All of Brisbane knows the beautiful Kookaburra River-Queen boats.

But their future is under a cloud, after the two vessels failed to sell at auction yesterday.

Alicia Moo reports.


The paddle wheelers’ owner Jim Kelly is disappointed the vessels were passed in well below the reserve.

But he says the sale was merely an operation changing of hands.

And is determined to ensure locals continue to enjoy using the Kookaburra Queens on Brisbane River.

Jim Kelly, Kookaburra Queens Owner: “Bookings are great, I expect them to be even more busy now. We’ve never said the boats are leaving town.”

When they were launched in the 1980s, the wooden boats were extremely popular now, some fibreglass newcomers are muscling in.

These iconic paddle wheelers are a popular option for special events and cruises. However, councils’ city cats are proving tough competition.

Vox 1: “First of all it’s 10 times cheaper, you can go down and up, you can stop everywhere you want.

Jim Kelly says river operations should become a completey shared zone which could potentially increase business for everyone.

Tourism leaders agree.

Daniel Gschwind, Queensland Tourism Industry Council: “They provide an important service once that’s valued by visitors and they can compliment what other services we have available here.”

There is no doubt about one thing locals love the river “Queens”.

Vox 2: “Well, we just love our river and they’ve got to stay as far as I’m concerned because they just suit it so much.”

Alicia Moo, QUT News.