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That day when a boat took over the roads

The centenary paddle-wheeler travelled across two states to get to its new home


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Partnering with James Contract Supplies Pty Ltd, Outback Pioneers have achieved the challenge of moving a 100-year Pride of The Murray boat over a Drake Trailer through 1700km!

More than 40 people, a 26-metre long and 8.7 metre wide Drake Trailer, 700-horsepower prime mover, police escort and nerves of steel were needed to lift a 100-year old paddle-wheeler out of the Murray River in Victoria and transport it on our mega trailer to its new home in Longreach by road.


It was an extremely delicate operation!


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The Pride of the Murray will be used for river cruises on the Thomson River in Longreach.


Before the boat was winched from the water, the wheelhouse was removed because of height restrictions and placed on a separate truck to be transported to Longreach.
The remainder of the boat was then winched out of the water and laid across large inflatable bags before being placed on stands with the 26 metre trailer then backed in underneath it, and the boat gently lowered down.

Another hurdle for the *Outback Pioneer’s haulage team was the age and construction of the vessel means it can only be out of the water for a maximum of seven days before the timber begins to shrink, so timing is crucial. To avoid damage, it had to be kept wet during the whole operation.

To coordinate the logistics and keep the move on schedule, they took the straightest route possible and avoided any obstructions. Nevertheless, organisers said they had to move a few signs and a tree to accommodate the vessel on its trip north.


Full steam ahead


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As the word spread that the piece of pioneering history was on the move, crowds came to cheer it on. Longreach locals said the boat was a major drawcard for the region which had endured prolonged drought before recent rain events.

In western Queensland, attracting more tourists is akin to good rain, it makes things grow, and the Pride of the Murray will attract potentially an extra 100 guests per day over the course of a season.
This means, over the next five years, it will generate jobs and potentially inject an estimated extra $82 million into the region!


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Additional Transport Facts:

• The haulage team consists of two pilots leading a police escort and representatives of the power companies of three states.
• The prime mover pulling the trailer is 700hp FH16 Volvo rated to 220t
• The trailer is a 12-line Drake Gooseneck Float rated at 192t

We couldn’t be prouder of being part of such a complex project that, thanks to a fantastic team working together, looked like a walk in the park.

May the Pride of the Murray live on for another century!


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