The South Oz Tennessee Explosion: new
 (and some New South Wales convict-types)
Square Boats logo

The Tennessee 30' launch is the most popular of the larger Bolger boats, whether power or sail, in Australia, with most of the increasing multitude (well, at least a couple of dozen) lurking on the Murray River, the country's main river system. Only one or two retain the elgant simplicity of Bolger's design, as above. The rest indulge in the typically Australian approach to river cruisers, which is to go upwards.


Duck Flat-Wooden Boats, the main instigators of the population explosion, have tried to resist this, and Phil Bolger warns that too much height is an unhealthy thing, but the upward desire seems to be built in to Australians on the River. Perhaps it's genetic. In the boats which haven't succumbed to permanent tall structures, intelligent use is made of caravan-style pop-tops. Given the protected nature of the river waterways, Duck Flat developed their own derivation.

These boats are legally, easily and extensively trailed behind compact cars all over the place. The road load is long, but it's also light, and narrow.

trailer 1
trailer 2

Above boats photographed at the March 1999 South Australian Wooden Boat Festival (you should have been there), (c)TJ Fatchen 1999 who was most unhappy at the numberplate on the Tennessee trailer above.
umli gumli
Photo (c) TJ Fatchen 2001

Probably the most "built-up" version, Umli Gumli from the northern rivers of NSW, at Goolwa for the 2001 Wooden Boat Festival. This version of accommodation on a Tennessee hull was professionally built at Duck Flat-Wooden Boats, Adelaide.  Purpose-built for the inland and upper coastal rivers, she was never intended for open water other than in the gentlest of conditions.  In March 2001, this boat was caught out meeting a front in Lake Alexandrina, through no fault of her skipper or crew (it's a long story...).

She came through unscathed, but mainly due to her skipper's handling skill and the reliability of her engine.  Any minor mishap, for example a line around the prop or water in the fuel, and it would have been a different story. Not something those who experienced it ever want to repeat. A clear moral: strictly a river boat or similar sheltered water craft in this form.

| Bolger Boats in the Web | Square Boats home page |
Sick of Square Boats? Visit the Light Schooner!