ST Yelta

Designed and built at Cockatoo Island in Sydney for Adelaide Steamship Company’s subsidiary Ritch and Smith, ST Yelta was launched in 1949. The vessel spent 27 years towing ships in and out of Port Adelaide before being retired in 1976.

ST Yelta represents the history of steam power. From the 1830s to the 1970s, steam played a crucial role in the history of shipping. Through the 19th and early 20th centuries, steam also played a significant role in the wider industrial history of South Australia. Steam engines powered industrial and mining machinery, generators, pumps and tractors, as well as trains and vessels.

ST Yelta’s triple expansion engine and its riveted-iron boiler are now rare examples of that industrial heritage. Its steam engine was originally built for a naval corvette during World War II but because the war ended before the corvette was completed, the engine was installed in the tug. Yelta’s coal-fired boilers were converted to oil in 1957.

Purchased by the South Australian Maritime Museum in 1985, ST Yelta is now located at McLaren Wharf on the Port River at the end of Commercial Road.