From the Newsroom

Volunteers at the Lawrence Museum were delighted to welcome the historic vessel Cedar Queen back to their collection earlier this month. Image: Contributed

Royal return to Lawrence

After undergoing an extensive restoration, a historical monument has returned home to the Clarence Valley and is now on display at the Lawrence Museum.

Constructed between 1889 and 1920, the clinker-planked skiff Cedar Queen has great significance to the local district.

Reputed to have been made from one tree sourced from the head of the Clarence River, the hull of the Cedar Queen was built by George Towns at Newcastle, who hailed from a prolific family of builders, renowned for producing quality flood boats, butcher boats and waterman’s skiffs.

The Cedar Queen has an open layout with seven thwarts, four rowing stations, and is fitted with a rudder.

Measuring 7.4m in length and 1.7m wide over its gunwales, its size allowed for a considerable load and crew to manoeuvre the craft.

As a flood boat, it was manned by volunteers and regularly relied upon to deliver supplies to residents isolated by floodwater, and to rescue stranded locals when necessary.

There are also reports the Cedar Queen may have been involved in the rescue efforts following a devastating accident on the Clarence River in December 1943, when 13 Cub Scouts tragically drowned.

Volunteers at the Lawrence Museum were delighted to welcome the historic vessel Cedar Queen back to their collection earlier this month. Image: Contributed

Later in its life, the Cedar Queen was owned by the Grafton Sea Scouts and was stored on the veranda of their shed.

After some deterioration occurred, George Oxenbridge approached the Scouts and purchased the Cedar Queen for $50.

The Oxenbridge family used the vessel for many years before donating it to the Lawrence Museum.

The Cedar Queen is listed on the Australian Register of Historic Vessels, and the Lawrence Historical Society has been working with the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) for the preservation of this historic craft. 

The ANMM provided a maritime expert to assess the vessel and prepare a Vessel Conservation Plan, with recommendations for its preservation before the organisation then granted funds for the vessel to be restored.

Brushgrove Shipwright Bill Gleeson undertook months of restoration work prior to delivering the Cedar Queen back to the Lawrence Museum earlier this month.

Vice President of the Lawrence Museum Roz Jones said they aim to preserve as many Clarence River vessels as possible for public display.

The Lawrence Museum is located at the former 2NR building in Merton Street, Lawrence, and is open between 9am-1pm each Tuesday and between 1-4pm on weekends.

Admission is $5 per person.

EFTPOS is not available.

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