Gordon (as recently named by her current owners) was donated to the Wooden Boat Guild of Tasmania by Laurie Harris (of Launceston) on 25 February 2010. The punt had been in Laurie’s ownership for about 30 years. It is believed that Gordon was previously used (with an outboard motor) by the Tasmanian Forestry Commission as a personnel transport for its staff on the Gordon River. It is believed that the punt was salvaged as a wreck from the Gordon River before Laurie purchased it. Gordon was accepted into the Australian Register of Historic Vessels at the ANMM on 15 October 2010.
Gordon was a roughly-built vessel with planks that are far from symmetrical on both sides, and a considerable variation in width at the stem in particular. She is considered to be representative of a commercial boat of her era with little in the way of refinement.
In 2016 the WBGT resolved that the restoration of Gordon would be its next major boat restoration project. The vessel will be restored to operational condition with as much of the original structure as possible preserved, but new planks fitted to replace those that are broken and/or (partly) missing, and extensive reribbing. The existing planking will be rendered watertight by splining, filling and sanding, and the finished vessel will be presented in a painted condition. Michael Staples’ plans will be used to coax the hull back to the lines that it is believed to have been built with. Physical work began in May 2017 and continued intermittently throughout the rest of that year and 2018.
Clinker construction, seven planks per side, top plank doubled.
Rib spacing on average 7’ (180mm) centres.
Some ribs are offset and cross over giving double ribs across the bottom of the punt. It is difficult to decipher the number of rowing stations as there are no rowlock blocks, although there are some visible fastening holes.
Gordon was surveyed by Michael Staples in July 2010 using the traditional line lifting method, plans being drawn of the vessel “as is” and also with corrections allowing for changes in shape since new. A second survey was funded by a Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme (MMAPP) grant sponsored by the National Maritime Museum of Australia to Peta Knott of the Maritime Museum of Tasmania.
On 15 March 2010 Gordon was surveyed electronically at the Mariner’s Cottage car-park, Battery Point by Peta Knott and Dougal Harris for the Maritime Museum of Tasmania. The collected data was used as the basis for plan (1) that follows. In July 2010 Gordon was delivered to Mike Staples’ workshop at Cygnet to be surveyed by traditional methods to allow comparison with electronic survey. Mike Staples produced a plan (2) of the vessel “as is” and another plan (3) faired to compensate for the extent that the punt had lost its original shape over the years. These plans have been published in a book “The Tasmanian Piners’ Punt – Their History and Design”.