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Vessel Number: HV000083
Date: 1945
Vessel Dimensions: 13.72 m x 13.41 m x 4.34 m x 1.52 m (45 ft x 44 ft x 14.25 ft x 5 ft)
Engine dimensions: 127.2 x 147.6 mm, 186.43 kilowatts, 6 cylinders (5 x 5.8 in, 250 horsepower)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
NABILLA is a timber tug and tow boat built in 1945 in Stockton NSW. It is an example of a wooden tug built for service in World War II and then afterwards used in other service, in this instance NABILLA was used by the South Australian Harbors Board.
DescriptionNABILLA was one of the many vessels built around Australia during World War II for wartime service. It was given the number AT2239. NABILLA was built at a yard owned by Slazengers. This firm established a wartime yard building barges and motorized scows at Putney in Sydney NSW, on the Parramatta River. They even took over the local theatre for space to build some of the joinery work. However Slazengers also expanded their production to a yard in Stockton, and NABILLA was built at this site.

This tug would have been one of many vessels built after the Japanese threat to the Pacific became extremely serious from early 1942 onwards. Initially new craft were needed in a hurry and yards were soon mobilised to build them as quickly as possible. Slazengers had experience in wood lamination through building tennis rackets, and this was apparently enough background for them to be engaged in wooden vessel production.

NABILLA is a 13.7 metre long timber tug, designed in Australia but influenced by American designs, which used the term 'towboat'. One of the design factors was that the hulls would fit through railway tunnels. NABILLA was built toward the end of the war and was used to tow supply barges amongst the island groups around Papua New Guinea and nearby once they were regained from Japanese control. Most of the vessels were then decommissioned after the war. In 1954 the South Australian Harbors Board purchased five of these tugs, and NABILLA found use In Port Lincoln SA for many years before being transferred to other ports. It was finally sold by the SA government to a fisherman at Carpenters Rocks, SA.

In 2006 NABILLA has been put on display, out of the water, at the Axel Stenross Maritime Museum in Port Lincoln, SA.

(Prepared from research material supplied by Axel Stenross Maritime Museum and private material from BJ Browne)
Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:hard stand/cradle
Current status:non-operational
Current status:on public display
Current status:outside
Deck layout:cabin
Deck layout:full decked
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Hull shape:plumb transomvertical transom
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Related materials:drawings
Related materials:news clippings
Related materials:photos
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
ships:ship:Byzantine ships:ships:wheelhouse
Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: S222

: AT2239

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