Brisbane’s most famous tugboat ‘Forceful’ is being reopened to the public next month for the first time in years. And Maritime Museum volunteers, like spritely Madelaine Blythe, are looking forward to a new chapter in Queensland’s history.

Susan Li reports.


90-year-old Madelaine has a special place in her heart for this historic tugboat.

Her father was one of the original crew on Forceful when it first travelled the Brisbane River.

Madelaine, Volunteer: “My association is very personal because I’ve known it all my life.”

But Madelaine has worried the tug was falling into disrepair.

Madelaine, Volunteer: “This ship is so much part of the development of Brisbane that worries me that it’s not recognised.”

Now that’s all set to change with the Maritime Museum offering new tours of the historic boat to show a new generation.

Peter Nunan, Researcher: “Number one, it’s one of the last coal fired steam ships left in Australia. Number two, it’s Queensland and it worked most of its life in the Brisbane River and it’s part of hour shipping history.”

Forceful played an important role in the development of Queensland and Brisbane.

It’ll be maintained as a floating exhibit at the wharf because the cost of maintaining her sea-worthiness is too expensive.

During World War Two, this beautiful lady of the river served as a rescue vessel for aircraft and crews returning from bombing missions.

Now she’s entering a new phase as a tourist attraction.

Susan Li, QUT News.