Steamboat Ken's Great Yarns of Boats and Maritime History!One of the great characters on our islands is a gentleman larrikin by the pseudonym of Steamboat Ken.His real name is Ken Goodman and he has lived on Lamb Island almost continually since 1977.As Steamboat Ken, he loves telling maritime history stories in his Aussie-yarn-like way, and he is going to be doing it every month from now on in The Friendly Bay Islander.We are giving Steamboat Ken and his column and bit of a 'buff' and a 'polish' and it will be known as Steamboat Ken's Great Yarns of Boats and Maritime History!It's a bit of a mouthful, but we think it is befitting Ken's Aussie knock-about character and his knack for telling a good maritime yarn!Summing up Ken's life and it could come under a banner heading of motorbikes, sheilas, boats, and a bloody good time!Ken Goodman did his trade as a carpenter in Sydney, but got involved with boats when he went to the Murray River with a girlfriend in the mid 1960's, fell in love with the Murray River steamers, and decided to build his first boat, a 36ft long Murray River boat.He made it big enough for his motor bike, a fuel stove, a kero fridge and his girl friend (he might have swapped her along the way).At a later date he built a 27 ft Lighter at Pittwater in Sydney.A stint coal mining in Lithgow introduced Ken to the Bay Islands in the mid 1970's, resulting in him buying a plot of land on Lamb Island, the site of his home here today.He immediately identified that freighting building materials to the island was expensive (it was $45 for a barge trip back then - rates were $32 a year!)"I decided to build a punt (a 36ft landing barge appropriately named the 'African Queen') to bring my building materials to the island, picking them up in the Logan River and bringing them to Lamb in about two hours (he even brought his ute over on the punt)." It was powered by a V8 Perkins truck engine.Ken built a few Lamb Island homes that way before selling the punt. It is still somewhere in the mangroves on Lamb Island.He is probably best known for his lovely old steamboat, Louisa (named after his daughter).It is an old craft he found a few years ago which he split in two, added a mid section and installed a steam engine.Louisa is a real feature when he gets it out on special occasions for important island events. It is truly an island 'treasure', which he enjoys with girlfriend Lizzie.Ken has had a love of old boats and old motor bikes all his life and he realised a few years ago that he had a bit of a 'knack' when it comes to telling a 'good yarn'.A little help from island writer Robbie Kirk helped, as did a friendship with writer/researcher and fellow Lamb Island resident Anne Chamberlain.Ken's stories started out as Boats in the Mangrove, but since then his yarns have gone beyond those boundaries.Hence Steamboat Ken's Great Yarns of Boats and Maritime History!Watch for Ken's Maritime Yarns starting in our April edition.Don't be surprised if it wanders into a story or two about old motorbikes; although we are not sure if any of the 'sheilas' will get a mention!Welcome to the team, Ken.
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