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Gladstone Rowing Skiff

Vessel Number: HV000465
Previous Owner: The Kings School ,
Vessel type: Gladstone skiff
Dimensions:
Vessel Dimensions: 5.79 m x 0.71 m x 0.3 m (19 ft x 2.33 ft x 1 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Significance
The Gladstone Rowing Skiff was built by George Towns and Sons in Sydney in the 1930s or 1940s. It is one of the Gladstone Skiff class training single sculls or skiffs, common to Sydney and NSW for many decades in the 20th century. Towns was an important builder from the 1920s to 1960s, and well known for many different types of scull and shell. The skiff is in original condition with only minor repairs to wear and tear from its time being used for training by boys from the Kings School.
DescriptionThe Gladstone Rowing Skiff's hull is 5.79m long and clinker planked in Queensland cedar with four strakes, roved with copper fastenings. The light hardwood frames are spaced on 225 mm (9 in) centres, and a number of them are doubled. It has a sliding seat, footrest, shoes and outriggers, and the high-sided hull is completely open. These proportions formed a strong and stable hull for training purposes. It has a similar construction to the larger watermen's skiffs, but is double-ended rather than having a transom.

The Gladstone Skiff was a type understood to have been first built by Tom Stratton in Stockton Newcastle in the 1870s. He named it after WE Gladstone, a UK Prime Minister on four separate occasions from 1868 to 1894. It became widely used as a training skiff in NSW as it featured a modest beam for good stability. The type was still in use for club training in the 1970s and these were a plywood construction in contrast to their planked clinker hull. In 2011 several other examples are known to exist in private ownership.

This skiff was built by George Towns at his Gladesville shed on the Parramatta River for the Kings School and was sculled by the boys from their shed further up Parramatta River. Towns was a former world professional champion sculler. The school used it for about 30 years and then donated it to the Sydney Heritage Fleet in 1983.

Alex McCormick was a pupil at Kings and recalls rowing the scull.

" I actually sculled this skiff a few times at the rowing shed of TKS when I was there from 1944 to 1947 . The highest I got in rowing was stroke of the 2nd Four . During the lunch break on the weekends we would line up to take turns at rowing the Gladstone"

Vessel Details
Current status:non-operational
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:canoe stern/double endedDE
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:round bottom

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