Ballina museum searching for tales of historic MV Florrie

THE historic riverboat Florrie is on another leg of its long voyage.

The vessel is housed in the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum.

Museum president Dick Greaves said the museum and Ballina Shire Council have started work on preparing a management plan for the vessel, and the museum is searching for memorabilia and stories about the Florrie.

More about the MV Florrie

"We know there are a couple of people still alive who worked on the Florrie when it was in the slipway in Ballina," he said.

"But we want to hear from who has got family who worked on the vessel, or memorabilia and photos.

"We would like to contact and interview as many folk as possible who may have had some connection to the Florrie."

Do you have a story to share about the Florrie?

The Florrie is essentially in storage at the museum at the moment, and any photos, stories and the like collected would be used as part of a more formal display.

The first steps in developing the management plan will be to carefully remove debris from the vessel and to take a three-dimensional scan to provide an accurate image of the construction.

TELL US YOUR STORY: Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum president Dick Greaves with the historic riverboat Florrie.
TELL US YOUR STORY: Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum president Dick Greaves with the historic riverboat Florrie. Graham Broadhead

An assessment also will later be made of the condition of the timber after the boat was left on the riverbank in Ballina from the mid 1970s when it was retired to 2006.

The Florrie was built in 1880 and believed to be one of the oldest surviving timber craft in Australia.

It is the way it was constructed that led to the vessel being listed in the Australian National Maritime Museum's Australian Register of Historic Vessels back in 2007.

Florrie is a rare example of the steam vessels that traded on the Clarence and Richmond rivers in the late 1800s.

Built on Brisbane Waters, the 20m hull is carvel planked on sawn frames.

Frederick Crouch, the Casino storekeeper who originally operated the vessel as a mixed cargo steamer on the Richmond River, named it after his daughter Florence.

Florrie ran aground in 1882 and was repaired by Ballina pilot Captain Fenwick, who operated it for many years.

Over the years, it carried passengers, timber and cargo and finished up as a tug for a gravel dredge.

If you have anything to share on the Florrie, phone the museum on 6681 1002.

Topics:  ballina naval and maritime museum

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