Researching steam relic

GREATER Taree City Council is seeking the community's help in researching the paddler steamer PS Manning, the wreck of which sits on Taree riverbank near Taree Aquatic Club (the Sailo's).

The Australian National Maritime Museum this week undertook a survey of the wreck, which has sat on the riverbank for more than 50 years.

The steel hulled paddle steamer has been in a state of decay and poses safety concerns for people who try to explore the wreck.

Greater Taree City Council's senior leader of strategic planning, Richard Pamplin said council originally applied to the Australian National Maritime Museum for a grant to commission an archaeological assessment of the wreck to firstly determine the state of the wreck and secondly, provide advice on any future actions.

"Instead of offering a grant we were offered the services of Kieran Hosty, a maritime archaeologist from the museum, to undertake the assessment of the wreck."

Kieran spent three days in Taree undertaking research and surveying the wreck, taking measurements and a photographic record.

"It was very timely for this review as it provides an update on a 1993 report," Kieren said. "This review will enable a comparison on how much deterioration has occurred over the last 20 years."

Kieran said that the decay of the wreck is obvious.

"The hull has deteriorated mostly on the river side of the wreck where it is exposed to tidal movements and floods. The vegetation growing in the hull and sediment deposited by floods have also placed outward pressure on the hull."

The survey and research will now be collated in a report and provided to the city council over the next month for consideration.

While in Taree, Kieran also inspected some of the Manning's other historical maritime sites, such as Wingham Wharf which currently has restoration works underway. An inspection of the Wingham Museum also provided additional research material on the wreck of the PS Manning.

"We greatly appreciate the assistance of the Manning Valley Historical Society," Mr Pamplin said. "They provided old newspaper articles and resource material on the PS Manning. They are an excellent hub of historical information on the Manning Valley."

Mr Pamplin also put out a call for more information to the community.

"If anyone has information on the history of the PS Manning that they can make available for the report, please contact council.

"We are particularly looking for any information on PS Manning after it was bought for the Manning River Aquatic Festival in 1935."

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