Canoes were made in a number of different ways and this was dictated to an extent by the type of bark that was used to construct the canoe. The canoe is constructed from a single piece of bark that was heated to curve the edges up and both ends of the canoe are raised up. The forward end is shaped like the end of a leaf, curling up in a pointed end. These features are consistent with other extant examples of this type and those illustrated by early European colonisers. The other end of the canoe has a more rounded point. The Bolton canoe illustrates the style of canoes used along the Murray River and surrounding district. On the lower reaches of the Murray it is known as a yuki. The specific type of bark used for this one has not been identified, and is most likely from a River Red Gum however other barks were recorded for making temporary craft in this area. Long poles were used to propel and steer these craft and platforms were made on the hull for fires and there is evidence of charcoal on the upper surface near the centre of the canoe.

Physical Description

A monohull made from single sheet of bark.


This is the one of two surviving extant examples of Indigenous canoes from the Murray River that were the last known ones made in the early twentieth century, the other being in the collections of the South Australian Museum. They are thought to have been made around 1900. This canoe is listed on the Australian Register of Historic Vessels (HV000526).

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