Remembering the Marana

ANOTHER piece of Derwent Valley history as turned up on eBay – the online auction site. A photo of the river steamer Marana (left) today sold for $33.78 after being listed by a seller in Brisbane. The seller estimated the real-photo postcard to have been made in the 1920s. The image shows passengers disembarking at New Norfolk’s Black Jetty.

SS Marana was purpose-built in 1908 for the New Norfolk passenger and cargo trade. Her hull was built at Purden and Featherstone’s Battery Point shipyard for Whitehouse Bros. The keel and frame were made of Tasmanian bluegum and the decking was kauri. A newspaper report at the time said Marana was a “Tasmanian native” name meaning war. Her maiden voyage was in October 1908.

After operating the Hobart-New Norfolk run for nearly 20 years without incident, she suffered a number of mishaps starting in January 1928 when her propellor shaft broke just after leaving Sorell Creek. In November 1930 a disaster was narrowly avoided when the swing-bridge at Bridgewater unexpectedly slammed shut while Marana was passing through. In February 1938 a deckhand fell overboard and drowned near Old Beach.

In March 1954 it was Marana to the rescue after the Cartela famously ran aground during a charter cruise for the New Norfolk District Football Club. About 100 men and women boarded the Cartela at New Norfolk at 8pm for a three-hour cruise which came to a sudden stop when the Cartela ran aground about 800 metres shy of the Lime Kilns. And there they stayed until they were transferred to the Marana at 6.30 the next morning – reaching New Norfolk about an hour later.

A classic view of the SS Marana at New Norfolk

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