Jungle Queen at Russell Heads
Photo by Nan Bailey

She was built by Arthur Shepherd in 1948 to run the tourist trip from Deeral Landing on the Mulgrave River south of Cairns, to Russell heads, where the Mulgrave and Russell Rivers join and enter the sea as one river. She was 40 foot long with a beam of about 12ft, but a draft of only 18 inches so she could travel the tidal rivers and skim over the sand banks. She had twin Perkins diesels and twin props in tunnel hulls. She was sunk in a flood when we bought her, so we had her raised and taken to Cairns where David fixed her up and had her put back into survey. Then we had to build up the business and lure the tourists to do our trip. We took her twice a day on the 2 1/2 hr trip to Russell Heads, telling the tourists about the river life and history. We parked beside the beach so they could have a walk, have their tea, coffee and Jungle Cake before returning to the jetty. We didn't make much mobney doing this, but I enjoyed it. We didn't often see the crocodiles -- that was the problem.

© The photographer and Victoria-Adventure