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Oyster punt

Vessel Number: HV000680
Date: c1960
Dimensions:
Vessel Dimensions: 7.38 m × 2.4 m (24.21 ft × 7.87 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Significance
The wooden, scow-shaped oyster punt in Merimbula was probably built on the NSW South Coast prior to the 1970s. Its rectangular shape represents the functional configuration that was widely used for these craft over many decades and is now replicated in contemporary aluminium vessels that have a wide range of uses in the fishing industry. The craft is built with robust construction and shows a number of details to its assembly that contrast with other recorded oyster punts, including the scow punt HV000558 from Batemans Bay and the skiff shaped punt HV000679 also from Merimbula. It was used for salmon fishing in the Shoalhaven River region before working in the oyster leases in Merimbula from the early 1970s through to 2012 when changes in regulations forced it out of the industry. It is one of the few remaining wooden oyster punts from the 1960s and 1970s period.
DescriptionThe oyster punt has a typical, rectangular scow and barge shape where the bow curves upwards to finish at sheer level with no fashion piece or transom bow plank. The craft is 7.380m long, 2.450 m wide and 670mm high, and the width either by intention or accident fits the regulation trailerable width allowed on Australian roads. It has a straight sheer and bottom profile, and is rectangular in cross section. It is a very large craft, and probably represents the 1940s or later construction. The planking is laid across the hull on the bottom, supported internally by three large stringers. The topsides planking runs fore and aft and is supported by frames. Sections used for these items are quite large, and despite it probably having spent most of its life in the open, many of the items are in good condition, whereas the fastenings are beginning to deteriorate and allow some of the joints to open up.

When compared to the Batemans Bay punt built in the 1970s, this example which was built earlier has heavier scantlings, the joint between the curved bow shape section and the straight bottom section of the stringers is reinforced with an apron piece lapping the two items, and it has a large knee amidships to support the sides and stiffen the structure.

Its background is not well documented. The current owner purchased the punt in the early 1970s from a previous owner in the Tuross region, prior to that it is understood that it had been used as a salmon barge on the Shoalhaven River, and this may have been its original work.

The current owner used it on his oyster lease on Merimbula Lake from the 1970s until 2012 when he retired. It was then sold but the new owner could not use it due to tighter environmental controls affecting vessels and their operation and it was returned it to the current owner.

Vessel Details
Current status:non-operational
Deck layout:open
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:flat bottom
Hull shape:monohull
Motor propulsion:outboard

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