Tuesday, October 8, 2013


 I have written about this small boat before and have been sent the photos on the internet.
This is probably the oldest ride in model boat in the world. It is at the Bussleton butter factory
museum. This photo was found on face book.
The boat is I believe to be 12 feet 6 inches long made from steel sheet and angle iron.
<dl id="foter-photo-figure" class="wp-caption foter-photo" style="color: rgb(136, 136, 136); position: relative; font-size: 11px; font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; overflow: hidden; padding: 4px; border: 1px solid rgb(221, 221, 221); border-radius: 3px 3px 3px 3px; width: 325px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt"><a href="http://foter.com/re/be4eda"><img style="display: block; width: 100%;" class="foter-photo mceItem" src="http://foter.com/image/display/1778647/w600/"></a></dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd" style="padding:0;margin:0;"><span style="display: block; float: right;"><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/state_library_south_australia/5456920249/">State Library of South Australia</a> / <a href="http://foter.com/">Foter</a> / <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY</a></span></dd></dl>

Just to recap this is the first post.

Jumna ride in paddle tug Western Australia

Where is the little Western Australian  Jumna today?

I have been researching "Jumna", a paddle wheel steam tug boat which operated at the turn of the 20th Century in the small port of Littlehampton, Sussex, UK.  The Curator of the Littlehampton Museum recently sent me a photocopy of an article from a modeling magazine article dated August 1980.  Here are the first three paragraphs of the article which will clarify things.

    "Today, the little tug "Jumna" sits almost forlorn on the verandah of the Busselton             Museum, where people come and go and take away a photo of a once proud steamship.

    "Jumna" first saw light in the imagination of a young boy in England when his eyes observed the real "Jumna" assisting vessels in and out of the Port of Littlehampton on the South Coast.

    Canon, or as he was known as Rev. Robert Davies, came to Western Australia and started his training in the ministry of the Church at Bussleton."

The article describes him as one of "Australia's most prominent model engineers".  He apparently built a 12' 6" fully operating replica of "Jumna" which was powered by a live steam engine and was large enough that Rev. Davies and a passenger could ride in the model itself.  The author of the article was Keith Watson and it appeared in the August 1980 issue of "Live Steam" magazine which appears to be an American publication out of Michigan.

The author describes the construction of the model which apparently took place in the Busselton Rectory and it's quite detailed along with drawings and technical information about the live steam plant.  It seems he knew Rev. Davies and describes in some length a trip he took in the model.

    " To ride the "Jumna" was an experience I shall never forget, and goes back to the late 1950's when I had the good fortune to meet Canon and his wife Dulcie, who shared his love of steam."

It seems this model was very well known in the town of Busselton as must have been it's builder, and apparently even once transported the Prince of Wales during a Royal visit.

It would be fun to locate the model and re-establish it's connection with the Museum at Littlehampton half a world away. It's even possible the Rev. Davies is still alive today as "Jumna" operated at the Port Littlehampton up to around 1914.

Any help in tracking this down would be appreciated, Derek, and as always, very best regards.

Victoria, British columbia, Canada

1 comment:

I live in Western Australia and know the Busselton, Western Australia, Jumna well. In fact I lived alongside Jumna. I am Custodian of the late designer/builder/operator/owner's Diary and Log Book recording her "birth", history and decades of travel on the Vasse River. Our Jumna has been refurbished and is displayed in the Busselton Historical Society's Old Butterfactory Museum - I had the honour of unveiling the new display on 20 January 2010. Jumna was modelled on Littlehampton’s PT Jumna and normally carried three people, the owner operating the engine plus two passengers but sometimes squeezed in a third. I have had a close association with Jumna since 1948. My wife and I were honoured to be invited by the owner, Canon Robert Davies, to accompany him on 6th January 1963 during filming of a TV documentary. Unbeknown at that time this trip was Jumna's last long trip. We have visited Littlehampton in West Sussex and been honoured with a trip along the Arun River on the Harbour Board's current Pilot Boat Jumna. I know PJ of Paddleducks well having visited him in Canada. I have written a book on the history of Busselton's Jumna. Unfortunately the article referred to in the 1980 Live Steam magazine has a number of errors of fact which could be taken by a reader not knowing otherwise as "truth". Annoyingly it is not possible to correct that particular article. Rest assured I have the full story and facts in the aforementioned Diary and Log Book - it is a wonderful historic document that I will donate to our Western Australian State Reference Library called the Battye Library, where Western Australia's records and history is kept. Jumna is a wonderful piece of Busselton history and he builder Canon Robert Davies and extraordinary man. Trips on his Jumna were free – he gave much pleasure over decades to the people of Busselton and visitors alike, some being most famous people. Anyone wanting accurate information on the Busselton Jumna is welcome to email sandgroper2010@gmail.com