well known on the Sydney-Newcastle service, was towed nineteen miles to sea yesterday and sunk. THE LAST OF THE OLD PADDLE STEAMER NAMOI. Photo Above.(1933, June 17). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 16. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28029230

The old paddle steamer Namoi, built 50 years ago, was scuttled yesterday in 120 fathoms 19 miles south-east of Sydney. SUMMARY. (1933, June 17). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 1. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28029052

Sydney - Changing from a Colony to a City


SEVERAL years ago I visited Sydney for the first time. Then I was on business, employed by another to repair here and assist in starting a new journal; now I am bound on pleasure, or, as the ladies say, "over for a little change." Sydney has wonderfully improved during my absence: like Melbourne, immense large handsome buildings meet the eye here and there throughout the city and Darwin's prospective view has, I think, been more than realized when he wrote:

There shall broad streets their stately walls extend,
The circus widen, and the crescent bend;
There ray'd from cities o'er the cultur'd land,
Shall bright canals, and solid roads expand.—
There the proud arch, Colossus-like, bestride
Yon glittering streams, and bound the chasing tide;
Embellish'd villas crown the landscape scene,
Farms wave with gold, and orchards blush between.—
There shall tall spires, and dome-capt towers ascend,
And piers and quays their massy structures blend;
While with each breeze approaching vessels glide,
And northern treasures dance on every tide!'

The post, however, is-or was-a, little astray regarding the wide streets. With few exceptions the streets are narrow, and do not show to advantage the handsome buildings erected, and at present in course of erection. The principal streets are paved with wood, and the Municipal Council appear to pay great attention to cleanliness. Trams and 'hosse’s connect the citys with the suburbs people apparently prferring the well equipped 'buss to the -cumbersome, ugly looking, slow travelling tram car. There are some lovely spots, about the suburbs of Sydney. An old friend from Melbourne has promised to show me round some of them, and to-day, being Saturday and the recognised half-holiday, drives me to Bondi which is situate about four miles from where I have put up-Wynyard Square. At Bondi I find hundreds having a look round like myself. It is situate on the sea coast, andl is built on the edge or borders of a pretty little bay, remarkable for its picturesque and natural beauties. This spot was recently secured by a syndicate, and made still more attractive by artificial means. The tram runs close to the gates. You are charged one shilling admission, for which you are shown the sights. There is an aquarium, well furnished and after the style of a continental aquaria. Opening out of the aquarium there is a handsome fernery, refreshment rooms, magnificent promenade verandah; in the centre of the aquarium is a fresh water fountain, the -basin of which contains goldfish. Above the aquarium is the Grand Hall, capable of holding 1500 visitors, with an elegant stage, retiring rooms and galleries. Then there are the skating rinks, one covered in, the others not covered-made up of a sort of fine asphalt-overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This rink is said to be the finest in Australasia; photograph galleries, shark pond, merry-go-round,. terraced lawns with bandstands, camera obscura, and summer houses. These, and other parts of the vast, established are like the Crystal Palace, London, lit up with the electric light. Bondi cost the promoters something like £40,000, and the capital admits of a further £10,000 expenditure. I spent the afternoon here, and am indebted to Mr Bartlett, the manager, for my stray notes. Sunday morning I strolled out determined on attending service in the first church I came across. -Wandering up Pitt street the orthodox signboard came in view " Pitt street Congregational Church," presided over by Dr. Jefferies. I had the pleasure of hearing the learned doctor on the jubilee occasion in the Collins Street church and felt pleased. Fortune favored my path hitherto, but on entering and taking my seat I experienced a little disappointment-it was the Sunday School anniversary and the Rev. Hennessy was the chosen advocate to plead the cause. It was a simple well directed service, based on the words " Let our conversation be in Him." Considering the glorious weather (more like summer than mid-winter) I was surprised at the wretched poor attendance. Scarcely had I left the sacred edifice when a brigade of ragged urchins rushed me to buy the Sunday Times. In London and Paris in years ago I was used to this sort of thing, but in fair Australia never before was I asked to so profane the Holy Day as to speculate in news. I purchased the Times more out of curiosity than anything else, tendering the retailer the orthodox copper; the urchins looked up at me, grinned and asked if I took him for a new chum, "didn't I know how as the Sunday Times was tupence ?" I assured him I did not, paid the difference and went on my way cogitating about young Australian mannerism. I have since learned that there are three Sunday newspapers published here, principally devoted to sporting. The hotel accommodation in Sydney has never been first class. Seven years ago, when here, I put up at the then crack house Petty's.  Now we have the Grosvenor, three immense coffee palaces and a mammoth hotel going up, which will more than suffice travellers and hitherto grumblers. The latest in the hotel line is to cost £200,000,and the foundation stone was laid last Tuesday by Sir Henry Parkes. Sir Henry was on the platform the next evening when Glover, the great temperance advocate, was giving his farewell lecture. Such is life among our politicians--everything and anything to suit the occassion. Sydney is great on ferries and steamboat excursions. Today I travelled on a penny ticket to the North Shore, which is about a mile-and-a-half distant. Horses and drays are carried for sixpence, carriage and pair one shilling. They commence running at four in the morning, and do not knock off till twelve at night, after which you are charged extra. How would my honoured and esteemed friend Capt. Watson, like those hours ? Talk about your eight hours after that! There are also steamers to Manly and Little Manly, a  distance of about seven miles, for the former sixpence and the latter threepence return on Sundays ; week days double. This certainly beats our Victorian system: Sydney would be little account without its beautiful harbor. Sydney beats Melbourne for theatres. We have six here besides three concert halls. I was invited to the Royal, thanks to the manager, Saturday night. Bland Holt's company are playing, and they are very good in low comedy, the piece at present on the boards is entitled " A Run of Luck." The building is small, dingy looking and not well furnished. I am informed that the Royal is the favorite placed for theatre goers.  STRAY NOTES FROM SYDNEY. (1889, June 29). Williamstown Chronicle (Vic. : 1856 - 1954), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article68592574

