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Firefloat 'Ada'
Title : Firefloat 'Ada' Firefloat 'Ada'
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Source : B 43417
Date of creation : ca. 1906
Format : Photograph
Contributor : State Library catalogue
Catalogue record
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Description :

The fireboat Ada at her berth at the ferry steps, shortly after her conversion in 1906, with the Customs House and No. 1 Shed on the rebuilt Queen's Wharf at Port Adelaide behind. This was South Australia's first fireboat and was bought in Sydney in 1906. Originally built in 1893 Ada was a steam launch with a length of 45 feet and a beam of 9 feet 3 inches. Once in Port Adelaide she was fitted with a pump with a capacity of 750 gallons per minute and was manned by 4 firemen.

The fireboat fought several minor fires in the Port over the next decade including a fire in the South Africa which was carrying bunker coal and 300 tons of high explosives. When fire broke out aboard ship, the crew deserted but the fireboat's crew boarded the ship and managed to extinguish the fire after five hours.

Ada served until 1924. She was called to assist with the fire on the City of Singapore in April of that year. However she was largely ineffective with only two hoses which could be run aboard the blazing ship. When City of Singapore exploded a case of petrol was blasted through the Ada's deck and she withdrew rapidly as the explosion continued to shoot projectiles of metal into the air. The fireboat was already considered elderly and underpowered for the time.

The Fire Brigade and the government argued over a replacement fireboat and the newspapers carried articles of protest over the delays: if the fireboat had been replaced more promptly it was argued, the fire aboard the City of Singapore may have been extinguished sooner. Eventually in September 1926 a new fireboat, Fire Queen came into service and served for 44 years before being replaced in the early 1970s.

Related names :

City of Singapore (ship)

Period : 1884-1913
Place : Port Adelaide
Further reading :
Couper-Smartt, John Port Adelaide: tales from a "commodious harbour" Port Adelaide: Friends of the South Australian Maritime Museum, 2003
Ritter, Ron Triumph, tragedy andPort Adelaide [Para Vista, S. Aust.]: Ronald C. Ritter, 2005
Parsons, Ronald, Southern passages: a maritime history of South Australia Netley, S. Aust.: Wakefield Press, 1986
Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :

State Library of South Australia: Mortlock Wing exhibitions. Wooden Walls and Iron Sides August 2004-



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