New Boat Being Built Locally
Recently a party of children from The Port Fairy
HES visited the Island and were enabled to see a
new fishing craft, being constructed by Haldane
Bros – Messrs Hugh, William and Alan Haldane.
Rex White, a pupil at the school, gives his
impressions of the visit and the boat as follows:
“The new boat has a length of 40ft, and when
completed will draw 4ft 10 inches of water. Five
different kinds of woods are being used in the
construction. They are: 1. Oregon pine from USA;
2. Huon pine from Tasmania; 3. Jarrah from WA;
4. Spotted gum from NSW; 5. Hardwood from
Victoria. The boat has 140lbs of copper nails in her; it will have a diesel engine, a mast 40ft
high, and will take about 6 more months to complete.
The brothers will dry dock the boat four times a year so as to clean the sea weed and other
marine growths from her bottom. The propeller has a pitch of 25 inches and a diameter of 31
inches. The seams are stopped with caulking cotton sealed with putty. The young men make
their own putty from whiting, raw oil and tallow. The tallow is added to the putty to stop it
from cracking and falling out when the wood expands in the water. Wooden plugs called
‘dowels’ are used to plug the outside nail holes in the boat. The Haldane Bros cut their own
timber in their workshop which contains a lathe for making the dowels, a Ford engine to
drive the lathe and a band saw which cuts the timber into the required widths.”
1 dolphin was built in 1939 to allow the Haldane brothers to expand into South shark fishery
It was designed as an improvement on their first vessel the amarilis 40 ft
Extract from the ‘Port Fairy Gazette’ 26 August 1935
Boat Building at Port Fairy
New 40ft Fishing Craft Launched. Youths’ Enterprise Rewarded
To the enterprise and ability of very few young men can be recorded an accomplishment
such as that now to the credit of Mr William Haldane, a son of Mr and Mrs H Haldane, of
Port Fairy lighthouse.
On Wednesday afternoon last, (Wednesday 21st August 1935) he had the well-deserved
pleasure of witnessing, amid the perfect surroundings of the bay at Griffiths Island, the
launching of his new deep-sea fishing boat.
For conspicuous merit and exemplary aptitude in an undertaking of such a stupendous
nature, culminating in a triumph over many difficulties, it would be difficult to imagine a
more exacting task than the construction of this craft, and when it is stated that this youth is
only 22 years of age, the merit becomes all the more pronounced.
There was not one of the very large crowd of experienced fishermen present at the ceremony
who begrudged this youth his pleasure, and none of these men whose critical eyes soon
detect any defect could have been more sincere in congratulating the builder.
Although Mr William Haldane shouldered the lion’s share of the formidable task, due credit
must be given to his two brothers – Messrs Hugh and Allan Haldane – who, throughout the
initial stages of construction and until the completion of the craft, assisted in every way to
make this deft and snug-like boat a “thing of beauty and a joy forever”.
1 The ‘day’ lasting from five in the morning until eight at night.
Ruskin has written that “Work is only done well when it is done with a will,” and it is no
idle boast that, behind the piecing and construction of every section of the vessel there was a
pride in the task and the desire to win through. The three youths have truly carried on the
fine tradition of pioneer ship- builders of this and other ports.
The new boat has been named “Amaryllis” (from the lily by that name), and this cognomen
was selected from a book, which narrated the adventures of an English officer who voyaged
round the world in a craft of a similar name. (May the youths one day see the realisation of
an ambition and travel far in her).
Nearly 40ft long, with a beam of 13 feet and a draft of 5ft 6 inches, she was designed in
Tasmania by Mr P Coverdale, of Hobart, to specifications prepared by Mr William Haldane,
whose acquired knowledge of draftsmanship stood him in great stead. Construction was
started on 10th September 1934, and although it was only a spare time task, involving
considerable night work, she was ready for launching on 19th August of this year. Built of
Huon (Tasmanian) pine, with an iron bark keel and jarrah stern posts and stern, she is to be
equipped with a 35hp “Thornycroft” engine, and in about 6 weeks’ time will be able to take
her place (a foremost one) in Port Fairy’s cray fishing and deep sea fishing fleet.
There are many outstanding improvements and features in “Amaryllis” and among the
principle ones are a cray fishing well fitted with patented valves through which the water
can be let out when necessary with the minimum amount of trouble, and a self-bailing
cockpit which enables the water to make a quick getaway. The whole of the woodwork is
caulked (an intricate task), and her joggled deck is built for strength. She has a steel centre
plate and a built bulwark similar to a yacht. When finally completed, she will be equipped
with three bunks, electric light having been installed. A teak dashboard, on which
compasses, clock, etc will be placed, adds to her appearance.
Of course, the launching of such a spic-and-span craft could not be carried out without the
Scottish custom of a “launching drink.” Mr H Haldane Senior. a justly-proud father,
dispensed hospitality to the assembled gathering, and hearty congratulations were showered
on the designers and builders who were wished the greatest measure of success with their
attractive and useful vessel.
And here’s hoping that they reap the reward, which is unquestionably due to them!