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The Flood Boat showing its original condition

Millers Forest Flood Boat

Vessel Number: HV000687
Previous Owner: Maitland Council ,
Vessel type: Flood boats
Dimensions:
Vessel Dimensions: 6.71 m (22 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Significance
Millers Forest flood boat No. 11 was probably built in the 1920s when four boats of similar make were provided by Maitland City Council for flood relief work in the region around the Hunter River. The builder is not recorded, however its story through part of its use is well documented by a member of the Clark family who provided two captains for the craft during its service in the region. It is an original, intact example of clinker built flood boat which is a type that featured many variants throughout the country.
DescriptionThe flood boat is planked in beech, the frames, keel and gunwale are spotted gum, the knees are ti-tree and there is a copper strip along the keel. It has six thwarts and is completely open. Over the years it has had repairs and changes in colour scheme, but the shadow line of the No 11 is visible in the overlaying paint on one side, helping confirm its identification.

Brian Clark from Morpeth was able to identify the boat and provide some additional background. Brian was born in 1942, and both his grandfather Stan Clark, and his father Leo Clark, were captains of the Millers Forest flood boat.
The Clark family lived near the place where the boat was kept at Millers Forest, which is on the western shoreline of the Hunter River, opposite Heatherbrae and Raymond Terrace. The boat was stored on log rollers in a shed at Tim Corbett’s farm at the corner of Woodbury Road and Raymond Terrace Road. This was about 1 kilometre from the river, and Scotch Creek feeds into the river at this point. When the river came up, the water came across low lying ground from the river to the shed at Corbett’s farm, allowing the boat to be launched. To manoeuvre the boat to the river required knowledge of the paddock and property fence lines.

At only seven years old, Brian with his older brother Kevin used the boat when delivering bread to outlying properties in the Millers Forest district during the 1949 flood. At that time, Brian says that there was a small deck in the bow, the boat was Brunswick green on the outside and white on the inside. It was water tight at all times, despite not being in the water regularly.

The boat was not used in the 1955 flood because the river came up so quickly that the shed was under water before the boat could be reached. The Clark family were rescued from the roof of their house by a surfboat crew from Stockton. The family association with the flood boat ended when the family moved in to Raymond Terrace.

Further research is needed to confirm when it was retired. It was eventually located in Morpeth with their historical society and museum, and no longer in use. The Newcastle Maritime Museum acquired the craft in 2014 and have stabilised the vessel before attempting remedial work to bring the hull back into shape where it has been deformed. It will then provide an excellent display of the original construction and layout.

Vessel Details
Current status:non-operational
Current status:not on display
Deck layout:open
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:oar
Hull material and construction:clinkerglued lapstrakelapstrake
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder

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