SS Doomba

1923 - 1936

SS Doomba at Bribie Island 1923
SS Doomba at Bribie Island 1923

Courtesy of the SLQ. Neg No 8410.

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SS Doomba approaching the temporary road base jetty 1923.
SS Doomba approaching the temporary road base jetty 1923.

Courtesy of SLQ.

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SS Doomba at the Bribie Island Jetty 1924
SS Doomba at the Bribie Island Jetty 1924

Courtesy SLQ

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SS Doomba at Bribie Island 1923
SS Doomba at Bribie Island 1923

Courtesy of the SLQ. Neg No 8410.

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The 1920s were a boom time for Bribie Island and it became evident that the SS Koopa, even with the help of the other Tug Company ships, needed a sister ship to help transport tourists to Bribie Island.

The HMS Wexford, launched at Renfrew, Scotland in October 1919, was an unused minesweeper and she was purchased in 1922 by the Brisbane Tug & Steam Ship Company and renamed the SS Doomba. On 5th May 1923 the Doomba left Scotland and steamed into Brisbane on 5th August 1923.


A full refit was carried out at Kangaroo Point and she could now accommodate 1,547 holiday-makers. The Doomba’s first trip to Bribie Island was on Saturday, 24th November 1923 and she ran regularly in conjunction with the Koopa until 1928. She was a great favourite with excursionists.


The origin of the name Doomba is derived from an area on South Passage, Moreton Bay called by the Aboriginal people ‘Dumba’. This area was well known to the Tug Company and Doomba is probably a variation to match with Koopa.


About 1928 motor vehicles began to make their presence felt and the Government of the day began to do something positive in the provision of good roads in and around Brisbane. This situation began to have an effect on the operations of the Tug Company and it was soon realised that either the Doomba or Koopa would have to be taken off regularly running because of the drop in demand for excursions. Doomba being the more costly of the steamers to operate was withdrawn from her regular schedule but when her use was warranted she appeared again. This was usually over holiday periods and in the busy summer months.


In 1936 Doomba performed what was to be her last service as an excursion steamer and she was laid up at Kangaroo Point with her funnel sealed and generally giving the appearance that her days were numbered. No one knew then that she was to see six years of unbroken service as a Royal Australian Navy Minesweeper.


In 1947 the Doomba was sold to the Penguin Salvage Company. In 1969 she was sold for scrap but in 1974 she was still lying on the banks of the Parramatta River and finally broken up in 1975.


Written by Lynne Hooper from information sourced from the public domain and the BIHS Database.