May Queen celebrates 150 years
The SV May Queen, Australia’s oldest sail trading vessel and one of only a handful of wooden vessels of her era still afloat in the world, turned 150 on 5 June. Built at Franklin on the banks of the Huon River in 1867, May Queen’s working life contributed to a century of economic development in southern Tasmania. Like other trading ketches, she was a transport workhorse until road networks finally improved in the 1950s. Her primary cargo was construction materials, sawn timber, shingles and railway sleepers, carried to Hobart for house building and industry. But she also brought coal to Hobart, as well as quarried stone, apples, pears and other fruit. On her outbound journey from Hobart she carried food supplies for settlers, hay and oats for horses and bullock teams, steel railway lines and machinery. A retractable centre-board allowed May Queen to access small jetties linked to individual farms. During her 106-year working life (1867-1973) she could sail from Dover to Hobart in eight hours in favourable weather.
4 July 2017, Edition 185