ROW YOUR BOAT: This flood boat, from the 1920s and 30s, is now on display at the Lawrence Museum. It is the last known flood boat in its original form in the Clarence Valley.
ROW YOUR BOAT: This flood boat, from the 1920s and 30s, is now on display at the Lawrence Museum. It is the last known flood boat in its original form in the Clarence Valley. Contributed

Boat with history now at home in museum

WHEN George and Julie Oxenbridge saw an old wooden boat perched beneath a tree some 10 years ago, they had to have it.

Offering the owner $60, they were stoked to be the new owners of a flood boat - used in the 1920s and 30s to rescue people in times of flood.

"It had a hole in the bottom of it and two black snakes living underneath it," Mr Oxenbridge said.

"So we patched it up and slipped it into the river and rowed up to Copmanhurst."

In a time where outboards were non-existent and it was all about rowing power, the flood boat was used by the Grafton Brigade, much like the SES today during times of disaster.

Rumour has it the brigade would race the boats once a month to keep fit.

Built from red cedar logs, the boat stretches 7.5m long.

"I believe the trees to build it were felled here, then shipped to Newcastle, built there and then brought back here, so it was state-of-the art," Mr Oxenbridge said.

For the past decade, the Glenugie couple have used the boat for recreational purposes, sailing around the Valley's waterways.

But last week they sold the Spirit of Quota or Quota Calling, either of which she is predicted to be called, to the Lawrence Museum for $300.

Mr Oxenbridge said the money was to go towards water-testing to protest against CSG mining.

The Oxenbridges will also donate 20% of their profit to the riders hitting the long trail to Canberra to protest on the steps of Parliament, leaving on September 21.

The boat is believed to be the last flood boat in its original form in the Clarence Valley.

Check it out at the Lawrence Museum.


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