The MV Minnipa

MV Minnipa

Photograph reproduced courtesy of the State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B7275

"There was a high, bright moon over Boston Bay and the little band played 'Auld Lang Syne'.

"The coastal vessel Minnipa of The Adelaide Steamship Company was saying her farewells to the people of Port Lincoln and Eyre Peninsula and they were saying them back. This was 1960. She had been on the run for thirty-three years. She had sailed through spume-white nights into daffodil dawns. She had brought the vital goods that a thriving port and a growing hinterland needed. And she had brought the people: fishermen, shopkeepers, workers, farmers, seasick children, and apprehensive mothers looking to a new life. So they remembered the ship. An old man watched and thought of a day in 1927. It was the ship's maiden voyage and she had brought his first car. A woman standing with her five grandchildren recalled her honeymoon trip on a windy confetti-strewn voyage thirty-three years before.

"The propeller rumbled, the ship moved out, her siren blaring, her decks an island of light. At last she was gone and the watchers quiet on the wharf. I shan't forget it because I was there."

Max Fatchen, Foreword to 'Fitted For The Voyage' by Michael Page, Rigby, 1975.

No, the town of Minnipa isn't anywhere near the ocean, and there are no deepwater lakes there either. What's the connection, apart from the name? The MV Minnipa was for many years the lifeline for Eyre Peninsula, working the Adelaide - Port Lincoln run from 1927 until 1960.

Built in 1927 in Copenhagen by Burmeister and Wain, the MV Minnipa (Adelaide Steamship Co) was a diesel-powered ship of 1977 tons. Despite running aground on Boston Island, off Port Lincoln, on 29th May 1928, the Minnipa became an institution on the Adelaide - Port Lincoln run. For many decades, the Port Lincoln Division railway timetable was structured around the twice-weekly visits of the Minnipa to Port Lincoln.

By the time the Minnipa left Port Lincoln for the last time on 29th June 1960, she had sailed more than a million miles, made more than 3,300 round trips and carried over 525,000 passengers. She was broken up in Hong Kong in 1963.

Special thanks to Max Fatchen, journalist and author, for kind permission to reproduce the quotation above.