The Great Lakes Museum houses a number of model ships that reflect the long and varied maritime history of the area. These wooden replicas, crafted with a painstaking attention to detail, are also a tribute to the art of the model maker.
From its earliest beginnings shipping has played a major role in the formation of the Great Lakes. Early roads were often little more than tracks, slow and hazardous at best, whereas coastal shipping was long established as a reliable mode of transport. One such vessel, the “Shannon”, (pictured above), was a well know sight along our coast, carrying timber and other produce to Sydney and returning with various goods.
Model of the “John Gollan” with close up of the wheelhouse
Other models on display include the “Lake Wallis”, a paddle wheel log punt that transported logs from timber getters downstream to Wrights mill. The tug “John Gollan”,( pictured above), helped many a vessel across the bar at Harrington and into the Manning river. The coastal trader “Allenwood”, was another well know sight on our waters and did a stint with the Royal Australian Navy as a mine sweeper during WW2. There is also a model of the “Eldorado II”, a wooden fishing boat that worked the local waters for nearly 40 years, along with other ships on display.
It is thanks to the skill and dedication of the model maker that we can see what these vessels once looked like in a way that photographs and drawings cannot. They form an invaluable part of the Great Lakes museum’s collection and help to enrich our understanding of our maritime past.