Couta Mail Boat
Couta boat, The Viator. Wooden, single masted ketch-rigged vessel with wooden clinker hull, high gunwales. "Couta" rigging, typical of the SE Victorian region. Listed on Australian Register of Historical Vessels (ARHV Number: HV000561 )
The Viator was built in Williamstown, Victoria, by J.R. Jones, a renowned boat builder, between 1890 and 1905. This design of boat is believed to have originated in Port Phillip for the purpose of barracouta fishing. There are very few remaining examples of this type of craft, which is fast and seaworthy.
Viator served as a barracouta fishing boat in the Warrnambool area until the mid-1930's. Then she served as a mail ferry across to Portland. She then became a general fishing and recreation boat for local families. For years she sat in a paddock in East Warrnambool until purchased in 1975 for Flagstaff Hill, as the last remaining local 'couta boat'.