The Register of Australian and New Zealand Ships and Boats


Threatened demolition
of a
Tasmanian treasure



Click here to see Russell's proposal for a Tasmanian Preservation of Historic Vessels and Marine Artefacts that would preserve the Enterprise
(3.1 Mb pdf file)



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On Wed, Jun 10, 2009 at 5:09 PM, Russell Pocock wrote:

Hello everyone, I have been advised by the Sea Life Centre at Bicheno that the ketch 'Enterprise' will be demolished during August this year while the Centre is closed for Maintenance. This appears not-negotable. What a waste of a restorable (even if only on land) vessel. The last of the New Zealand designed square chined vessels for shallow water. I hang my head in shame.

R.I.P. Enterprise.


Russell Pocock wrote on 2008/06/18:

Just thought I may make a comment or two regarding the "Enterprise".

Yes the "Enterprise" was a scow design as were the "Heather Belle". "Opah", "Pengana", "Taynna", and of course the big one "Kermandie" and others. There were many other hull designs as well, such as the "Spray" with here spoon bow and a depth of only 3 ft. 7 ins. In fact which vessel did not have some unique features.

The trading vessels above the waterline were similiar however in sail configuration etc and the "Enterprise" is typical of the early trading vessels and was not an odd one out, as numerous photos of trading vessels in full sail show.

She was the first scow built vessel which increases her importance as far as preservation is concerned and with the "May Queen", we have both basic versions of hull design. Add to that the fact that "Enterprise" is original in her fittings etc including rigging and sail design.


Name: Enterprise   

Later names {also Sail or Rego or Fishing No}: <unknown>

Material: Wood

Rig: Ketch~gaff   Rig changes & identification codes: A..b(hgaff&lugtopsails) Aux ketch '13

Type: Cargo+Scow/Museum   Propulsion: Sail

Designer: Purdon, Harry

Year built:1902   Yard or Job No: <unknown>

Builder: Lucas, Charles

Where built: Battery Point, Hobart, Tas

Official Number: 105692   

Dimensions (ft)—Length: 62.20 Breadth: 18.20  Depth: 5.10

Volumetric ‘tonnage’ measurements (1 ton = 100 cubic ft): Gross:<unknown>  Underdeck: <unknown>   Net: 37

Decks: 1Dk   Deck Erections: RQD?   

Stem: Clipper   Figurehead: <unknown>   Stern: Counter square raked 

PORTS and owners: HOBART'02 Harry Purdon: '05b10 Gorringe Bros (Wellington &Lowther Gorringe): HOBART'13 Gorringe Bros (Wellington &Lowther Gorringe): '19 B.Sward &G.Corringe (or Herbert Huon Sward &W.& L.Gorringe): '20b28b46b56 H.Jones &Co Ltd: '56 Leonard &Pauline Tringrove: '56b73 William Price: BICHENO,TAS@'80b86b99b08 Sea Life Centre

Fate/Status— Year: 2009  Type: Stationary  Details: At Bicheno, Tasmania.

History and details: Scow built, carvel planked, single chine. Centreboard raised by winch. First flat-bottomed chine ketch built in Tasmania, built to modified NZ scow design, built to carry logs to sawmills at Hobart, large 18' x10' hatch. 69' Lod. 60tdwt cargo. Stringy bark carvel planked, iron bark keel. Built to load logs from shallow river banks. Jackyard topsails. Hobart No.2 of 1902. Doubts by peers prior to launching caused Purdon to take boat for first trial sail in the early hours of the morning, went better than Purdon expected. Engaged in logging trade to Hobart, shallow draft suited to picking up logs from shore. 5' draft. 1912-13 fitted with auxiliary engine, Regal oil engine 14bhp. Hobart No.5 of 1913. 1920-56 carried timber for packing cases to Hobart from east & southern Tasmanian coasts (Recherche & Taranna). Said to slam badly when not laden due to shallow flat-bottom hull form. 1926 used for film "For the Term of His Natural Life" made at Port Arthur. 36.42g/26.57n by 1928. 1938 fitted out with new set of sails for Hobart Centenary regatta. 1938/02/19 participated in trading vessel race at Centenary Hobart regatta. 1939, 1940, 1942, 1946, 1948 &1949 second place in trading ketch races at Hobart regatta. Used for film Seascape after 1946 &by 1973. 1953 carrying building & case timber to Hobart. 1956 converted to night soil boat, fitted with hopper tank, took sewage from septic tanks. 1956+ night soil boat for Glenorchy, dumped spoil in Storm Bay. 1976-80 laid up at Prince of Wales Bay, Hobart, Tas. Fitted with new motors by 1986, 2x Gardner diesels. 1980/10 acquired for preservation. Beached ashore at Bicheno by 1984. 1983 & 1986 on display. 1998 preserved ashore at Bicheno. 1999 open for public inspection.

References (see Aam1^1983/2:Arhv1(P):Ash^2(P),55:Ast(P):Awb1^2007(P):Bro3(P):BRO4:Hvr1(P):Ker1(spars,P):Naa1:Ranzs10,28,46:Tmm1(P)

Research notes:See Kerr's The Tasmanian Trading Ketch.

If you can help find the Enterprise a good home then please contact Mori Flapan at Send email


On 16 June 2009 Dick Larman wrote

A very good friend of mine in Hobart is a shipwright and does conservation works for the museums. I forwarded Mike the email from Russell with the suggestion that he may have some knowledge of the vessel. He sent the following extract of his report on the vessel from 1997 compiled for the Hobart Ports Corporation. The local Hobart Maritime Museum may be the repository for the full report and photos.

