Punt Boom Gate Mechanism and Pulley Wheel ; c1937
Punt Boom Gate Mechanism and Pulley WheelAbout this object
The refurbished boom gate mechanism and pulley wheel from the old Tinonee punt are reminders of the many punts and ferries in operation on the Mid North Coast before the bridging of the area’s major rivers.
The Tinonee punt crossed the Manning River from Tinonee to Taree Estate carrying vehicles and passengers from 1860 until its closure in 1949. The opening of the Martin Bridge at Taree in 1940 and associated re-routing of the Pacific Highway lead to decreased use of the Tinonee punt and to its ultimate demise.
The Tinonee punt boom gate was erected after a tragic accident in 1937 when four visitors to the region travelling by car at night drove straight into the Manning River. All four were drowned.
The Coroner’s findings included that the driver had not noticed the warning signage on the steep approach and perhaps had thought the ferry lights were on the Tinonee side instead of the Taree side of the river. The Coroner recommended that a boom gate be installed and this boom gate mechanism and pulley wheel appear to date from that time.
These items were abandoned and remained in-situ until their rescue and refurbishment by the Tinonee Historical Society in 2012. They can now be viewed as working exhibits in the garden of the Tinonee Historical Museum and serve as a testimony to the river life that was once a large part of Tinonee’s landscape.
Punts and ferries are a diminishing chapter of the Mid North Coast waterways story. The Hibbard and Settlement Point Ferries across the nearby Hastings River at Port Macquarie are amongst a small number still operating across New South Wales.
Jenny Cherry and Debbie Sommers
20 September 2014
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