In 1963 the National Trust of South Australia purchased the Paddle Steamer Marion after being approached by members of the Mannum community to retain this vital piece of maritime history of the Murray River.
A local branch of the National Trust managed the vessel until 1989 when it was recognised that the conservation of the vessel required additional expertise. To fulfil this role the Board of the Mannum Dock Museum was established as a controlling authority of the District Council of Mannum (now Mid-Murray Council). Upon the Board assuming responsibility for the vessel the PS Marion was fully restored and recommissioned in 1994 providing an integral acquisition to develop the current historic facilities and exhibits on offer today at the Mannum Dock Museum.
PS Marion was built at Milang SA and launched as a barge in February 1897. In 1900 she was taken to Echuca and fitted with a steam plant and superstructure for use as a hawking boat on the Darling. During her working life she underwent many changes in ownership and working format. Marion carried cargo, and later cargo and some passengers, eventually carrying passengers only. By this time Marion had accommodation on three decks, a layout she retains to this day. In 1963 the National trust bought Marion and moved her from Berri to Mannum, under her own steam. She then spent over 30 years in Randell Dry Dock as a monument to the grand old days of the river boat era.
An agreed conservation plan between the National Trust and Mannum Dock Museum allowed for her complete restoration. Marion was recommissioned in November 1994 following her restoration by a dedicated team of volunteers who contributed many thousands of hours to the project. She stands now as a testament to their enthusiasm and dedication. PS Marion continues to be maintained and crewed by volunteers.