The smallest vessel in the collection
Thistle is the smallest of the museum fleet. Thistle is a 'couta boat', a distinctive type of fishing vessel built for the barracouta fishery in Bass Strait off the coast of Victoria. Crews, usually two, fished with poles or trolling lines for couta and later, shark. Couta boats evolved in Australia to suit local conditions. Hand-lining for barracouta (once the mainstay of the fish and chip trade), these open-hulled sloops dared the unpredictable waters of the Victorian coast and treacherous rip of Port Phillip Bay. Thistle fished out of Port Fairy and has survived amazingly well. The vessel was restored and rebuilt to original specifications by a Victorian couta boat specialist.
Open daily from 9:30am and can be viewed from our wharves for free.
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Thistle fished out of Port Fairy for most of its working life. It was built on the Maribyrnong River by JR Jones in 1903. The couta fishery began to decline from the 1920s. In the 1960s, with an engine added, Thistle was used for towing, and in the 1970s was converted to a houseboat. In 1990 it was restored to its early 1900s configuration.
The boats were sturdy and broad beamed, with a centreboard which could be raised and lowered for good handling and drift fishing. Their powerful rig, with tall sails and down-turned bowsprit, gave them speed to outrun bad weather and for racing each other home to get the best price for the catch.
We offer a truly unique excursion experience for students and teachers alike.
Extended to 6:00 pm in January
Last boarding time for Submarine and Tall Ships – 4.10pm
Closed Christmas Day 25 December.
+61 2 9298 3777
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© Copyright 2013
Australia National Maritime Museum
Every day 9.30 am - 5 pm
Extend to 6.00 pm in January
Closed Xmas Day 25 Dec.
2 Murrey Street
sydney NSW 2000, AU
+61 2 9298 3777