Volunteer wooden boat restorers at Goolwa, on Australia’s Murray Lakes

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Armfield slip, on the Murray Lakes

Boats at the Armfield slip, close to Goolwa

This picture came from our very good friend and supporter Jeff Cole. Here’s what he said about it:

‘This is Armfield Slip, the base of a volunteer wooden boat restoration organisation in the original buildings of the Armfield family of boatbuilders.

‘The organisation teaches techniques and builds and restores boats. The example under the lean-to is a station supply and ‘picnic’ boat from a property on the River Murray. She’s now restored and fully operational, and I rode in her at the last Goolwa Wooden Boat Festival.

‘The open boat in the foreground is a ships boat from HMSAS Protector of 1884, the only ship in the South Australian Colonial Navy. She had a long history including deployment to China with the Aussie contingent to the Boxer Rebellion. (see link below) There are plans to replicate the ships boat as it is beyond restoration.

‘There are several boats on the lake that the Armfield group have restored, and a local schools boatbuilding programme is very active, financed in part by raffling a boat they build at each festival. The current project is a large yacht.

‘The lower Murray Lakes face permanent acidification because of the long-term drying of the Murray catchment and the over-allocation of what water there is. The resulting ecological disaster overtaking the Murray’s drought-ravaged lower lakes has hit home, and it was recently confirmed that they could be deliberately flooded with seawater: South Australian Water Security Minister Karlene Maywald said opening barriers to let in the sea was an option that could be considered this year.

That fact that the action is even being thought about Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert underlines the severity of the crisis in the Murray’s lower reaches.’ Read more here. The river will probably look totally different at the next Festival, if it goes ahead.’

Thanks Jeff – as always we’re grateful for your photos and explanations.

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Jeff Cole chips in with another tin boat

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Australian galvanised boat

Australian tin boat, probably used by a farmer on or around the Murray River

While we’re on the twin subjects of Antipodean boats and tin boats, Jeff C has neatly combined the two with this photo of an extraordinary Australian tin boat.

Here’s what Jeff says about it:

‘This pic was taken at a garden show. The boat was borrowed from a farmer on the Murray River. It’s from the 1940s at least, and maybe earlier, he thought. It looks like a proprietary item but I couldn’t find an ID, but it’s Aussie Gal Iron. It weighs a ton! Farmers used this sort of thing in Redgum to transport sheep. There’s plenty of floatation, but she’d be a slow row!’

Once again, many thanks Jeff!