Steam Tugboat "Geebung"


Steam Tugboat "Geebung" was one of a number of tugboats used by the Melbourne Harbour Trust to tow and push larger vessels in and out of Port Melbourne and the Docks.

"Geebung" was built in 1885 in New South Wales[1],commenced work in Melbourne in 1889[1], and was lost when she sank in the Yarra in 1962 near Flinders Street Station.

This photograph is from the early 20th century, actual date unknown, probably in the 1930s.

According to the Argus from 15th February 1922[2] "Another of the company's tugs, the Geebung, has just left the repair dock. Early this month she was towing the old bay steamer "Excelsior" (now a lighter [a form of barge that is used to transfer coal to another vessel]) from Geelong to Melbourne, when she touched the sandbank in the Hopetoun Channel. The Excelsior, having gained impetus, cut into the Geebung's stern. The tug was compelled to return to Geelong, and later left there for Melbourne, under her own steam, to be docked. In the meantime the Excelsior also ran aground, and was towed off by the Otter [another tugboat]."

This photograph shows the Geebung towing a lighter, which is not the old "Excelsior". The long-serving commander of the Geebung was Captain John Fitzgibbon[1], who was her master for 35 years[1], and it is probably him that we can see up on the bridge.

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1. Melbourne Argus, 11th June 1938

2. Melbourne Argus, 15th February 1922