The Chronicle




Between the early ‘forties and 1846, the only means of conveyance was a flat-bottomed punt service plying between Ipswich and Brisbane, generally occupying from three to four days either way.

In the early part of 1846, the late Mr James Canning Pearce, owner of Helidon Station – one of the most successful squatters at that time having arrived in Moreton Bay from Sydney, in 1842 – conceived the idea, while on a visit to Sydney, of opening up steam communicat­ion between Brisbane and Ipswich, an enterprise which required no small amount of pluck to tackle over 100 years ago.

With that object in view, Mr Pearce purchased the steamer Experiment, at that period doing good work on the Parramatta River, and she arrived in Brisbane on June 16, 1846. Naturally such an event caused much excitement at Moreton Bay headquarte­rs.

On the next day the newly-arrived steamer, with Mr Pearce (her owner) and a select party on board, made an excursion trip up the Brisbane River, and it is recorded that her appearance­s as she left North Brisbane and passed up the river was warmly greeted by a large concourse of spectators who had assembled to witness her departure.

Tom Barker wrote that, owing to the imperfect knowledge of the person acting as pilot respecting the river flats, she went aground at the crossing place at Woogaroo (the spot chosen by the early overlander­s from North Brisbane, when it was known as “The Settlement,” to cross the river to reach “Limestone). The Experiment was detained until daylight the following morning, when she proceeded on her voyage and reached her destinatio­n at 1pm.

Queensland Time, January 17, 1953

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