One of Canberra’s oldest, and arguable most unknown, attractions is on the hunt for locals to help keep it afloat.

The PS Enterprise is one of the oldest working paddle steamers in Australia and is in urgent need of more volunteers to keep the vessel operating.

Built in Echuca, Victoria, the vessel was launched on the Murray River back in 1878 where it operated for nearly 100 years.

The National Museum then purchased the vessel in 1984 where it underwent restoration works before arriving at its new home in Canberra.

Now, the Museum is using National Volunteering Week to put out a call to arms, as it looks to keep the 143-year-old boat chugging along Lake Burley Griffin.

Exhibit Manager, Ian Jones said without the hard work of dedicated locals, the iconic steamer faces a very different future.

“The Enterprise would be a static exhibit or an artifact otherwise, with volunteers she lives and breathes, she goes out on the Lake, she operates and she keeps going.”


David Miles has been giving his time to the steamer for more than 30 years and said it’s something that he takes big reward out of.

“The fact that we’re keeping the history of the nation going, for the old river boats.”

“You always learn something on this boat.” He laughed.

“It’s an old steamer so there’s no technology on it so it’s all hands-on stuff.”

Full training is provider for volunteers, with the experienced likes of Mr Miles to help familiarise new members with the workings of the vessel.

Locals looking to get involved with this piece of Australia history can head to the Museum website here.