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HECLA in 2007, on display at the Axel Stenross Maritime Museum in South Australia.
HECLA is a wooden trading ketch built in SA in 1903. HECLA is one of the last extant examples of the South Australian flat-bottomed trading ketches, and an equally rare example of the many different types of small to medium cargo craft used around the Australian coastline.
DescriptionHECLA was built in 1903 by shipwright Thomas Beauchamp at his yard in Birkenhead, Port Adelaide South Australia. It was built for Captain C.C. Dale also of Birkenhead. He named it after his daughter, who had been named after the volcano Mount Hekla in Iceland- Captain Dale had been born in Iceland.

HECLA was built for trading to Port Price. It was a general cargo vessel for much of its long life in South Australian waters, although at one point it was sold to fishermen in Port Lincoln. The wooden hull is ketch rigged and features a drop board and the typical flat-bottomed hull sections of the type. This enabled the craft to sit upright on the sand as the tide ran out and cargo could then be offloaded to be carted ashore.

When launched HECLA carried patent stockless anchors, an innovation for the time and in 1915 it was also possibly the second ketch from Port Adelaide to be fitted with an engine. The engine was changed a number of times. In 1942 it was a 30 hp Murray Onga petrol/kerosene motor that was then replaced by a 22 hp 6 cylinder Wisconsin kerosene engine. In 1957 this was changed to a 62 hp 4 cylinder LA diesel, and then in 1963 the existing Perkins diesel was installed.

An unusual use for the vessel early in its career involved trials and experiments for a manned torpedo that had been invented by Captain Dale. The experiments were done in great secrecy and at night on the North Arm of Port Adelaide. The torpedo was unfortunately lost when the vessel grounded in the outer harbour and the torpedo rolled off the deck at midships.

Under its final owner, HECLA serviced Thistle Island carrying wool, stock and equipment. As its use became infrequent a pump was fitted to keep the bilges dry, and it was run by a deck mounted windmill. In 1978 this became clogged one day and it sank, but HECLA was re-floated undamaged four days later.

In 1980 the craft was taken from the water to a site for a new museum at Kipling Cotes Fauna Park, but the museum was not established.

In 1987 HECLA was bought by the Axel Stenross Maritime Museum and moved to their site on the coast in Port Lincoln. It remains there on display as one of the last examples of a South Australian trading ketch.

(Prepared from research material supplied by Axel Stenross Maritime Museum)
Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Current status:hard stand/cradle
Current status:non-floating
Current status:non-operational
Current status:on public display
Deck layout:full decked
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:flat bottom
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging transom
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:dagger boarddrop board
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Related materials:news clippings
Related materials:photos
Rig type:ketch
Sail cloth:cotton
Spar material:timber
Additional Titles

Primary title: Hecla

Previous title: Miss Hecla

Alternate Numbers

Official Number: 117421

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