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Lester

Vessel Number: HV000364
Date: 1890--1900
Dimensions:
Vessel Dimensions: 5.69 m x 1.62 m x 0.53 m (18.66 ft x 5.33 ft x 1.75 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Significance
LESTER is a rowing skiff used on the Georges River New South Wales as a recreational craft for the Coombes family for more than sixty years - from 1930 until the mid 1990s. It is thought to have been built earlier than 1930 because it has the shape and construction typical of a Sydney Harbour waterman's skiff from the late 1890s. The waterman's skiffs were developed from the Thames wherrys and skiffs in the UK. The type was commonly used as a recreational boat by people with a waterfront access to rivers or enclosed waters.
DescriptionLESTER was bought second-hand by William Coombes who lived at Grays Point on the Georges River in 1930. It is 5.7 metres long, and clinker planked in Australian cedar. This construction, along with the narrow transom and easy rowing lines very closely resemble the waterman's skiff type, used into the early 1900s as passenger craft on the Harbour and many other waterways. It is therefore quite possible the craft was built some years before Coombes bought it.

The family used LESTER for more than sixty years. Coombes' daughter, Noelene, kept it on the river at Grays Point after she married, and named it LESTER, a combination of her children's names, Lesley and Peter.

Early in the 1930s it was fitted out for sailing. Just prior to World War II it was fitted with a Chapman Pup engine to become a simple motor launch. In the 1960s the exterior of the hull was fibreglassed.

In 1994 Noelene and her husband Tom Squires donated the craft to the Sydney Heritage Fleet where it now forms part of their collection of historic Sydney water craft. The engine was removed at an unknown date and it returned to being a rowing skiff.
Vessel Details
Current status:non-operational
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:oar
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:round bottom
Motor propulsion:inboard
Hull shape:other
Rig type:other

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