A well-travelled skiff

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Venus the well-travelled skiff in Victoria

Venus, a well-travelled Thames-style skiff spotted in Australia by Jeff Cole

Lest we get too doomy, and serious I’ve decided to post this photo of an 1880s single-scull Thames-style skiff hanging in a country nursery at Victoria, Australia. Jeff Cole, who spotted and photographed Venus for us, says the story is that she was imported from Scotland, and was built by the nursery owner’s great-grandfather.

It’s clearly very well-travelled for a small river boat. I wonder what the rest of the story may be – did a River Thames boatbuilder move to Scotland? Did a Scot learn boatbuilding on the banks of the Thames? Or was great-grandfather an amateur who worked from a book? Or were skiffs of this kind far more widespread in the last 19th century than we tend to think?

Whatever the answer, the boat in the photo looks very much like the one shown in this earlier intheboatshed.net post.

Once again, my thanks go to Jeff Cole. To see some earlier material he has sent us, including some mouthwatering shots of early 20th century racing yachts, click here.

For some photos of later skiffs with rather more sheer at Ruswarp on the River Esk in Yorkshire, click here.

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