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.
- Above: The Barge 'Dart'
It 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.
- Above: The 'Dart' at Goolwa Wharf
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’. In 2008 the 'Dart' sank at its moorings, and after raising was retored and placed in a permanent position under the Hindmarsh Island Bridge.
- Above: The 'Dart' sinks 2008
- Above: The 'Dart' is restored and located to its premanent position under the Hindmarsh Island Bridge
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.