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The  Lawrence Historical Society's fishing punt

Clarence River fishing punt

Vessel Number: HV000708
Date: 1958
Builder: Rex Dwarte
Vessel Dimensions: 6.5 m × 1.93 m × 0.1 m (21.33 ft × 6.33 ft × 0.33 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
The timber fishing punt from the Clarence River was built in 1958 by Rex Dwarte at Maclean NSW. It represents a typical punt for the region, and probably one of the few left of the many that would have been built for fishing and oyster work along the river and estuary. It is in original condition with evidence of repairs and alterations carried out as part of its working life. It has been in use up until 2010, a period of just over 50 years.
DescriptionThe planked craft is 6.5m long, 1.930m wide and only draws around 100mm . It is planked in Brown Beech Pennantia cunninghamii and framed with spotted gum corymbia maculata with a simple but strong construction. The bottom planks run athwartships and are supported by three girders including the keel on the centreline. The sides are planked fore and aft and has three wide internal stringers. A small number of frames and two thwarts aft give bracing support, and it has a small foredeck. The stem is raked, the bottom and sides are straight in section. As a structure it makes a good comparison with the Merimbula and Pambula built oyster punt HV000679 and the Hervey Bay fishing boat LFB472 HV00472 which both share a similar sharp stem and flat bottom concept, but each has their own distinct construction technique. Its LFB number is partially visible but indistinct for interpretation.

The shape provided stable platform that was able to carry a good load and operate in the shallow regions. The men on board could stand up to cast and retrieve nets comfortably.

It was converted to include an outboard in 1980, but had two rowing stations. Its previous owners were Rex Dwarte, Cooper Wallace and Paul Apps, all on the Clarence River.

It is likely that many craft like this were made and used in the region until they deteriorated to being beyond repair, when they were abandoned and replaced with another simple craft. This example is a rare survivor. In more recent times the aluminium tinnie or punt style of craft has taken over as the vessel of choice, but also commercial net fishing has declined and in many places recreational fishing is the primary occupation now.

Vessel Details
Deck layout:open/foredeck
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:oar
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:flat bottom
Hull shape:monohull
Motor propulsion:outboard

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