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POMPOOTA in 2013


Vessel Number: HV000604
Date: 1908
Vessel Dimensions: 9.75 m x 9.14 m x 2.59 m x 0.61 m (32 ft x 30 ft x 8.5 ft x 2 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
POMPOOTA is a motor launch built around 1908 in South Australia for use by the Lands Department of South Australia as the Paymaster’s boat EL GRECO, supporting workers on the Murray River near Mannum. It was in service for over 30 years and was built as an open boat with a tunnel stern to house the propeller and retain shallow draft for river operation. It has since had superstructure and decking added, but the original hull shape can still be interpreted.
DescriptionPOMPOOTA is 9.75m overall, 2.59m beam and 0.61m draft, carvel planked in jarrah below the waterline and New Zealand kauri above the waterline with copper riveted laminated ribs. Originally it as laid out as an open boat with a small foredeck. Shallow draft was a requirement so that it could come alongside the shore, and it was given a tunnel hull stern allowing the propeller to sit partially inside the hull profile and reduce the draft at the stern.

POMPOOTA’s first engine may have been steam powered based on evidence that includes the remains of numerous inlets and a large 1½” skin fitting right on the keelson at mid ships. The vessel also has very large Oregon timber engine bearers along its whole length bolted in place with heavy bronze bolts. Records show it was fitted with a Richards twin cylinder petrol engine by a later owner.

It was named EL GRECO and built for the Lands Department of South Australia as a sister ship to ALICE and WYCELLA. The builder is thought to have had the surname similar to Beauquett. It was used as the Paymaster’s boat to support workers building levee banks and other irrigation infrastructure for market gardening and dairy farming along the Murray River between Mannum and Wellington, toward he bottom end of the river. The vessel remained in service from 1908 to late 1940.

Under new owners its arrangement evolved from being an open boat to a cabin launch. Dates for the changes remain unclear, but the first cabin was built toward the stern and the original structure can still be seen just behind the side sliding widows on each side, where the two small windows are part of this structure. The front cabin, hatch, stairs and bow railing are more recent additions.

The hull has retained the partial tunnel around the propeller and is currently fitted with a 12 ½” diameter prop with 9” pitch. The current engine is a 4 cylinder 48 HP Perkins diesel and gives POMPOOTA a maximum cruising speed of 10.5 kmh.

The current owners now use POMPOOTA for short trips mainly around Lake Alexandrina and the Coorong waters and occasional trips along the Murray River upstream from Milang and Goolwa.

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Current status:operational
Deck layout:cabin
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:launch deadwood
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV

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