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FAIRY QUEEN at Goolwa Wooden Boat Festival in 2011.

Fairy Queen

Vessel Number: HV000524
Date: 1910-20
Dimensions:
Vessel Dimensions: 11.58 m x 11.58 m x 2.59 m x 0.61 m (38 ft x 38 ft x 8.5 ft x 2 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Significance
FAIRY QUEEN is a riverboat from the lower Murray River and Lake Alexandrina waterways in South Australia that has been associated with the region for about a century. Thought to have been built between 1910 and 1920, its early use was as a gaff rigged fishing boat. However from the early 1930s under the ownership of local identity Hector Semaschko the launch became a feature in the region, and remains strongly connected to Semaschko and his stories.
DescriptionFAIRY QUEEN’s early history is not well recorded and the understanding from local people is that boat was built in the lower Murray region somewhere between 1910 and 1920. It was used as a gaff rigged fishing boat, about 8.5 metres long with a typical plumb stem and shallow, 600mm draft, well suited to work around Lake Alexandrina and the Coorong.

Polish fisherman Hector Semaschko purchased the boat in 1931 and lived on board from the 1950s for about 40 years until his death in 1995. Often referred to as the "Old Man of the Lakes" , after his passing a wharf was named after him, just across the train tracks from the Goolwa Railway Station.

Hector moved permanently to Goolwa after the completion of the barrages in 1940, and went fishing all around the area. FAIRY QUEEN holds the record for catching 7.5 tonne of mulloway from the lakes.

Using FAIRY QUEEN as his workboat, Hector did maintenance and construction work on the river installations and channel markers, and whenever someone needed a particular boat towed or a boat was going through the Murray mouth to or from the sea, Hector generally was there to guide them. He even took on the task of dragging for drowned bodies in that vicinity.

Part of the FAIRY QUEEN’s varied history included being lengthened about 3 metres by Hector in the 1950s and then converted it into his river home.

The current owners purchased FAIRY QUEEN after Hector's death. In their words "we're just custodians of this boat and it really reflects Hector's old character and his old ways…”

They have retained the living arrangements, and exterior character of the boat, along with the engine, an old Fordson 38 horsepower tractor engine. FAIRY QUEEN has been ideal for cruising the shallow waters of the Coorong and it has been back up the Murray as far as Morgan .

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:operational
Deck layout:cabin
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:launch deadwood
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Propeller:single

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