An oar in the Australian bush carpentry style

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Australian bush carpentry oar

Australian bush carpentry oar Australian bush carpentry oar Australian bush carpentry oar

An oar, and a fine example of Australian bush carpentry, says Jeff Cole

Jeff Cole sails an Iain Oughtred MacGregor canoe and occasionally sends us photos from his wonderful and growing collection of yachting photos from the 19th and early 20th centuries. What’s less obvious is that he also has an interesting line in collecting items of old Australian bush carpentry.

Here’s what he says about the oar in the photo above:

‘This is a vernacular creation, bush carpentry at its most basic, an oar that seems old but it’s hard to tell – but very collectible.

‘I found it on the woodheap at a Mallee (sandy desert without water) clearing sale. The closest water is an irrigation channel, next to the Murray river. It’s six feet long, and made of wood, with iron spikes, some cotton sash cord, a little rubberised canvas, nails and red paint.

‘The roughly shaped triangular “blades” of the oar fixed by iron rod roughly peened over and in some cases using triangular galvanised “roves”. It’s absolutely out of balance, but a prize for my collection nevertheless!


Thanks Jeff – now that’ll give all those home boatbuilders something to think about!

For more of Jeff’s contributions, click here.

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