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The Milpara Station Sheet metal dinghy in 2010.

Milpara Station sheet metal dinghy

Vessel Number: HV000418
Date: 1950s
Previous Owner: Unusual watercraft ,
Dimensions:
Vessel Dimensions: 3.61 m x 1.26 m (11.85 ft x 4.15 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Significance
The Milparra Station Sheet Metal Dinghy is an example of the many regionally built dinghies used on the rivers and lakes of inland Australia. A number of these craft survive, and many were often only taken out for use in times of flood. Along with others of its type, the dinghy uses materials the locals were familiar with and had easy access to, such as sheet metal, rather than using traditional timber materials to build a small vessel. In this case the builders, the Plumbing Section of the Mildura Co-Operative Packing Company (Dried Fruit Division), have used flat, light gauge steel sheet stiffened with wooden sections.
DescriptionMilparra Station purchased this dinghy in the early 1950s, and their records show they paid the Mildura Co-Operative 3 pounds 10 shillings. The sheet metal, galvanised steel sides and bottom were supported by wooden frames and gunwales, and it had a buoyancy tank fitted at the bow and stern. Rivets and solder were used for the sheet metal connections. This basic set of elements was enough for the craft to hold its shape and to be easily repaired, without some of the brackets and knees that would be expected on a dinghy built by a shipwright.

The shape has a fine bow and plenty of beam and this suggests it was created with some influence from typical dinghy designs. The flared topsides over the stern half become more vertical toward the stem, and give the craft an elegant curved sheer profile. However the straight keel line would make the boat uncomfortable in choppy conditions.

The rower sat on a wooden thwart toward midships, and rowlocks and oars were supplied in the price as well. It was built before the floods in 1956, and at that time people were known to have paid 10 pounds for the same type of dinghy.

The dinghy was used to transport goods from Wentworth to the homestead at Milparra, and this would take about half a day. They followed flags tied to the tops of trees to navigate to and from Wentworth.

The craft has remained with Milparra station but in 2010 it is no longer in use.
Vessel Details
Current status:non-operational
Current status:not on display
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:oar
Hull material and construction:steel
Hull shape:chines
Hull shape:flat bottom
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Hull shape:plumb transomvertical transom

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