Photo above: The Bondi Aquarium, circa 1890. Photo by Henry King. Picture courtesy Powerhouse Musueum Tyrell Collection on Flickr.


The rebuilding of the Bondi Aquarium is near its completion, and on Eight-hour Day the building and grounds will again be opened for public recreation. After the destruction by fire of the late buildings, Mr. Wyburd lost no time in setting to work to replace it, with the result that a larger and more artistic edifice will adorn the grounds of the Aquarium. The whole of the property will appear in a new dress, as the arrangement of the grounds has been as extensively altered as the structure of the building. On the basement, which is the aquarium proper the asphalt of the old building has been replaced by proper flooring boards. Arches of rockwork adorn the front of each of the tanks, and give the aquarium a more pleasant appearance than the straight line of fish tanks that was to be seen in the previous structure. A skylight runs right round the building above the tanks, thus giving plenty of light in them. In the place of the fountain that was a well-hole leading on to the floor above, and improvement has been made in the substi- tution of a commodious refreshment department. All the entrances have been enlarged, and a new entrance has been made at the sunward end. At the other end, in the place of the fernery that previously existed, there is now an aviary of about, 13ft. square enlarged entrances admit much more light, and   do away with the dingy appearance that belonged to the last aquarium. At the seaward end there is another refreshment stall on the one side and a   grill room with all necessary appliances on the other. At the end of the building opening on to the grounds, are the ladies' retiring rooms, to which there is also a convenient entrance from the main hall. The main hall is 25ft. longer than the last one, a new principal having been added to the building. The stage is 10ft. deeper, 5ft. higher, and 8ft. wider than previously, making it the same size as the stage at the Criterion. A gallery of a pleasing design, capable of accom- modating 500 people is a new feature in the building. Great attention has been paid to the floor, which is of 4in. kauri pine, and which is specially laid for dancing. Besides the bay which has been added to the length of the building two bays have been added to the large skylight on the centre of the roof. An improved service of aerating the fish tanks has been adopted. One of the most conspicuous features of the architecture of the building is the dome at the main entrance, which rises to a height of 15ft. The main hall is specially adapted for private picnic parties and entertainments, and can be entirely shut off from the rest of the building. The balcony has been extended, and is higher, and the obstructions between it and the skating rink have been removed so that spectators on the balcony will have an uninterrupted view of the performances on the rink. There are numerous improvements of a general character, such as the erection of new and imposing offices at the gates, now flower beds, re-arranged walks, additional summer-houses, a new stone wall along the edge of the cliff, and other similar matters. The Waverley Council has made good the approaches from the tram terminus to the gates. The grounds are fresh and green, and in thoroughly good condition, so that when the Aquarium is re- opened it should have a continued lease of popularity. The contractors for the building are Messrs. Bignall   and Clark, the furnishing is by Messrs. David Jones and Co., Mr. R. Setright is the scenic artist, Messrs. Adamson and Budd are the stage mechanists, and the electric light plant is by Messrs. Kingsbury and Co. The whole of the work is under the supervision of the manager, Mr. Alfred Wyburd, and its cost is £7000. RE-BUILDING OF THE BONDI AQUARIUM. (1891, September 23). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 11. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article13839871

Namoi threads collected by A J Guesdon, 2013.