Gemma - smallest paddle steamer?

Jan Hendrik
22nd November 2005, 12:46
Arguably the smallest paddle steamer around.

GEMMA was built by builder Belgrave, South Melbourne in 1980 for Keith Elliott and was originally called EMMA.
She was 22 ft and I remember seeing her in parts back in 1987 when Dennis Kerr bought this tiny boat and explained what he wanted to do with it.
He renamed her GEMMA.
He got himself a nice hobby by extending the vessel from 22 ft to 36 ft. during the period 1987-1990.
She was transported from Swan Hill (Victoria) to Echuca and later to the Gold Coast (Queensland), then again back to Echuca where these photos were taken only a month ago..
The new Owner today is Bruce Gow and he put a For Sale sign up at around
A$ 180,000.-, some experts tell me there is “one zero” too many here…..

The vessel can be seen in Echuca on the river Murray.

27th February 2007, 23:02
Jan, a pity that your "expert" had the wrong information. I have never asked for that sort of price. She was listed at A$140,000 though and of course that includes the exclusive mooring which you remember is close to the caravan park and just a short distance from the historic port. A pity that you did not seek me out as that is where I work.I could have given the CORRECT information on year of construction and her history. On May 13 2006, some vandal climbed aboard in the middle of the night and torched the boat. Fire brigades attended and were able to put the fire out but only after extensive damage had been done. The water they put on to the fire eventually lead to the Gemma sinking although we raised her about two weeks after. She is currently sitting in my backyard awaiting restoration..Bruce

28th February 2007, 17:05

It is very sad to hear about the fire aboard Gemma - I hope you are able to restore the boat. A mindless act if ever there was one!

I am sure that Jan posted in good faith and was not aware that you are a member of SN. It just goes to show how easy it is to make a mistake and accidentally offend someone on the Internet.



28th February 2007, 19:17
These things so easily happen; I have just read a grim story of murder most foul, where the family were implicated and the police had supposedly been involved in some subversive activities .... all told without having discovered that the family descendants had the true story, and that there was a gross case of the press not having got the facts right in the first place in Victorian times.
The problem is compounded these days by the fastest Chinese whispers and urban myths being promoted.
So very sorry that the paddle steamer had suffer so much and I sincerely hope that something constructive can be done.
Best Wishes, Raymond

Jan Hendrik
1st March 2007, 08:44
Hi Bruce, sorry I got the wrong story on the amount she was offered, it came from some personnel of one of the paddle steamers I was on at the time. Anyway I hope you do well with your restoration after this unfortunate set back and may be able to sell the vessel, i.e. if this is still your intention, there is quite a bit of history there, that's for sure.
I have not heard of Dennis anymore, at one stage he was also a captain on the Pyabb.
I think he went back to Queensland.
Meanwhile wishing you the best,