The Winnie Reynolds Story

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					                                                                           P.S. Ruby
                                                                             Issue No.41 September 2006
                                                                                  (Printed quarterly)

The Winnie Reynolds Story
Winnie Reynolds 6th June
 1908 - 22nd April 2006

Winnie Reynolds, nee Leach,
was born in Crystal Brook, South
Australia. She went to school in
Pinnaroo before moving to Mildura
where her parents owned a diary
farm in the area of the present
Aerodrome Ovals adjacent to
Eleventh Street.
Obviously being so close to the
Murray River Winnie developed
her love of the paddle steamers.
After finishing school she began
working on them when she was
fifteen years old. She worked on
many of the Murray Steamship
vessels; however, most of her
time was spent on the PS Ruby,
she just loved her lines. Some of
her tasks would have included
cleaning, washing, ironing, serving
meals, clearing up after meals
and making up cabins for new
When Winnie came back to visit
the Ruby in the early days of the
restoration program we were able
to ask her about the old boat. She
told us that it was all white, inside
and out and she hated it as she felt
it needed some colour!
                                          Winnie enjoys some Christmas cheer in 2005 aged 97. She loved a
              Continued on Page 2           beer and a yarn and fondly recalled her days aboard the Ruby.

                                  The Ruby restoration project is supported by funding from the Australian
                                          Government under the Regional Partnerships program

         For a ‘Friends of the Ruby’ membership application see Page 6
The Winnie Reynolds Story
Continued from Page 1                 She finished working on the Ruby      first was in 2000 and the second
The dining saloon was all white       in the late 1920’s and was married    for the refloating on Australia Day
with white curtains on the windows.   in Mildura in 1930. During the        2002 when she was the Guest of
The cabins were all white and         next seventy-six years Winnie         Honour for the day. In 2000 Winnie
even the white                                      moved from Mildura      came to our fundraising dinner at
bedspreads                                          to Geelong and then     the Wentworth Showgrounds
carried       the                                   Melbourne. In fact      and helped the Committee draw
M u r r a y                                         her daughter, Mrs       the raffle that night. She enjoyed
Steamship                                           Joan Davies, reliably   herself immensely and always
emblem.                                             informs us that there   appeared so grateful we were
                                                    was hardly a suburb     taking the trouble to restore the
She      became                                     in Melbourne that       old Ruby which played such a
the cook on the                                     they did not live       large part of her young life.
Ruby towards                                        during these years.     As a final note it is worth
the end of her
                                                    Winnie continued to     mentioning that Winnie would
cruising career.
                                                    return to Merbein for   be smiling on the Ruby project
She      actually
                                                    many years to help      right now because we have just
took over when                                                              received a grant of $4,654.00
                                                    her friends, Laurie
the     previous                                    and Joan Smith, with    thanks to the Wentworth Services
cook,        who                                    the picking of their    Sporting Club Ltd to install a brand
according      to                                   grape harvest. She      new gas oven and cooking range
all reports was                                     was 82 when she         in the galley. No more cutting the
rather fond of                                      made her last trip      wood and stoking the oven all day,
the ‘odd drop’,                                     north to pick their     especially in summer.
was marched                                         block                   Thank you Winnie for such
off the boat and                                    In later years she      wonderful memories. Your name
placed in gaol!                                     visited the Ruby on     will always be remembered when
It was during                                       two occasions, the      we talk about the PS Ruby.
the time of this
previous cook                                       Both these pics show Winnie,
that a story is                                      aged 18, aboard the Ruby
told how a fight erupted among the                     and below with ‘Skinny’
crew and in the melee the meat                                 Sheen.
safe on the stern of the boat was
knocked open and the contents
went into the river. E.D. Gray, in
his book ‘The Murray River and
Bottom Enders’, tells another
version that as the cook opened
the meat safe the Ruby gave one
of her infamous rolls and he lost
the contents overboard! In both
situations the end result would
have been the same, the crew
quickly dived overboard to rescue
the leg of lamb and sausages,
washed them and placed them,
back into the safe ready for
cooking – the paying passengers
none the wiser!

