Model, Log Punt ; 1979; 2014/007


Wauchope Museum


Model, Log Punt

About this object

This model of a log punt made by Frank Little in 1979 represents a vessel that was integral to the success of the timber industry on the coastal rivers of the Mid North Coast. Once a common sight, such vessels are no longer found on our waterways.

Log punts were the most functional vessels for the job of moving logs across water. Propelled by paddle wheels and with shallow draught they could access shallower and more remote parts of the river where roads were non existent. Their square cut bows were run up to the bank for the often dangerous task of loading the logs. At times the banks of rivers were piled with logs awaiting transport to mill wharves downstream at Wauchope and Hibbard.

Though rustic in construction, the model mirrors descriptions of these vessels, variously described as ‘ungainly’, ‘misshapen’ and ‘emitting horrid groanings and wheezings’. These plain, utilitarian vessels were not built for speed or beauty. They were essentially a floating platform capable of navigating shallow waters while transporting enormous loads.

Made by a farmer from Rollands Plains who no doubt saw these vessels regularly plying the Hastings and Maria Rivers this is not a professional scale model of a river vessel, yet its very naivety tells a story. His inclusion of logs across the deck and four hand carved dogs and two axes on the foredeck remind us that our river was a colourful place; a highway full of everyday workers going about the business of moving goods, produce and people.

Frank held these memories in sufficient esteem to recreate this log punt in a three dimensional form some thirty years after they disappeared from the scene.

Mary Wagg
22 June 2014

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