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Vessel Number: HV000305
Date: 1914
Vessel Dimensions: 18.8 m, 31 tonnes (61.68 ft, 30.5 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
MV BEARDMORE is the only survivor of three similar sugar cane barge tugs that operated on the Clarence River in northern New South Wales from 1912 until water transportation of cane ceased in 1975. BEARDMORE (1914) operated alongside two sister vessels AJAX and MARATAMA which have not survived. BEARDMORE remains in its original condition and shows the typical arrangement of these tugs.
DescriptionBuilt at Harwood in northern NSW in 1914 by J G Pashley and Sons, who came from Sydney, BEARDMORE is carvel planked in local hardwoods. It is heavily constructed with large rubbing strakes to guard against continual wear from shunting barges and coming alongside wharves. The original deck planking was pine, but this was replaced with hardwood covered by malthoid, a combination that has survived with minor repairs.

BEARDMORE, AJAX and MARATAMA belonged to the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (CSR) and BEARDMORE remained in service until the Harwood mill transferred cane transport from river to road at the end of the 1975 crushing season.

The name BEARDMORE was taken from the make of the vessel's original semi-diesel engine. The Beardmore engine was started by the use of a blow lamp to create a hotspot and former rivermen recall that it was kept running for days because of the difficulty of starting it again, should it stop. The engine had a distinctive loud sound which identified the tug's river passage to people for miles around. The engine was later replaced with a Gardner diesel.

The Harwood mill on the Clarence River is Australia's oldest sugar mill and began operating in 1870, when cane was brought to the mill from properties along the river using heavily laden barges towed by the company tugs.

After it was retired from service BEARDMORE was used for general transport by the Nungera Aboriginal Cooperative. In 1987 the vessel was acquired by the Maclean District Historical Society, thanks to the foresight of the Society's President, John Wells and Hon. Solicitor, Peter Bartley. The Harwood mill management agreed to put the vessel on public display as a reminder of the role played by river transport in the cane industry. BEARDMORE was located adjacent to the mill's car park on the Clarence River at Harwood.

Mr O K Short, ex tug-master of the mill fleet, devoted two years of work to the restoration and preservation of the vessel once it was taken over by the Maclean District Historical Society. After his death a committee was formed to maintain the craft and it was moved to a nearby shed for further work.
Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:on public display
Deck layout:cabin
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:launch deadwood
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
ships:Byzantine ships:ships:ship:wheelhouse

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