The Weekend Australian - Travel - - DESTINATION AFLOAT -

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

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