The PS ‘Ozone’ was a paddle steamer, built in Glasgow, Scotland in 1886. She could exceed 17 kts and is regarded as one of the finest paddle steamers ever built . Commissioned by the Bay Excursion Steamer Company Ltd., she was to be the first of this company’s paddle steamers to traverse Port Phillip Bay. She was to be joined by the PS ‘Hygeia’ in 1890, and the large and fast PS ’‘Weeroonain 1910. She was sleek and beautiful at 260 ft (79 m) in length, 28 ft (8.5 m) in width, 11.2 ft (3.4 m) in depth; and, weighed in at 572 tons gross (241 tons net). She featured a green hull, a white upper structure, topped by two orange funnels. Her three decks contained a dining room, bars, a ladies’ salon and many luxuries – all of which were lit with the new, just invented, electric light. She could carry up to 1,600 passengers.
She earned the nickname “The Greyhound of Port Phillip” because of her speed. The era of the bay steamers was also the era of trade picnics. Companies would charter the PS ‘Ozone’, or one of the other bay steamers, so that the employees could enjoy a day on the bay. For many, especially the children, this was the highlight of the year.
Competitions between the rival ships and the companies which owned them was popular. In 1888, the famous race on Port Phillip Bay took place between the Bay Steamers Ltd. propeller-driven ‘Courier’ and the paddle-driven ‘Ozone’. The PS ‘Ozone’ was stripped, cleaned and put back into racing trim by her owners and easily won.
. In 1918, the
was withdrawn from service. She was sold to George Hill & Company, who stripped all the fittings c 1925 and put them up for auction. Stripped of everything but the paddle wheels and boilers, the hulk was finally sold to Captain W.G. Forbes to be sunk as a breakwater at Indented Head in October 1925. The plan to sink the PS ‘Ozone’ end-on to the shore became unstuck when a fierce north-easterly wind caused her to slew parallel to the shore – she stuck fast in the shallow water. A few years after her scuttling, fire broke out and destroyed what was left of her. For many years, all that could be seen above the water were the tops of her three after boilers and her paddle wheels which were used by many holidaying children as jumping and diving platforms during the summer months. Below the surface, her rusting remains provide an artificial reef for the many and varied fish to find a home.
Today, only the skeleton of a paddle wheel and sections of the old structure are visible
Excerpts from POI Australia website . . .