Sydney Maritime Museum - Sydney Heritage Fleet
A community-based non-profit organisation, the Fleet?s mission is to: build and maintain an internationally recognised centre of excellence in maritime heritage for the benefit of all Australians by presenting through research, acquisition, conservation and operation, our continuing maritime history. The Fleet is funded through donations, membership subscriptions, income from vessel charters and tours and the proceeds of Art Unions. Sydney Maritime Museum has a fleet of 8 operating vessels and a collection of important examples of yachts and boats. The Fleet maintains a Records and Research Centre for maritime studies and has boat & marine engine restoration activities.
The Small Boat collection of the Sydney Heritage Fleet is representative of craft seen on NSW waters at various periods going back to the early settlement of Port Jackson. A number of these boats are maintained in sailing condition, while others are on permanent display indoors at Wharf 7, Pyrmont. Historic Replicas Prior to 1800 the boats of the Royal Navy and a small yawl built in Sydney Cove were the only means of transport available in the young colony. All of the early exploration of the Parramatta, Hawkesbury and Georges Rivers, and the coast as far south as Port Hacking and Lake Illawarra, were undertaken in these small but rugged craft. The Fleet has a unique collection of replica boats, which were built to re-enact early voyages. These include the longboat used by Captain Bligh on his epic voyage to Timor after the Bounty mutiny in 1783; Tom Thumb II in which Bass and Flinders explored the NSW coast as far as Lake Illawarra in 1796; and a First Fleet jollyboat based on plans of 1781. Sailing Skiffs Since the early days of the colony open sailing skiffs, of local design and manufacture, have been immensely popular. The best known of the skiff classes is the ?18 footer?, but 16ft and 12ft classes were also popular. The collection includes representative examples of craftsman-built wooden skiffs from the heydays of the above classes. The best known of these is the 1924 18ft skiff Yendys (Sydney spelt backwards), which has been completely restored and is on display fully rigged. Motor Boats and other Small Boats Also featured are rowing and motor boats, of the types commonly made by local builders and used on regional waterways, racing and pleasure skiffs, surfboats, dinghies, small motor boats and launches, pilots whaleboats and ships? lifeboats. Ships, (eg James Craig, tug Waratah, Launch Lady Hopetoun etc)boats, books film artefacts etc