Collections

The SA Maritime Museum preserves the oldest nautical collection in Australia. In 1872 the Port Adelaide Institute began a museum collection to complement its library and its educational and social programs. That collection grew over the following century reflecting the seafarers and the ships that visited Port Adelaide. It is now held in trust at the SA Maritime Museum.

The Maritime Museum’s collection ranges from the Port Adelaide Lighthouse that was first lit in 1869 to a plaque that explorer Matthew Flinders left at Memory Cove in 1802 to mark the loss to eight seafarers. It includes figureheads, nautical instruments, bathing costumes, shipwreck artefacts, paintings, models and vessels.

Our scope is the maritime heritage of South Australia from the coast to inland waters. The collection of over almost 20,000 objects and over 20,000 images is at once a window to the heritage of the local community and to the ships of the world..

Yelta

Yelta is an iron steam tug.

Yelta was built in 1949 to a design that was prepared by Cockatoo Dockyard staff. It was fitted with a triple expansion engine that had been built for a corvette during the Second World War and was now surplus. It was built for Adelaide Steamship Company and spent the next 27 years berthing craft and towing them in and out of Port Adelaide. Yelta was retired in November 1976 as South Australia's last fully operational steam tug. The tug remains in excellent operating condition and is one of a select few ex-commercial steam vessels remaining afloat around Australia. It now provides regular cruises of the Port River.

Dimensions: 

Length overall:  30.48 m

Beam: 7.62 m

Draught: 3.81 m

Maker: Cockatoo Island Dockyard

Associated locations: Cockatoo Island, Port Adelaide

 

Caption: Steam Tug YELTA

AccessionNo: HT2003651(m)

Material: Steel, metals, timbers, cement, brass etc

Date Created: 1949

Physical Description:
The steel Steam Tug YELTA was built in 1949 by Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Co., Sydney. It was owned by Ritch and Smith of Port Adelaide and was originally coal fired but was converted to oil in 1957. After 27 years of service guiding vessels in and out of Port Adelaide, YELTA was finally laid up in November 1976. In the following year she was sold to the Port Adelaide branch of the National Trust of South Australia. In May 1985 YELTA was purchased by the South Australian Maritime Museum after a program of restoration and re-fitting by volunteers. South Australia's last commercial steam tug began a new life as one of the Museum's floating exhibitis. YELTA is of riveted steel construction throughout, except for the plate butts, which are welded. Cement render is also used throughout the vessel. It has accommodation space for a fireman, a greaser and two deck hands, often used by crewmembers when laying over between shifts. YELTA is also equipped with a galley, and engineer and captain's cabin and a saloon. The structure on the top of the wheelhouse is the 'monkey island' where a compass was placed free from magnetic intereference from the ship. The engine is a triple expansion steam engine that delivers 970 indicated horsepower and the boiler takes 18 hours to reach operating pressure. The Tug's towing hook can move up and down and turn freely to allow towing from all angles and directions. Length: 31.5 metres; Beam: 8.13 metres; Draft: 3.94 metres; Tonnage: 219.4 tonnes; Power: 123 Kilowatts (165hp); Engine: Triple expansion oil fired steam engine

Significance:
The Yelta is the last surviving steam tug in South Australia and is representative of that type of vessel in use at Port Adelaide between 1949 and 1976. It reflects the history of the port in the 20th century.

Provenance:
The steel Steam Tug YELTA was built in 1949 by Cockatoo Docks and Engineering Co., Sydney. It was owned by Ritch and Smith of Port Adelaide and was originally coal fired but was converted to oil in 1957. After 27 years of service guiding vessels in and out of Port Adelaide, YELTA was finally laid up in November 1976. In the following year she was sold to the Port Adelaide branch of the National Trust of South Australia. In May 1985 YELTA was purchased by the South Australian Maritime Museum after a program of restoration and re-fitting by volunteers. South Australia's last commercial steam tug began a new life as one of the Museum's floating exhibits. YELTA is of riveted steel construction throughout, except for the plate butts, which are welded. Cement render is also used throughout the vessel. It has accommodation space for a fireman, a greaser and two deck hands, often used by crewmembers when laying over between shifts. YELTA is also equipped with a galley, and engineer and captain's cabin and a saloon. The structure on the top of the wheelhouse is the 'monkey island' where a compass was placed free from magnetic intereference from the ship. The engine is a triple expansion steam engine that delivers 970 indicated horsepower and the boiler takes 18 hours to reach operating pressure. The Tug's towing hook can move up and down and turn freely to allow towing from all angles and directions. Length: 31.5 metres Beam: 8.13 metres Draft: 3.94 metres Tonnage: 219.4 tonnes Power: 123 Kilowatts (165hp) Engine: Triple expansion oil fired steam engine