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Little Dirk

Vessel Number: HV000008
Date: 1927
Vessel type: Pearling Luggers
Dimensions:
Vessel Dimensions: 8.89 m x 8.75 m x 2.88 m x 0.72 m (29.2 ft x 28.7 ft x 9.4 ft x 2.4 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Significance
LITTLE DIRK is pearl shelling lugger built by Robin Gourley in Western Australia in 1927. It was used in the pearling industry in the Shark Bay region of Western Australia. It is one of the few craft surviving from that area where the conditions are relatively sheltered and shallow compared to the deeper fields off the Broome coastline, and they dredge for the shell rather than dive. It also a one of the few craft surviving from the builder Robin Gourley.
DescriptionLITTLE DIRK is a wooden, gaff-cutter rigged vessel nearly 9 metres long. It was initially built as a net boat before being used as a pearl sheller in Shark Bay. It was designed and built by Robin Gourleyin 1927. He was based in East Fremantle WA, and is an excellent example of a boat with Gourley’s unique cartwheel stern. This stern is nearly semi-circular in planform at the deck, while the hull planking finishes almost as a double-ended shape and the rudder then hangs off the end of the hull. This configuration is an interesting mixture of details.

The pearl shelling industry in WA was one of the most significant early industries in the region, and was largely centered around Broome as a base for the pearl fields offshore. However another source of pearl shell was the shallow area in Shark Bay, further south of Broome. The craft used in this area were shallow draft, single masted and smaller vessels than the offshore capable craft working out of Broome. Although not designed to be a pearl sheller, LITTLE DIRK's size was ideal for the work and it was similar to other craft working the fields in Shark Bay.

In this region they dredged the bottom for shell, and sorted the material from the mud and other debris that came up in each load.

When it was no longer required for pearling the craft found other uses in the same area of Western Australia and was at one time converted to a motor launch for private owners. In 2013 LITTLE DIRK was being stabilized and undergoing a gradual restoration project overseen by the Carnarvon Heritage Group.
Vessel Details
Current status:non-floating
Current status:non-operational
Current status:on public display
Deck layout:open/foredeck
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:canoe stern/double endedDE
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Motor propulsion:inboard
Related materials:photos
Related materials:plans
Rig type:cutter
Rig type:gaff
Spar material:timber
Additional Titles

Previous title: Tarnie

Primary title: Little Dirk

Previous title: Kathlyn

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