THE steel vessel Seagull, abandoned on the shores of Wallaga Lake in the 1930s, once cruised the Bega River as the steamboat The Rose of Eden.
Sunday’s Narooma Historical Society’s meeting heard the story of this once proud steamboat from guest speaker Mal Dibden.
The 33-foot galvanized steel boat was left on what was originally Mr Dibden’s property after it had been holed on the lake, but it apparently was beyond repair.
Bega pioneer Daniel Gowing had originally purchased The Rose of Eden in England in 1886 for use as a family pleasure boat on the Bega River. His home on Jellat Flat was called The Garden of Eden, hence the boat’s name.
The boat plied the Bega River until the river began to silt up.
Mr Dibden said that sometime after Gowing died (about 1906), the boat was sold to a Cobargo stock and station agent.
He renamed it the Seagull and used it as a tourist launch on Wallaga Lake in the 1920s and early 1930s. It was operated for the owner by Gilkes and Wells.
When Mr Dibden started looking into the boat’s history, he found his family had more connection to the boat than he had realised.
Photographs taken by his aunt showed the boat tied to a little jetty on Wallaga Lake with passengers, including his mother, enjoying cruises on Wallaga Lake.
He collected numerous pictures and information about the boat and put them together for an entry in the Open Art Exhibition to celebrate Tathra Wharf’s 150 years last year.
He is passionate about preserving and possibly one day restoring the boat.
The next meeting of Narooma Historical Society is on Sunday, March 24 at 3pm at MACS Cottage.