The Paddle Steamer PS ‘Lady of the Lake’ was built in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, in 1864.

The 20 tonne paddle steamer, PS ‘Lady of the Lake’ was built in 1864, in Melbourne.  Her first known owner being a John Inglis and later, N Guthrie of Sale, Victoria.

From the following article it would appear that the PS ‘Lady of the Lake’ entered the Gippsland Lakes trade as a tow tug during mid 1860’s:

” . . . On February, 1864, the first steamer that entered the lakes, The Lady of the Lake, commanded by Capt. Cleland, made her appearance off the Entrance ; and wore herself out in a service of about 30 years . . . “

Source:  Excerpt – Gippsland Farmers’ Journal (Traralgon, Vic) – Article ‘The First navigator of the Gippsland Lakes’ – published 13th August 1895

The PS ‘ Lady of the Lake’ was in direct competition with the ‘Gippsland Lakes Navigation Company’s’  PS ‘Tommy Norton’.

PS ‘Lady of the Lake’ & PS ‘Rosedale’ assisting the wrecked Schooner ‘Latrobe’ at the Gippsland Lakes Natural Entrance c 1878

 

She was famous for her 27 years of faithful service, as well as for her attempt to tow the schooner ‘Latrobe’ when she was stranded at the natural entrance to the Gippsland Lakes on the 14th March 1878.

” . . . The Bairnsdale Advertiser of Wednesday says : — The Latrobe has, up to the present time, resisted, all attempts to get her off, although both the Lady of the Lake and the Rosedale have tried their hands at the work.  At low water she lies high and dry imbedded in the sand.  It is therefore impossible to say to what exact extent she is damaged.  Some of her cargo is scattered about on the beach, the major part being brought to Bairnsdale on Friday night by the Lady of the Lake . . . “

Source:  Excerpt – Gippsland Times (Vic) – published 29th March 1878

Prior to the construction of the Entrance c 1889, many sea-faring vessels were lost whilst traversing the variable entry point linking Gippsland Lakes to Bass Strait.  The schooner ‘Latrobe’ became one of those victims – her demise due to human error when her captain attempted to cross the bar without any wind in her sails.  Consequently as she was caught by the surf and violently driven onto the western spit.  All members of the crew were saved and the PS ‘Lady of the Lake’ did manage to salvage some of the cargo.

Her faithful service continued without recorded incident until the year 1891, when the Bairnsdale Advertiser & Tambo & Omeo Chronicle reported:

” . . . THE LADY OF THE LAKE SUNK AT THE ENTRANCE

Intelligence was received in Bairnsdale yesterday that the p.s. Lady of the Lake, the oldest steamer trading on the lakes, was sunk at the Entrance. What was the cause of her sinking we were unable to ascertain, there being neither steamer nor telegraphic communication between there and Bairnsdale yesterday . . . “

Bairnsdale Advertiser & Tambo & Omeo Chronicle (Vic) – published 4th August 1891

 

On the Snowy River at Marlo – PS ‘Lady of the Lake’ to the left of the PS ‘Curlip’ in the foreground – date unknown

 

She was consequently stripped of her paddles and engines and used as a rather undignified barge to carry maize and cargo up and down the Snowy River – using the Marlo as her base.

Later reports suggest that the PS ‘Lady of the Lake’ met her final demise when she was swept out to sea after coming loose from her moorings during the floods of the Snowy River in 1893 – her remains later driven back to shore. . . .

 

View other important events in the history of Gippsland’s Steamers . . .