The Steam Era

Just before 1840, sail began to give way to a combination of sail and steam – ships known as Steam Packets. At last shipping schedules and the ‘shipping news’ took on a whole new meaning. It was now ‘almost’ possible for shippers to give passengers and cargo clients alike, a reasonably accurate time of arrival and departure – or so it seemed. Although steam placed less reliance on the unpredictable direction and strength of wind – steam power was not always reliable itself – boilers, pressure valves & throttle governors were not always dependable – explosions on board were commonplace.
Massive amounts of timber were necessary – the local discovery of coal still being some way off. The steam packet ‘Oonah’ steaming up the Derwent River to Sullivan’s Cove was an extraordinary sight both steaming & with full sails aloft. See picture above.

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