IT was expected and it became inevitable, but the final destruction of another piece of Tasmanian maritime history was still a tragedy.
The remains of the river trading ketch the Enterprise were broken up last week, with the excavators pausing only to allow final photos and a digital record of its lines to be taken.
The 107-year old craft was the last remaining ketch of its kind — a modified version of the New Zealand trading scows — built by renowned Tasmanian boatbuilder Charles Lucas at the Battery Point yard of Purdon and Featherstone.
The 18.9m Enterprise was designed to carry logs from Channel and riverside anchorages to Hobart for milling, and later carried timber for packing cases from all over southern Tasmania and the East Coast.
In the 1950s it was converted to serve a necessary task as a carrier of so-called night soil, before sewerage and septic tanks came to Hobart suburbs.
It was later laid up in Prince of Wales Bay before being sold to the Sea Life Centre at Bicheno and put ashore as a static maritime exhibit on the waterfront.
Over the years there were suggestions on restoring it in the same way as the shining example of the trading ketch May Queen.
There was plenty of talk but no financially viable plans put forward and eventually the owners had to decide on breaking it up when it became a safety hazard.
Tasmania’s maritime heritage coordinator Peta Knott was among the crowd watching the ketch broken u.
‘‘I was on site at Bicheno for final photographs and watched the masts coming off . . . I couldn’t bear to stay to watch the hull being destroyed,’’ she said.
‘‘It is obviously too late to save this historic vessel, but there are many others out there that can still be rescued from the chainsaw and excavator.
‘‘Currently there is no protective legislation for historic vessels that are on land or afloat.’’
But Knott said if the boat had been under water it would have been protected by the Historic Shipwrecks Act of 1976.
Knott said the Maritime Museum of Tasmania had digitally recorded the lines and construction of the Enterprise and this would later be online.
Many items from the boat were expected to become parts of the museum’s and private collections.
SAD END: The destruction of the historic 107-year-old ketch Enterprise