A LITTLE FLIGHT READING
PS Marion went on regular summer cruises until 1963, when she was bought by the National Trust, which maintained her for more than 30 years as part of the static Mannum Dock Museum. In 1989, it was decided to restore PS Marion to full operation. After a long and thorough restoration, she was recommissioned in 1994. She is based at Mannum on the Murray River in South Australia. More: psmarion.com.
Simon Griffiths (Lantern, $39.99)
More than half a million Australians are registered boat owners. Then there’s the rest of us, who wait hopefully for an invitation to join a sailing party at the weekend or over the summer holidays. Ah, a watched phone never rings, but in the meantime Simon Griffiths’s new book Boat promises vicarious pleasure. Photographer Griffiths has a wonderful eye for composition and presentation; he has worked on books with garden designer Paul Bangay, and this is his third solo effort, after Shack and Shed.
“(Boats) speak of humanity’s fascination with the water and of our love for adventure, travel and freedom,” he writes. Feel the sea spray or smell the gums of the Murray River in chapters covering row, sail, motor and steam boats. And then take a peek inside the heritage-listed shed of C Blunt Boatbuilders in Williamstown, Melbourne, now operated by fifthgeneration craftsman Greg Blunt. A glossary gives a lowdown on boatie terms, for when that phone rings.
This boat started life as a six-oared jolly boat aboard the larger SL Leprena, a 110ft schooner built to take timber from Recherche Bay in the southeastern corner of Tasmania to Hobart. She was built by Purdon and Featherstone in 1922 and is clinker-built in King Billy pine. She is 16ft long. In 1925, the original schooner was wrecked just north of Eddystone Point, on a rock later named Leprena Rock. The jolly boat was then fitted with a petrol engine and used for many years for fishing at Recherche Bay. SL Leprena jolly boat was restored in 1998 by Bart Hutchings, who also built and fitted the Cleveland Dolphin steam engine and C&M Wear wood-fired fire tube boiler. Andrew Perkins bought SL Leprena in 2012 and restored her, converting her to run on biomass or wood pellets. She is now truly a steam launch of the 21st century, as wood pellets are 100 per cent renewable, a non-fossil fuel and a sustainable energy source.
Editor’s note: SY stands for steam yacht; PS is for paddle steamer; SL is for steam launch.
This is an edited extract from Boat by Simon Griffiths (Lantern, $39.99).
PS Emmylou, above, and SL Leprena, above left