Paddle-steamers churned the waters of a river network totalling more than 6,000 kilometres, ferrying wool to coastal destinations. First they were working boats, dedicated to the task at hand. Later, when a new leisured class began to follow the working teams inland, passenger steamers joined the thong on the wide, slow-moving rivers.
With the gradual extension of the railway inland, the paddle-steamers provided links to the transport system, working in harmony to service the burgeoning communities that sprang up along the river routes.
Gradually, as the rail system outgrew its river-bound ally, the paddle-steamer trade dwindled, until their era as working transport was ended.
Source: Booklet accompanying the 1997 Masterpieces in Silver - The Opening of the Continent - Set.
River Boats are featured on the following Australian coins: