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WATTAMOLLA (c1938) & APOLLO (1953?)

Mal Edmonds is seeking the whereabouts of two boats that were associated with his younger years, the Wattamolla (photo top left) and Apollo (photo top right).


"I am trying to trace the whereabouts of a 16' clinker launch (if it is still in existence) or what happened to it. In the late 1940's my father and brother purchased the boat from the builder F. ALLSOPP of KITCHENER ST KOGARAH SYDNEY. They finished fitting it out themselves and installed a 5hp simplex motor in it and named it WATTAMOLLA. The boat was built of NZ kauri with spotted gum timbers and was a imaculate job. The boat was used on the Port Hacking river as we had a weekender at Mainbar at that time. Weekdays the boat was left at Holeroyds boatshed in Dolans Bay. In the early 1960's (or 1950s?-ed.) my brother sold the boat as we had started to build a 27'  fishing boat (the Apollo). I think the chap that brought it was the electrician that did the wiring on our weekender and lived at Caringbar, and I think the boat stayed on the river but I am not certain of this."


"The Apollo that I mentioned may still be somewhere on the Port Hacking River. It was 27' long x 10' beam x 3' draft. The planking was 1 inch spotted gum below waterline and Oregon topsides. She was powered by a 4 cylinder Gardner diesel. The boat was designed by Arthur Swinfield and built by my brother and myself at Hurstville in the early 1950s. I cannot trace who it was sold to but believe it stayed on the Port Hacking River probably in area of Yowie or Gymea Bays. My sister in law says she can remember that two brothers called Smith bought the boat and it was moored in Neal's Inlet off Yowie Bay."

Another Allsopp launch

"What started me off on this is that I am at the moment restoring a 16' launch built by the same builder as Wattamolla, F.N.ALLSOPP (photos below). He built mainly launches, a lot of them for Chapman. It still has the original builders plate on it, and I would say built about the same time if if not a bit earlier. After all that time is in really good condition for it age. It too has a 5hp Simplex, a very early model so I would say it is the original motor and is in good condition. I should have the boat in the water about mid September."

"This boat was probably built in the 1940s or 1950s by F.N.Allsopp. One of the early owners was Chris Gaulton, but whether it was built for him we are not sure. In it's early years, it was kept at the Malabar R.S.L. boat ramp and we think it was part of a hire fleet. The fleet were reportedly all of very similar boats but if they were all built by Allsopp we don't know."

"After that, the boat spent some years in a yard in Victoria St, Malabar. In 1983 the boat was purchased by Dane Bursford. He seemed to thing the boat was once the club boat for the Sussex Inlet R.S.L. so perhaps it has always been owned by an R.S.L. Club up to this time."

"Dane Bursford used the boat for a number of years pro-fishing on St. George's Basin until he laid the boat up in a shed at his home at St. Georges Basin. It lay there for 10 years. I bought the boat in October 2003 off Dane Bursford."

"Dane is still going into the history of the boat. He seems to think that some of the older members of the Malabar R.S.L. would remember the boat. He also knows of somebody in Sussex Inlet that knew of the boat in its earlier years."

If there is anyone who knows the whereabouts or fate of Wattamolla or Apollo, please contact Mal Edmonds at  or Mori Flapan at:

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