Surprise (paddle steamer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Builder: Henry Gilbert
Launched: 14 March 1831
General characteristics
Type: Paddle steamer
Length: 58 ft (18 m)

Surprise was the first paddle steamer, and the first steam powered vessel, built and run in Australia. It was built possibly on the Parramatta River, by shipbuilder Henry Gilbert,[1] and launched in Sydney on 14 March 1831. Its first voyage was on 1 June on the Parramatta River.[2] It was 58 feet long.[3]

The first steamer to operate in Australian waters was Sophia Jane, built in England which arrived in 1831. It was having its paddles fitted when Surprise made its first voyage.[2]

On 30 May, Surprize [sic] advertised a service to Parramatta. At that time ferry services were not advertised in Sydney. Sophia Jane advertised the first cruise on 13 June. From 8 August, Surprise published a timetable in the Sydney Herald.[4]

Surprise was built to operate on the Parramatta River and later operated in Tasmanian waters. Its fate is not known.[1]


  1. ^ a b Stone, Peter (2002). "New South Wales Shipwrecks". Encyclopaedia of Australian Shipwrecks. Oceans Enterprises. Retrieved 2006-08-17. 
  2. ^ a b "Hunter Valley Steamers". Free Settler or Felon?. 2005. Retrieved 2013-09-23. 
  3. ^ Richards, Mike (1997). Pig and whistle run : men and ships of the N.S.W. South Coast. Lawrence, NSW, Australia: Mike Richards. ISBN 0-646-31138-7. 
  4. ^ MacAuslan, Duncan (July 2001). "Sources of Timetables for Sydney Ferries" (pdf). The Times. Australian Association of Time Table Collectors. 18 (7): 12. ISSN 0813-6327. Retrieved 2006-08-17.