49. S.S. D.A. Thomas wheelshaft

49 - wheelshaft


Peace River Museum, Archives and Mackenzie Centre

The S.S. D.A. Thomas was the largest steamer on the Peace River. It was built and launched from the West Peace Shipyard, May 31, 1916, at the request of Lord Rhondda, David Alfred Thomas, a Welsh coal magnate for whom the vessel was named. She was to transport oil and coal from the Peace Country. No expense was spared – this $119,000 (1916 amount) investment had electricity and hot and cold running water in each of its 30 staterooms. It is thought the boat could hold as many as 300 passengers. The Hudson’s Bay Company eventually acquired the S.S. D.A. Thomas to haul passengers and freight from Hudson’s Hope to Vermilion Chutes some 800 kilometres. Due to several mishaps and shifting sandbars, the boat was retired in 1930 and sent north to be scrapped. In the 1980s, the wheelshaft was recovered and installed on the museum grounds.