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The Yukon River Sternwheeler Tyrrell

by Murray Lundberg

Northern Ships and Shipping

The information on the Tyrrell that follows is simply a cut-and-paste from my database, compiled from a wide variety of sources, primarily the White Pass & Yukon Route corporate records (COR 722) at the Yukon Archives and newspapers including the Klondike Nugget (KN).
  • C.S.Reg. #107159 [107157?]
  • steel and wood sternwheeler; 142 feet long, with 30.2 foot beam and 4.8 foot hold. Gross tonnage 678.26, registered as 408.08 tons.
  • powered by a pair of horizontal high-pressure steam engines built in 1898 by Polson Iron Works; the cylinders had 16 inch diameter and 72 inch stroke, developing 17 NHP.
  • 1898, built at Vancouver by J. M. Bulger, for the Canadian Pacific Steam Navigation Company. Built for service on the Stikine River, but never worked there. Believed to have been named for Joseph Burr Tyrrell, famous Canadian Arctic explorer and geologist.
  • September 1898, with the J.P.LIGHT, owned by the British American Company (KN,Sept.10). Note several discrepancies in the ownership of the boat in subsequent years.
  • September 6, 1898, arrived at Dawson for the first time, with 125 tons of freight (MacBride). She had taken 22 days from St.Michael, accompanied by the J.P.LIGHT (KN, Sept.10).
  • ca. September 1898, to evade the law which closed the saloons from midnight Saturday until 2AM Monday, 368 people, "largely gamblers, dance hall girls and theatrical men" boarded the BONANZA KING for a trip into U.S. waters; another 100 were on the TYRRELL. One of the boats ran out of fuel, and another had engine trouble, but the party was a huge success (Berton).
  • n.d., bought by the Northern Navigation Company (MacBride).
  • operated on the lower river run.
  • May 31, 1899, ad in The Klondike Nugget
  • 1900, bought by Edward M. Sullivan of Dawson (Affleck).
  • 1900, excellent photo of her under steam in Cohen,p.23.
  • ca. 1901, a steam cylinder, weighing 2,800 pounds, was cast by the new MacDonald Iron Works Company of Dawson; it was their largest work ever (A.S.Allen).
  • 1901-1902, owned by the Dawson-White Horse Navigation Company (with the LIGHTNING and J.P.LIGHT).
  • owned at one time by the British-American Corp. (with the LIGHTNING and J.P.LIGHT), she was bought by the White Pass in July 1900.
  • 1903, Edward Sullivan sold a half-interest to Thomas William O'Brien of Dawson (Affleck).
  • ca. 1903-1907, part ownership bought by Hector Allen Stewart, Otto Frederick Kastner and John Macauley Carson (Affleck).
  • 1905-1906, wintered at Dawson slough; being operated by Holme Miller. Diagram of winter at YA map H-2321.
  • 1907, bought by Eben McAdam, who resold her to the British Yukon Navigation Company (Affleck).
  • 1907-1908, wintered at the Dawson Shipyards (COR722).
  • 1915-1916, wintered on the ways at Dawson (COR722)
  • winters from 1928-1932, at the Dawson shipyards.
  • abandoned in the slough down river from Dawson now known as the "Sternwheeler Graveyard".
  • 1932, dismantled.
  • 1943, an assessment of the steel hull showed some corroded plates, "dinges" which needed to be straightened, and rivets to renew (Gaudin).


  • the Tyrrell on the Yukon River, 1900, by Anton Vogee (YA #243)
  • the Tyrrell and Emma Nott at Dawson, by H.J. Woodside, May 17, 1913 (YA #592)