From: Michael Staples
Date: 14 June 2009 5:35:56 PM
To: Richard Larman
Subject: Re: [WoodenBoatsAustralia] Demolition of the Enterprise

Hi Dick,
yes I am acquainted with this vessel, took some photos and notes in 1997 in as a guide to detailing the May Queen; extract from my report below.
It should be recorded before it is destroyed; it had some really good unmodified bits of structure and detail in it.
The destruction has been on the cards for some years.

Enterprise, Bicheno

The Enterprise  is of relevance to the May Queen  as a representative of the same class of vessel.
The Enterprise  was visited on 26/11/97.
The notes below are included, as there are some points of interest.

The Enterprise  has been on display outdoors at Bicheno for 17 years.
The vessel is in reasonable condition considering the length of time it has been on outdoor display on dry land.
The vessel is supported on the cradle used to remove it from the water, and is arranged as though alongside a timber dock; it has no protection from the weather.

The deck layout of this vessel appears not to have been altered significantly during the its working life, or after its withdrawal from service.

The decks have been fibreglassed. This is apparently reasonably, but not totally, effective in keeping water out of the interior of the hull. The fibreglass sheathing is detached from the underlying deck planking in many areas, and is detaching in places where it is turned up on to coamings and stanchions.
Part of the deck has collapsed under the grating at the stern.

The topside seams are generally open 12mm. to 14mm.
The seams in the bottom planking are up to 20mm. wide in places.
Joints in the deadwood aft are open up to 25mm.
Some seams have been splined, apparently to improve the appearance of the hull.

The stern appears to have dropped slightly, more on the starboard side, so that the hull appears distorted when viewed from astern.

The spars are apparently in poor condition around the trestle trees; attempts were being made to remove the topmasts for safety reasons and to enable repairs to be carried out.

It is interesting to note how similar Enterprise  is to May Queen  in deck layout, even though they were constructed 35 years apart, and the hull forms are quite different.

The deck mounted bilge pump appears identical.

The shaping of the boom and gaff jaws is very similar.

Features which will be of particular interest if any reconstruction work is carried out on May Queen  are,

• the method of construction and the scantling sizes employed in the deckhouse and companionway hatch.

• the system of reduction gearing with an additional shaft on the windlass, and the metal whelps fitted to the windlass drums.

• the design and scantling sizes of the centreboard case and centreboard and the fittings of the lifting mechanism.

• the arrangment of the catheads and releasing mechanism.

• details of fittings such as the headsail hanks, the mast hoops, the bobstay fittings at the stem, the mainsheet horse, and the steering gear.

• a short horse is fitted to the taffrail for the mizzen sheet.

• a vang for the main gaff with a double purchase is led to the mizzen trestle-trees. Lazy jacks are fitted on both masts.

For purposes of comparison, and some of the dimensions and details of components are recorded below;

The rail cap is 180mm. x 45mm., and is about 500mm. above the deck, amidships on the port side.
The bulwark stanchions taper from 125mm. square at the base to 115mm. square at the heads.
Backing cleats are fitted to the inside face of the bulwark planking between the stanchions at the bow.
The mizzen pin rail is 900mm. wide, and is supported on 100mm. square posts spaced on 600mm. centres.

The main pin rail is 1070mm. wide, on 100mm. square posts.

The mainsheet cleat is 470mm. long x 90mm. thick, and 105mm. in height in the middle.

The mainsheet horse is of 40mm. diameter rod, 2240mm. overall width.

The windlass bitts are 600mm. x 100mm.; the top is 800mm. above the surface of the bitt blocking which is thicker than the surrounding deck planking.
The windlass bitts do not extend down to the hull framing, they are mortised into 305mm. x 100mm. (12” x 4”) blocking fastened to the undersides of the deck beams.

The samson post is 210mm. square x 890mm. high.

Catheads are 120mm. square.

Cavel cleats are 60mm. x 120mm. x 1240mm.

Centreboard is 1190mm. wide x 85mm. thick.
The centreboard case is 245mm. thick. The sides are constructed of boards 250mm. x 75mm.

Deck beams are 140mm. in width x 120mm. deep, spaced on 650mm. centres.

Deck planking is 50mm.; the covering boards are 60mm. thick.

Beam shelf is 220mm. x 100mm.

Sheer clamp is 220mm. x 75mm. The sheer clamps are scarphed more or less at the same point, amidships on both sides of the hull.

Ceiling is 25mm. thick.

The keelson is 350mm. wide. Only one sister keelson is fitted, 260mm. in width; steel wear strips are fitted to the outboard edges.

The upper coaming of the deckhouse is 65mm. thick; the lower part is 80mm. thick. The roof of the deckhouse is planked with material 50mm. thick.

The main hatch coamings are 380mm. deep; the corners are joined with draining half laps.

The topside planking is 180mm. to 190mm. in width, and 50mm. in thickness. The sheer strake is about 20mm. thicker. A load mark is carved into the planking, close to the underside of the sponson.

The sponsons are fitted with steel rubbing bands.

The chain plates are not cranked at the gunwale; the lower ends are finished in a diamond shape.

Bow rollers are fitted on both sides of the stem.

Halyard blocks have plain bearings, not patent sheaves.

A continuous cavel batten is fitted inside the bulwarks amidships.

The staysail hanks, (11 are fitted), are of galvanised steel, of several different patterns. The stemhead roller for the inner forestay is similar to that fitted to the May Queen; ie. it appears to be to small for the wire diameter.

The inner end of the bowsprit has been cut off because it had become badly rotten. The heel of the bowsprit was shaped with a tenon which fitted into a mortise in the forward face of the samson post.

A dinghy similar to the one aboard the May  Queen  is carried on top of the main hatch.