Steam Tug - Wattle

Location

20 Victoria Dock, WEST MELBOURNE, MELBOURNE CITY

File Number

B6443

Level

National

Statement of Significance

The steam tug Wattle is historically, socially and technologically significant at the National level as the only small harbour steam tug surviving in Australia, and one of only three Australian built steam tugs still in existence and one of only eight Australian built steamships surviving on the Australian coast. She was built at Cockatoo Island Dockyard during the Great Depression on speculation as an initiative to keep the yard's apprentices employed - the standard of workmanship considerted to be unusually high. Of rivetted steel hull with experimental electrical welding used to build the bulkheads and fuel bunkers - the first time this new technology was used in an Australian shipyard. All steam engines and boilers were built in Australia and the Wattle is one of only three steamships fitted with a compound steam engine still surviving in Australia. The vessel is the first oil fired steam tug in Australia and the only oil fired steamship fitted with natural draught still existing in Australia. She served all her working life with the Royal Australian Navy.
Internationally, the Wattle is one of only twenty-two small harbour steam tugs preserved in the world and one of only twelve oil-fired steam tugs still surviving. Using the International Register of Historic Ships as a guide, there are no more than fifty-eight steam tugs preserved world-wide.
Classified: 16/06/1993

Group

Transport - Water

Category

Vessel - harbour & river