The Wandering Jew started life in 1866 as an iron paddle steamer, originally called Riverina, built by J. Duncan and Partner in Echuca. She had a turbulent life and was burnt out on three recorded occasions! On the 2nd April 1883, the vessel was burnt to the waterline. Subsequently rebuild and re-registered by November 1890, the vessel was renamed “Wandering Jew”, after her former Jewish owner, a Mr Burger.
The “Jew” as she was known, held the record from Walgett to Brewarrina and back, loaded both ways, a trip of 5 and a half days. An average load of wool on the Wandering Jew was 27 tons, with barges sometimes carrying up to an additional 80 tons. The Wandering Jew is recorded as the last steamer to reach Walgett in 1912.