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Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown

The memorial plaque, mounted on a sandstone boulder, commemorates the 150th anniversary of the launching of the paddle steamer William IV from the Deptford Shipyards, Clarence Town in 1831 which was the first ocean going steamer built in Australia. The plaque has a bas relief paddle wheel steamer. 

Paddle wheel steamer, William IV was launched in November 1831. A large crowd assembled to witness the launch and partake of the luncheon provided by owner Joseph Hickey Grose, an ex-convict. The contract to build the William IV had been signed with Williams River ship builders Marshall and Lowe earlier in 1831. James Marshall and William Lowe had arrived on the `Tiger` in 1828.

The William IV when launched was fully rigged but minus her Liverpool made engines which were later installed and improved in Sydney.  William IV had one 16hp engine which was fitted with two cylinders which were at the time frequently but incorrectly referred to as "engines." 

The abundance of excellent hardwoods — flooded gum and ironbark — convinced them to commence their shipbuilding at the Williams River. They constructed a wet dock where a small creek entered the Williams so that vessels could be floated at high tide for repairs. They could be found at times travelling about the Williams River district in search of timber for their vessels.


Address:Rifle Street, Clarence Town Wetlands Walk, Clarence Town, 2321
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.590436
Long: 151.779965
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Technology
Actual Event Start Date:14-November-1831
Actual Event End Date:14-November-1981M


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1981
Front Inscription

 1831     1981

Commemorating The 150th Anniversary Of The
Launching Of The Paddle-Wheel Steamer "William IV'
From The Deptford Shipyards, Clarence Town,  
500 Metres Downstream On The West Bank Of The
Williams River On The 14th November 1831.

"William IV" Was The First Ocean-Going Steamer
Built In Australia. She Left Clarence Town Under
Sail & Her Engines Were Fitted In Sydney.  Built By
William Lowe And James Marshall For Sydney
Merchant J.H Grose, Her Length Was 80ft. (24.4m)
And Beam 15ft. (4.6m).

This Plaque Was Unveiled By Mrs Jessie Wetzler,
A Great Grand-Daughter Of William Lowe.

Source: MA,H
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au