Floating in Constitution Dock in Hobart is Australia’s oldest sail trading vessel SV May Queen.
Built before the development of roads and land transport routes this type of vessel helped to establish and supply coastal communities and industry in the south east of Tasmania. The May Queen is recognised internationally as an authentic floating example of the sea craft technology of the mid 1800s.
The May Queen was built on the banks of the Huon River at Franklin, just upstream from where the Wooden Boat School is now located. Suitable timber growing near the banks of the river, or close by was selected by the shipwright Alexander Lawson. A great deal of skill was required to select sections of timber from the trees in the bush that had the right shape to fit the proposed curvature in the vessel. Sections of branches and roots were utilised and these all had to be finished off without the use of modern day saws and power tools.
The May Queen is maintained entirely by volunteers. Throughout the year, but particularly in the summer months volunteers are on hand to show visitors around the vessel.