Home' The Murray Pioneer : July 11th 2014 Contents 12 - "THE MURRAY PIONEER" www.murraypioneer.com.au Friday, July 11, 2014
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By HEATHER EVERINGHAM
Excursion cruise boats were a rarity
in the 1930s and the 'Showboat' was
enormously popular when it visited
Renmark in 1939.
The vessel had started life as a three-
masted schooner and was built in 1891 at
Milang for pastoralist Thomas Richard
Bowman of Poltalloch, Lake Albert. It was
named 'Ada and Clara', after his daughters.
The boat builder/captain was Carl Hein-
rich Ferdinand Kruse and after a time the
masts and sails were removed by new own-
ers to be replaced by motors.
The vessel then served as a cargo and
mail boat carrying goods between Milang,
Narrung and Meningie. Owners at that time
were W.P. and W.H. Dunk, who plied from
Lake Alexandrina to Murray Bridge, then
John Woodrow, of Milang, and later Albert
H. Jantke, of Murray Bridge.
In 1936 the 'Ada and Clara' was pur-
chased by Captain G.H. Griffen, who had
the idea of converting the boat to take pas-
sengers on river excursions.
"The dimensions of the vessel are length
60 feet, beam 15 feet 6 inch and draught 3
feet 6 inch. It is powered with two Fordson
tractor motors, driving twin propellers of
30 inch diameter through second gear, and
is surveyed and licensed to carry 100 pas-
Captain Griffen's idea of river excursions
was ridiculed, however after the vessel's
conversion -- complete with new engines
and a public address system -- the pleasure
boat commenced business at Murray Bridge
and was an instant success.
By 1939 the 'Showboat' had carried over
40,000 passengers from all over Australia
and overseas visitors.
Captain Griffen had plans to sell the
'Showboat' and with the proceeds build a
larger pleasure vessel capable of carrying
300 passengers. This never eventuated as
World War II loomed and the next six years
were taken up with more serious daily life.
The 'Showboat' promised "a cheery
welcome, lively music and no dull moments
while on board" and Captain Griffen --
through his microphone -- pointed out the
beauty of the river and gave an interesting
commentary on the bird-life and points of
The boat visited Renmark in winter and
the glass enclosed main deck holding 65
passengers was most popular.
The 'Showboat' did have another rival in
the early 1940s. The 'Trix' (pictured) had
started life as a two-masted ketch and served
as a powder boat (carrying explosives), then
as a cargo boat and lastly involved with the
salt trade, before being converted into a
showboat by Captain R. Gray.
In 1964 it was under lease to Renmark
Mayor J.F. Sharley and was on the mar-
ket for sale at £1400 by its owner, M.A.
Wilkins, of Adelaide.
LOOKING BACK - AN IMAGE FROM YESTERYEAR
'Showboat Trix' visited river
towns in the 1960s.
Showboats a rarity nearly 80 years ago
US actor Jonah Hill
is the star of Murray
Pioneer cartoonist Paul
Dorin's 21st pair of
painted celebrity jeans.
Over the years Dorin
has painted the jeans of
many sport stars, Austral-
ian celebrities and Hol-
lywood actors as part of
an annual fundraiser for
the Children's Medical
Research Institute's annu-
al Gala Jeans art auction
This year he was given
the choice of painting
the denim of either Ray
Romano, of Everybody
Loves Raymond fame,
or film star Jonah Hill,
of Wolf Of Wall Street,
Superbad and 21 and 22
"I put the vote out to
my friends to help choose
whose jeans I was going
to paint and Jonah Hill
won," Dorin said.
"I am really glad I
went with Jonah Hill, he
is a big star at present."
Over the years Dorin
has painted the jeans of
like David Hasselhoff,
Jim Belushi, Kevin Kline
and Robin Williams, and
sports stars like Craig
Lowndes, Ricky Ponting
and Jeff Fenech.
However, the 2014
painting is something
"I have, up to now,
used only the two-legged
jeans as my canvas, and
this year I wanted to try
something completely dif-
ferent..." he said.
"l decided to use the
jeans as part of the paint-
"I used Jonah's char-
acter from the movie ver-
sion of 22 Jump Street as
the theme of the artwork.
Painted on a large board I
have stuck his jeans on as
if he is wearing them."
artists have painted celeb-
rity jeans from Jonah Hill,
Eric Bana, Adam Sandler,
Gene Simmons and others
to raise money for Chil-
dren's Medical Research
Institute (CMRI), which
is dedicated to finding out
why one in 20 children is
born with a birth defect or
The jeans will go up
for auction at the Jeans
4 Genes Gala Dinner at
the Sofitel, in Sydney on
Jonah's jeans a good
fit for cartoonist
Pioneer cartoonist Paul Dorin with his fundraising
artwork, featuring the jeans of film star Jonah Hill.
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