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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

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