READER’S CONTRIBUTION: A new and tranquil life for DAISY

DAISY pictured on the Myall river at Winda Woppa, together with a slightly nervous COCO Chadwick.


I HAVE always been an admirer of traditional fishing boats.

From my childhood years in South Australia, at Victor Harbor and Stenhouse Bay, there were many examples of ‘clinker’ fishing boats, solidly crafted and powered by oar or ‘putt putt’ motors and occasionally, by that mastery of industrial design, the British Seagull outboard.

Later, on family vacations over many years, there was the fleet of clinker built timber fishing boats at Taylors boatshed (now being transformed into a Merivale F&B outlet) at Forster’s Bay, Narooma, some rumoured to have gone regularly to Montague Island chasing kingfish.

How I wish I had acquired one of those.

Fortunately, a couple have been restored at the Wooden Boats’ shed at Forster’s Bay and feature in the annual ‘Boats Afloat’ regatta.

Later, on my first trip to Europe in the mid seventies, my first exposure to the Mediterranean lifestyle was driving into the fishing port of Selce, in what was then Yugoslavia and seeing for the first time the traditional wooden fishing boats, which appeared suspended in air when lit at night over the crystal clear water.

Since then I have spent many wondrous occasions admiring similar craft along the eastern and northern Mediterranean and Adriatic coast from Turkey through to Portugal.

My first exposure to the traditional fishing boats at Hawks Nest was watching the annual mullet run, through autumn and early winter, on Jimmy’s Beach.

These spartan, highly functional craft were rowed out, nets trailing from the stern, to surround the schools of mullet.

Little has changed today, with the exception of the use of cleverly modified fishing boats with ‘jetski’ propulsion.

I have since discovered that there are a number of ‘LFB’ mullet boats, still working around Tamboi.

After tiring of yachts and power boats of all shapes and sizes, which progressively became too difficult for me to handle alone, I decided to go on the hunt for what I always called a ‘mullet boat.

I found a number in Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest, and in spite of leaving numerous notes saying “are you interested in selling this boat?”, I got nowhere.

There were however a couple in Mirreen Street in Hawks Nest of which I was aware and an opportunity arose in 2015 when I saw a person in the yard with them.

I went in and enquired.

It was my lucky day, as I met Robert McRae, who was the owner of one of the boats, and was visiting Hawks Nest from Hervey Bay.

Robert had inherited the boat from his brother Peter, a local second generation fisherman.

The boat had been unused for a number of years, was full of water and sadly neglected.

It appeared however in sound condition.

It had been built locally in Tea Gardens, sometime last century.

The construction of this boat and many others of the era was timber framing with fibreglass sheeting, with a flat deck for stacking fish boxes and double hull construction for buoyancy.

When Robert and a mate got the motor running and bailed out the water, a deal was done, with ‘brokerage’ support from Karen from the wonderful Tea Gardens fish market.

I now had a project: to restore my mullet boat.

The winter of 2016 provided this opportunity and sporting a new mast and awning, new seating, paint job and essential fittings, she was back in the water.

The covid lockdown of 2021 provided an opportunity to give the boat another makeover, a long shaft motor, and after a very long time, her first name: DAISY, named after my old clinker built ketch which graced the Mosman Bay area for around 25 years.

I have no doubt DAISY will now see many more years of tranquil retirement….as I trust will I.



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