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Shipbuilder's half block model of a Sydney ferry

Date: c 1900
Overall: Height: 250 mm, width: 1390 mm, depth: 20 mm
Medium: Queensland maple, varnish
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Bob Trayner
Object Name: Half block model
Object No: 00028924

User Terms

    Planked half block builder's model of a Sydney ferry, double-ended, with double screw configuration and elliptical deck plan.
    SignificanceThis half block model represents the shipbuilding work of Robert Young and typifies the profile of his early double-ended, double screw design for Sydney Ferries. Before a ship was built a half model such as this was created to plan a vessel's design and to display the hull to the ship builders and clients. These skilfully crafted models are replicas of their full scale counterparts and provide details of the design and build of individual vessels.

    HistoryShip builders half-block models were produced to demonstrate the shape of a vessel and were constructed by joining a series of planks together. Builders then used the model as a reference when cutting and fitting timbers for the full-scale vessel.

    The vessel is double-ended, with double screw configuration and an elliptical deck plan. The double-ended, double-screw and single screw configuration was highly manoeuvrable as it allowed vessels to operate two rudders and in the case of the double screw, two screws at both the fore and aft.

    This model is made from varnished laminated Queensland maple wood and was used by the shipbuilder Robert Young. Young was an important shipbuilder and owner, building a number of technologically and historically significant river and Sydney Harbour ferries in the late 19th century, including the LADY MANNING, MANLY II and BRONZEWING.

    Young operated a small privately owned company during the late 19th century depression. Between 1894 and 1921 he was the owner and consultant to a number of Balmain and Rozelle based shipbuilding companies that built river and Sydney Harbour ferries.

    One of the first vessels designed by Robert Young was the LADY MANNING in 1894 for the Balmain New Ferry Co Ltd. The LADY MANNING operated from 1894 to 1917 on the South shore and Western suburbs routes. It utilised the cutting edge technology of the highly manoeuvrable double-ended, double-screw and single screw configuration.

    From 1896 to 1897 Young operated under the new name of Young, Son and Fletcher, and received a number of contracts to build ferries for the Port Jackson cooperative Steamship Company and the North Steam Ferry Company.

    As a result of the 1890s depression Young was forced to sell his company and the ferry contracts to Morrison and Sinclair, Balmain around 1900. They continued operating from 1902 until 1939, building a considerable number of ferries used on Sydney Harbour.

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