Barge DART Title

The Barge 'DART'
The DART presently sits on chocks on the river bank,
under the Hindmarsh Island  bridge.

With the OSCAR ‘W’ now in near pristine condition, our dedicated volunteer workers are turning their attention to the barge ‘DART’. We have applied to the Maritime Museum and received a grant of $10,000 to start preservation work. The Maritime Museums of Australia Project Support Scheme is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian National Maritime Museum. We have matched this grant with $10,000 from OSCAR’S own funds. Planning and preparatory work is under way, and our first task is to fabricate new steel internal frames, to replace the existing badly rusted frames.



The Dart was built in 1912 by D. Milne at Goolwa for the Engineering & Water Supply Department,  and not registered  as it was owned and used by the South Australian Government. The DART is 72’ in length, and 17’ in breadth, with a composite hull – red gum bottom and iron top sides.  It was built as a floating work platform and used as a pile-driving vessel on the construction of the weirs and locks,  and later other works along the river. The pile driver was steam powered using a vertical boiler. Traces of this use are still visible on the deck.

The Barge Dart moored by the Ferry landing
The DART moored by the Ferry landing.
The Barge 'DART'
Loading bales onto the DART.
In 1971 the DART was taken to Murray Bridge and partially restored,  then taken to shallow water and sunk to preserve the timber hull.

In 1985 it was raised and purchased by the District Council of Port Elliot and Goolwa,  and brought to Goolwa to be used as part of the Signal Point River Murray Interpretive Centre plant of the P.S. Oscar W.

In 1999/2000 the 'DART' was transformed into a film set as the "Tingalla Rose" for the children's TV series "Chuck Finn".
It has been used on numerous occasions as part of the Oscar W plant for re-enactments,  in particular in 1992 when the Oscar W and barge made a record breaking run from Goolwa to Mildura in 4 days 23 hours, and also in the 50th anniversary of the 1956 River Murray flood. In 2000 the superstructure was added, in the form of "piles", ( as the 'DART' was used as a pile driver in the past), to house a photographic display for the Centenary of Federation Celebrations.  In 2001 the 'DART' was towed behind the PS OSCAR 'W' to Mildura taking part in the ‘Source to Sea’. Three years ago the Dart sank at its moorings,  and after raising was placed on land pending restoration.
The Dart behind the Oscar-W
Historic picture of the DART in times past.


The DART’S helm in early morning light— a solitary reminder of past glories.
The Dart's helm in early morning light.
A solitary reminder of past glories.

The barge ‘ DART’ is listed on the National Maritime Museum Register of Historic Vessels and a statement of significance is included in the book Historic Shipping on the River Murray.