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Mansfield, Anthony
To repair or restore the steam tug 'Wattle'
16th Engineering Heritage Australia Conference: Conserving Our Heritage - Make a Difference!
Engineers Australia, Barton, Australian Capital Territory, 2011, pp. 97-104

The Steam Tug 'Wattle' started life as a Sydney Harbour tug operated by the RAN and then became a Port Phillip Bay tourist steamer. Eventually corrosion in the hull structure under the ballast caused loss of survey status and a search by the volunteer operators for a way to bring her back to a usable state. Funding and a site for the work proved elusive until recently when a Melbourne docklands area became available and limited funding was provided by a private consortium. The work started with the intent to perform a restoration to the original construction configuration and using historically accurate components and methods. Time and budget restraints have led to the use of more contemporary repair methods. This change in approach has led to much debate about the importance of conserving the historic values of the ship versus ensuring the continued existence of the ship by returning it to a financially self supporting venture as soon as possible. This paper will discuss the two sides of this argument and how a compromise is being attempted in the case of the ST 'Wattle'.

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