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Another South American Steamboat

In further South American travels we visited the city of Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca, the cradle of Incan
civilization. This lake is the largest lake on the South American continent. It is reputed to be the highest navigable lake
in the world, about 3810m above sea level, and extending from south-eastern Peru to western Bolivia. It is 196km long
with an average width of 56km. The lake has waves, testament to its size and not surprising the waters are cold. At
an altitude of 3000m plus and fed from snow-clad Andes the lake does not invite swimming! On one of our days we
discovered the ‘M.S. Yavari’.
The Yavari was built as a gun boat cum cargo/passenger ship. Her history is remarkable. The order was placed with
the James Watt’s Foundry in Birmingham, who agreed that “the whole of the material will be sent out in pieces, or
boxes, the weight of any one piece not to exceed three and a half hundredweight”. The building of the iron hulls
was subcontracted to the Thames Iron Works and Ship Building Company in Blackwall. She and her sister ship, the
Yapura, were commissioned by the Peruvian Government in 1861. One year later the two steamers were crated up
and dispatched aboard the Mayola for passage around Cape Horn to Arica, a Peruvian port before being lost to Chile in
the War of the Pacific. From Arica the crates travelled fourty miles inland to Tacna. The daunting task of getting the two
ships up the Andes to Lake Titicaca was not so much the distance, a mere two hundred and fifty miles, but the climb of
over fifteen thousand five hundred feet above sea level! It needed porters to carry the crank shaft and mules to carry the
rest. The whole journey over treacherous trails lasted almost six years. It was Christmas Day 1870 before the hull of the
Yavari was eventually reassembled and launched; she made her maiden voyage in 1871. The vessel was one hundred
feet in length with a seventeen foot beam and ten foot draft. She was equipped both with sails and a sixty horse power
steam engine for which the only available fuel was dried llama droppings. This meant “jumbo-izing” the hold by another
fifty feet to accommodate both fuel and cargo, but the steam engine was not efficient, so in 1914 it was replaced by a
Swedish four cylinder diesel Bolinder – the largest and oldest of its kind still in working order today. In 1987, recognising
the importance of saving and restoring the Yavari as a Marine Monument the Association Yavari purchased the vessel.
Since then all the historical features of the 19th century vessel have been restored and the hull sandblasted, repainted,
                                                                       inspected and approved by the Marine Authorities.
                                                                       In 1998 she was officially inaugurated as a State
                                                                       Registered Museum. On the 9th December 1999
                                                                       she slipped her moorings, with the dignity that
                                                                       befits her age, and sailed gracefully out of the port
                                                                       and into the bay of Puno, the first time in over fourty
                                                                       years that she had moved under her own steam
                                                                       and still continues to do so today. She has been
                                                                       fitted out as authentically Victorian as possible
                                                                       while also providing the standards of safety and
                                                                       comfort that today’s discerning traveller requires.
                                                                       Today she regularly sails with a capacity of twenty
                                                                       passengers and twelve crew and if you are ever
                                                                       near Puno on Lake Titicaca, Peru, you must pay
                                                                       her a visit.
                                                                       Website –
                                                                                                              Luke Guthrie

          For a ‘Friends of the Ruby’ membership application see Page 6
   From the
                                           Dear Friends of Ruby
                                           You will find published in this newsletter a proposed itinerary for the June~July
                                           2007 “Centenary” trip to Morgan S.A. and return.

   Captain’s                               I must emphasise that at this stage it is still all on the “drawing board” and not
                                           open for bookings.

