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Vessel Number: HV000221
Date: 1912
Vessel Dimensions: 21.94 m x 5.18 m x 0.61 m (72 ft x 17 ft x 2 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
DART was built in 1912 in South Australia at the port of Goolwa. It is one of the few surviving examples of a typical barge towed by paddle steamers working on the Murray and Darling River system. It now has a close association with the paddle steamer OSCAR W which may well have towed it in the 1920s. Until recently it remained operational and was then probably the last operational barge in the region. It is currently waiting to be restored to go back into operation.
DescriptionThe barge DART was built in 1912 in Goolwa (1850 -1919) for the Engineering & Water Services Department of South Australia to assist with lock building and other works along the River Murray. DART is 22 m (72 ft) long and 5.2 m (17 ft) wide, with a composite hull featuring red gum planking on the bottom and riveted iron topsides, on angle iron frames. It is believed to be named after William Dart who worked on the vessel's construction, according to Ronald Parsons in his book 'Ships of the Inland'. David Low Milne is also known to have worked as a builder on this barge.

DART was towed by paddle steamers and used by the Department as a pile driving barge, complete with a vertical boiler, steam engine, winch and pile driving derrick. It is quite possible that for some work it was towed by OSCAR W (HV000218) when both were owned by the South Australian Government at the same time. Later it was used to freight cargo but its history from then is largely unknown until the 1990s.

DART was repaired in the 1990s to accompany the paddle steamer OSCAR W on voyages along the Murray River and has taken part in historic re-enactments. The two vessels are a strong reminder of how the river was the highway for commerce for decades before railways and roads. In 1999/2000 DART was transformed into a film set as TINGALLA ROSE and starred in the children's TV series 'Chuck Finn'.

In 2000 a structure was added temporarily, in the form of 'piles' to evoke its past working life. This structure was used to house a photographic display for the Centenary of Federation Celebrations. In 2001 DART was towed by OSCAR W to Mildura taking part in the filming of 'Source to Sea'.

In 2011 DART is stored out of the water beside the Hindmarsh Bridge and adajcent to the Goolwa Wharf where the PS OSCAR operates from. It is waiting on further restooration and repairs before it can be refloated to continue working with PS OSCAR.

Prepared from research material published at
Vessel Details
Current status:floating
Deck material and construction:steel/iron
Hull material and construction:iron
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:canoe stern/double endedDE
Hull shape:flat bottom
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Hull shape:round bottom
Deck layout:other
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:other
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:other
Current status:museum vessel

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