The Cartela arrives in Franklin
The Cartela arrives in Franklin

New life: Historic steamship listed for sale

SHIPWRIGHT David Nash hopes a new owner might help give a special and much-loved Tasmanian steamship a new life.

The 108-year-old coastal steamer, Cartela, is likely the last of its kind in Australia and has been listed for sale online for $250,000.

The ad invites investors and tourism operators to discuss options for the 33m heritage vessel.

The Cartela was built in Tasmania from Huon pine and New Zealand kauri in 1912 - the same year as the Titanic - and was operated continuously in Tasmania until 2014.

Mr Nash was appointed restoration manager and ship-keeper by current owner the Steamship Cartela Trust, which initially hoped to raise the estimated $4 million needed to complete the restoration.

 

Employees and families from Tasmania's Cadbury-Fry-Pascall factory disembarking from the river steamer ferries Excella and Cartela for their annual picnic day at South Arm.
Employees and families from Tasmania's Cadbury-Fry-Pascall factory disembarking from the river steamer ferries Excella and Cartela for their annual picnic day at South Arm.

"It's a piece of history that is worthy of preservation," he said.

The "purely Tasmanian" steamship has had many lives over the past century, including patrolling the state's coast line for the Royal Australian Navy during World War I and playing host to tourists, school groups and wedding parties.

Mr Nash said it would take about four years to return the Cartela to her former glory.

Some work has already been done to restore the original steam engine that was recovered after it spent time in a trade school in Hobart and a steam museum in Dover.

 

Former Cartela skipper Michael Roche in 2014 taking the ship from the Brooke Street Pier in Hobart to Franklin.
Former Cartela skipper Michael Roche in 2014 taking the ship from the Brooke Street Pier in Hobart to Franklin.

"They've spent a lot of money on the engine already, restoring the bottom end of it, but there's still heaps to be done."

Mr Nash said the planking on the ship's hull was amazingly "still good", although a lot of the materials on-board needed renewing.

He said the "big", "labour intensive" project would be an "incredible experience" for anyone involved and a good opportunity to pass on skills to the next generation of shipwrights.

"I've been involved in a few restorations like this and they create an enormous amount of positive energy."

 

The Cartela arrives in Franklin in 2014.
The Cartela arrives in Franklin in 2014.

Mr Nash said many Tasmanians would have a story about the Cartela.

"It's nice that a big wooden vessel like this can have its chance to get out on the water again as a tourism attraction.

"It would be a shame for it not to be around in another 100 years, and there's no reason why it couldn't be."

Consultant for the Steamship Cartela Trust, Tim Oxley, said it was hoped the State Government would purchase and restore the ship as an investment in Tasmanian tourism and trade.

Cartela was built by Purdon & Featherstone for the Huon Channel and Peninsula Steamship Company and was designed to operate as a cargo and passenger vessel in the coastal and riverine trades south and southeast of Hobart.

 

Originally published as New life: Historic steamship listed for sale


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