THE ORIGINAL P.S.CURLIP
The original Paddle Steamer Curlip was built by Sam Richardson and his sons Mark, Albert and Frank, at their sawmill at Tabbara, a pioneering settlement on the Brodribb River, a tributary of the Snowy River. Curlip's keel was laid on 14th October 1889 and PS Curlip was launched in 1890. The Richardson diary entry for 6th February 1890 states... “at 12 noon she was launched without a hitch and very little leakage. Length was 48’ x 19’ displacement 10 tons – 2 paddle wheels rated at 2 horsepower.”
The name “ Curlip” is derived from the indigenous name for the area where Tabbara is located and includes land to the east of the Snowy and Brodribb Rivers towards Cape Conran.
The current P.S.Curlip ll in operation today is a reproduction of the historic Curlip a vessel that opened up the region in the 1880’s before road or rail, serviced this remote region.
The Paddle Steamer Curlip was designed to travel up and down the Snowy and Brodribb Rivers with essential supplies from coastal ketches and schooners, that plied their trade up and down the coast between Melbourne, Sydney and Tasmania.
The Curlip regular towed one or two barges and up to five barges loaded with local farming produce and timber for the thriving cities, that was loaded offshore or in the Snowy River estuary, tide and depth permitting, on to the trading vessels.
Curlip was in service for almost 30 years, until she was torn from her moorings at Orbost and swept out to sea past Marlo and out across the bar, through the Snowy River Entrance at Marlo and destroyed in the surf, the end of an era, that had been so important to East Gippsland.
It would be another 83 years before plans were laid to honour her historical significance and huge contribution to East Gippsland and build a replacement of Paddle Steamer Curlip.