The Sail Era
In the earliest days of settlement there were no roads – only bush tracks formed by Aboriginals over 1000’s of years. The earliest settlers relied almost solely on sail and rowing boats. The settlement quickly spread to the Huon River where the richest soils made cropping and orchards much easier and therefore the self sufficiency of the Colony an early reality. Settlers soon took up land grants but these were spread over a wide traverse of channels, rivers, remote creeks and new distant, coastal settlements. Small draft boats were essential for the delivery of goods, timber, sand, gravel and food both ways – the sail ‘barges’ operated by the ‘bargees’ were the most practical boats for this purpose and many were built.
The stealing of boats by early convicts keen to make their escape was a continual hazard of early colonial settlement – so bad in fact, that guards had to be placed on all boats in the colony.