Thursday, March 31, 2016

Paynesville 1905-ish. Fishing boats coming in

Despite this blog already being stretched across too many areas of content and interest, I can't resist these occasional delvings into the local history of boats- and working boats in particular.

The photo above is from Paynesville maybe 1905-ish, maybe earlier, but I still sail alongside boats that come from this era, and our boat was 30 odd years old when this pic was taken, and I can't help wanting to get inside this thing- whatever it is- that has persisted here for so long...and also to understand a little how it is that the local traditions are so unknown in the rest of the country.

I hope that any remaining readers will see how this picture differs so little from some of my recent postings. The persistence of these types even in small numbers is a celebration of the fact that the pioneers here took what worked from various immigrant traditions, and what worked then to earn a living is still a very suitable vehicle for exploring the lakes.

The four boats pictured are luggers. The one on the left is incredibly similar to Queen Mary, recently featured, the second one along has a canoe stern, and all four have those top strakes I mentioned in several recent posts.

These, of course were fishing boats. During this period there were already more lavish boats around here built on North American styles, to be used by the wealthy land owners for recreation. I will try to assemble some pictures of that type in another post. Our boat 'Beachcomber' was neither just a fishing boat nor only a recreational one.

It began it's working life as a transport and supply boat with picnic and social visiting benefits. During it's middle years though it was well known in the district as a sort of farm truck. I have spoken to a man locally who remembers Beachcomber fondly in the 1930's being 'sailed by Freddy Barton in all weathers', and he particularly remembers 'the boat full of sheep and also goats as Freddy transported his stock from island to island' near Sperm Whale Head. My informant tells me he lost contact with Beachcomber after 1946, and that was probably because she went to another family nearer Bairnsdale, probably until her restoration.

This line drawing is of the canoe stern type in the top picture. Both images were sourced from the Paynesville Maritime Museum.

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