   Cabin                                   In the New Year as soon as we are mobile and more importantly under survey
                                           to carry passengers we will be giving all “Friends” first option to make bookings
                                           for the whole trip or various sections thereof. The 31st December quarterly
                                           newsletter I’m sure will be more specific.
                                           In the mean time, work continues and during the past month Mike Hurley and
                                           Rod Tabret completed the bilge pumping system, which also incorporates the
                                           fire fighting pumps. A great job, congratulations fellows.
                                           On the 31st August I met with Mr Ravi Pendharkar, surveyor, from the NSW
                                           Maritime authority, at the Ruby. It was his first visit to Ruby (not his last by a
                                           long shot) but he left expressing words of congratulations on a job well done.
                                           Not often does one find a surveyor in that sort of a mood.
                                           Rob Muller is arriving in Wentworth from Goolwa next Monday, 25th September,
                                           to fit the reversing linkages. He will also give us advice regarding the final fit
                                           out of the boiler etc.
                                           Meanwhile, John Norris is recovering from his recent bypass operation. He
                                           is planning, in the not to distant future, to present himself at the Ruby in
                                           Wentworth to assist with the boiler etc.
Cruisin’ Cuisine                           Our aim is to have it steaming by Christmas. Time will tell.
                                           My best wishes,
                                           Captain Leon J Wagner
       McKenzie Saloon
   A Suggested Sunday Dinner

                                           Project Officer completes her time
            Beef Bouillon                  It was at the PS Ruby Restoration Committee meeting of Wednesday 15th
                 or                        September, 2004, that the Chairman, Leon Wagner announced to the members
                                           present that Jill French and Grant Maynard have been appointed as the ‘joint’
          Chicken Consommé                 Project Officers.
                                           After a period of time Jill accepted the position as ‘sole’ project officer.
                Main                       The funding for this position was made available through a DOTARS grant
                                           – Department of Transport and Regional Services. Possibly the main aim of
 Grilled Fillet of Murray Cod Supreme      such a position was the facilitation and development of the inaugural P.S. Ruby
                    or                     Board of Management.
  Crispy Fried Fillet of Murray Perch
                                           Since then Jill has achieved some marvellous results in the area of financial
                                           grant submissions, she has been tireless in formulating submissions to various
Roast Leg of Saltbush fed Mutton with
                                           government and non-government bodies.
                Mint Sauce
                   and                     She has also spent many hours developing the P.S. Ruby Business Plan, the
Green Beans, Carrots, Cauliflower Cheese   P.S. Ruby Board of Management Constitution and other policy areas.
Roasted Potatoes, Pumpkin and Parsnip      She was one of the key driving forces behind the recent Art Union.
                                           The P.S. Ruby Board of Management wish to express their sincere thanks for
              Dessert                      her efforts in bringing to fruition the completion of the P.S. Ruby restoration
                                           project and taking it to the next stage of being a viable venture for the
      Bread and Butter Pudding             Wentworth area.
            Custard Crème                  Jill has not completely left the project she has simply moved from being the
                                           Project Officer to a Board Member.
      Coffee, Billy Tea & Biscuits         Many thanks Jill.

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                     Draft 2007 P.S. Ruby Cruising Itinerary

For a ‘Friends of the Ruby’ membership application see Page 6
Pictorial update courtesy of Country Energy

                                                             LEFT: Volunteer and Board
                                                           Member Rod Tabrett, right, and
                                                          Mick Hurley install the bilge pump
                                                              and fire fighting system.

                                                           BELOW: The completed system
                                                               in the forward hold.

ABOVE: Little Ruby wheel mounted
      in the wheelhouse.

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Pictorial update
                                            LEFT: Volunteers Don Duncan and Bill Elligett assist
                                              Rod Muller of Goolwa with the installation of the
                                                            reversing linkages.

RIGHT: Key reversing linkage components.

                                                 BELOW: Volunteer Bill Elligett works on the
                                                         steam exhaust outlet.

  ABOVE: The main shaft assembly nearing

      For a ‘Friends of the Ruby’ membership application see Page 6

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