Do You Have What It Takes To Become a Shipmate Of William The Fourth?
We are currently looking for a very limited number of keen Volunteer Crew Members, Shipmates Members and Corporate VIP Sponsors. Are you up to the task of becoming a Shipmate of William the Fourth?
This Is How Experiences Are Made
Nowhere else can you feel you are going back in time. The unique character of William the Fourth inspires all forms of emotion. Enjoy the serenity or soak up the grand vistas of the Newcastle city panorama from the harbour. You know this is not like any other voyage as you sense what life was like for our pioneer forefathers. We know you will never forget it and we will see you again.
A Brief History Of William The Fourth
William the Fourth is an accurate operational replica of Australia’s first steam powered ocean-going paddlewheel ship.
When convict settlement was established at Newcastle from 1801, ships were the only form of transport. Within 30 years the settlement of fertile lands along the Hunter River and a growing coal trade – Australia’s first significant export industry, enabled the era of steam ships. In 1831 – when the Australian Agricultural Company began to have a profound impact on Newcastle, a shipyard was established at Clarencetown, taking advantage of the excellent timbers, to construct Australia’s first steam-powered ocean-going ship – William the Fourth, to operate between Sydney and the growing settlement inland from the ‘Green Hills’ now known as Morpeth.
There were almost no roads, and the graveyard of shipwrecks at the harbour entrance is testimony to the many hazards our local pioneers faced. The ship was a general carrier, transporting produce to the markets in Sydney and every product the settlers needed to live in the valley. It’s hard for us to imagine the hardships they faced, but their enterprise and determination developed the characteristics that are still in our blood today. By its very unique nature William the Fourth still serves as a faithful testimony to that tough pioneering and maritime heritage.
The replica William the Fourth was constructed as a community 1988 Bi-Centenary Project at Raymond Terrace, at a cost of $1.5 million and was launched on 26 September 1987 by Mrs Hazel Hawke. During construction hundreds of people purchased engraved copper nails – still in the ship’s hull, and since then thousands more have enjoyed the experience of the ship whilst learning of our maritime heritage. The replica operated commercial cruises on Newcastle Harbour and the Hunter River for 14 years until a boiler leak put it out of service in 2001. It was earmarked to be dismantled.
In 2008 a community-based organisation, William the Fourth Inc. was formed to take ownership from Newcastle City Council and complete a total restoration of the ship and return it to service. Difficulty in raising funds delayed the restoration for 10 years but with generous public and corporate support, work valued at over $650,000 was completed without incurring debt. As part of the full refurbishment a powerful diesel engine with propeller, as well as bow thruster were installed to maximise availability and overcome the issues presented by steam and paddlewheel propulsion (whilst retaining and simulating the steam experience).
William the Fourth provides the ideal platform to showcase
the beauty of the city from the harbour.
It is available as a floating display, a unique venue for on-board refreshments and functions, and also has an operating licence to undertake corporate and tourist charters in sheltered waters. Charters are based on an hourly rate, for any number of passengers up to 54. Operations are available at any time, subject to availability of volunteer crew.
What We Do
There will be no cruises in October, as the vessel will be undergoing routine maintenance.
However, we will be back in November and have exciting new cruises planned for November and December. So stay tuned.
Or sign up for our newsletter using the form at the bottom of the page to be the first to hear about the exciting new cruises.
Generally on the first Sunday of every month you can enjoy our Sunday Morning and Afternoon Tea Harbour Cruises or a Special themed Afternoon Tea Cruise at 1.30pm from time to time.
Check our cruise schedule for special event cruises.
Luncheon in the Mangroves
A special 4 hour journey to the lower Hunter River mangroves as we enjoy luncheon and delicious desserts aboard William the Fourth.
WINTER WARMER on the HUNTER
A special journey to the lower Hunter River mangroves as we enjoy soup, damper and delicious desserts aboard William the Fourth.
SUNDAY – Morning Tea on the Harbour
SUNDAY – Afternoon Tea on the Harbour
Purchase a GIFT VOUCHER
The perfect gift for family or friends, or if you can’t choose a cruise date.
Purchase a certificate to the value of one of our cruises. Customised vouchers available on request.
Only $30 For use on all of our harbour cruises.
Only $60 For morning or afternoon tea for 2 adults.
Only $85 For a family of 4 (Children up to 12 yrs)
To redeem a voucher, select your cruise and tickets. Enter the voucher code at CHECKOUT.
As Seen On TV:
TV series ‘The Great Outdoors’ in 1990, showing the replica under steam.
A quick glimpse of the ship at work on Newcastle Harbour in 2019.
William The Fourth begins harbour cruises again
What you can expect on one of our harbour cruises
Some Recent Comments From Delighted Passengers and TripAdvisor Members
William the Fourth is a beautifully re-created historic paddle steamer that is moored in the Honeysuckle Precinct of Newcastle Harbour with plenty of nearby parking. Whilst on board we explored the harbour opening and the various channels and watched cargo ships, tugs and sailing boats pass by.
Strongly recommend to everyone who wishes to have a better understanding of the City of Newcastle.
An excellent way to see the sights of Newcastle Harbour aboard this fully restored historically significant paddle wheel steamer, I would highly recommend this cruise to anyone visiting Newcastle.
Fantastic journey on this historic ship. Whilst the cruise is only approx one and a half hours long, the experience is long lasting. An excellent way of seeing the working port close up
Fabulous cruise on Newcastle harbour and surrounding channels. Wonderful perspective of Newcastle from the water. Crew are great. All ages had a terrific time. A must do experience!
What a terrific day on board a beautiful ship. The harbour experience was fabulous on board this wonderful vessel. Crew were obliging and extremely knowledgeable. We would have return visit any time.
What a fantastic experience. A wonderful enthusiastic crew, and and huge part of Australian history. Step back in time and understand the old steamers and ships. Truly wonderful day 👌🏽
The whole crew were very committed to making sure we had a lovely day as well as keeping us informed of the history of Newcastle as we sailed past each site of interest.
The day turned out to be sunny and the ocean was like a millpond. The crew were very happy and friendly, nothing was too much trouble. They made sure all the Covid rules were abided by.
The High tea was to die for. We had fresh home-made baking at it’s finest. I have had High Tea at Harrods and this was on par. There was even a small card to let everyone know the selections from quiche, scones, Rose cupcake, Lemon Meringue Tart to name but a few.
I would highly recommend that we support this Newcastle venture and bring your friends for a beautiful day out to celebrate a special occasion.
Hours of care and work that goes on behind the scenes obviously pays off. Couldn’t be more proud of the team, my second cruise and still cannot fault a thing xxx
Was a lovely day, weather perfect, crew very informative. Food, packaging and flavours magnificent. Would recommend it to all.
We are a group of five ladies who had a wonderful day on our cruise last Sunday.
Everyone involved was so helpful and went over and above what was required to make the day pretty special.
The kindness to one of our ladies who is suffering from Alzheimer’s was amazing, we are so grateful for this kindness from all the crew on Sunday’s cruise, Thank you.
We can make your next business outing an unforgettable experience!