Paddlesteamer Society logo




Picture Gallery


Golden City Paddle Steamer...

The Golden City Paddle Steamer, launched on the 16th June, 1885 by Thomas Gill is the sole survivor of a fleet of pleasure craft that sailed Lake Wendouree from the 1860's onwards. The Gill family continued to operate the Golden City on Lake Wendouree for the next 81 years until 1946, when it changed local ownership to Messrs. Roy McRae and J. McArthur. In 1966 the Paddleboat was sold and transferred to Melbourne.

For the next 21 years the Paddleboat under the ownership of the Spooner family, carried thousands of pleasure seekers around the Caribbean Gardens at Scorsby. During it's time there the boat was re-powered, [with another petrol engine] and in 1973 the hull was completely restored and fibreglassed.

In 1981 the canopy was also fibreglassed. In 1987 the Paddleboat was returned to Lake Wendouree. Ownership was transferred to the Golden City Paddle Steamer Museum Society Inc., which with the assistance of the Ballarat City Council was able to purchase Thomas Gill's boatshed, the original home of the Paddle Steamer.

The Lake Wendouree Museum, situated on the shore of Lake Wendouree, is providing visitors with displays depicting the history of the Lake from the time of its use as a camping site by the Kulin Tribe and the arrival of cousins Archibald and William Yuille to its development as the central recreational facility for Ballarat.

The Museum, established in 1998 is an interpretative facility serving as a lasting reminder of the rich history of family, sporting and recreational like associated with Lake Wendouree. The Lake's unique fauna and flora is also featured. The Lake's boating history focuses on the early paddle steamers, sea scouts, yachting, rowing, fishing and the Olympics. The Museum comprises dioramas, murals, audio visuals, soundscapes and display cabinets. It provides a range of educational experiences relating to Lake Wendouree that will appeal to people of all ages.