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Dame Edith Walker's Rowing Skiff on display at the Wharf 7 Heritage Centre Pyrmont Sydney in 2007

Dame Eadith Walker's Rowing Skiff

Vessel Number: HV000411
Date: 1895
Builder: Harry Ward
Dimensions:
Vessel Dimensions: 7.62 m x 1.28 m x 0.43 m (25 ft x 4.2 ft x 1.4 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Significance
This clinker rowing skiff was built for the Walker Estate around 1895 by Harry Ward in Neutral Bay. It was used by Dame Eadith Walker whose father Thomas Walker was well known in Sydney at this time. The craft has a long asociation with the Parramatta River where it was used by her and a subsequent owner.
DescriptionDame Eadith Walker inherited her father's estate and became well known as a philanthropist who worked tirelessly to support various causes. She was a keen supporter of women's rowing and a keen oarswoman. She used the skiff for rowing excursions on the Parramatta River, starting out from the estate's prominent homestead Yaralla, situated near Concord on the southern shoreline of the River.

Dame Eadith died in 1937 and the skiff was acquired by JR McQueen who rowed with the Balmain Rowing Club. The next owner was JR Nix from the Pittwater region, who donated it to the Sydney Heritage Fleet in the 1980s.

It is a typical cedar-planked clinker hull with light, moderately spaced frames and is styled very closely after the Thames wherry or waterman's boat from the United Kingdom, a type that was also introduced on many Australian waterways where it suited local protected water conditions. The low freeboard proportions would not be usable on the Harbour except in relatively calm conditions, but it was an ideal craft for the Parramatta River. It has two sets of sliding seats for rowers and has sufficient beam to do without outriggers, while the passenger sat aft with a wicker-backed seat. A hand-held parasol would afford the passenger shade.

Vessel Details
Current status:inside building
Current status:on public display
Deck layout:open
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:oar
Hull material and construction:clinkerglued lapstrakelapstrake
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging stem
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Related materials:references

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