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Miss Australia

Vessel Number: HV000192
Date: 1954
Builder: WD Hughes
Vessel Dimensions: 11.58 m x 10.52 m x 3.96 m x 1.22 m, 16.73 tonnes (38 ft x 34.5 ft x 13 ft x 4 ft, 17 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
MISS AUSTRALIA was built in 1954 for the Miss Australia beauty contest and used as a fundraising and party boat. It is a fine example of a cruiser-sterned motor vessel. The interior finishes and embellishments are also notable examples of the prevailing tastes of the period.
DescriptionMISS AUSTRALIA was built by the WD Hughes in Elsternwick Victoria. The 11.58 m long Huon pine, carvel planked hull has a raked stem with moderate flair, a raised deck and a finely proportioned cruiser-stern. This style of stern is a little unusual on a craft of this size in the 1950s when most were finished with a wide square or cambered transom. It is understood the owner Bernard Dowd designed the vesse's styling and interior details, which is fitted out with a large amount of fine detail work on the exterior and interior. Many of the details were hand carved by Dutch immigrants. During Dowd's ownership he added the flying bridge.

Dowd was the owner of the Hickory lingere company who sponsored the Miss Australia Quest when it was re-started in 1954. He commissioned this boat initially as a prize for the quest, but instead it became a fundraising and party boat. Many of the newly crowned Miss Australia's were entertained aboard the motor cruiser.

In December 1970 the craft made its own headlines when a 16 year old youth stole the craft from its moorings at Mornington on Port Phillip and headed out in rough conditions. As soon as he heard what had happened, Dowd ordered a plane up to try and locate it. A fisheries vessel tracked the launch down mid-morning, putting a boarding party onto MISS AUSTRALIA in rough conditions to secure a towing line and apprehend the youth.

MISS AUSTRALIA changed hands at least three times, but little has changed on the vessel. The unique carvings remain, it has the same eye-catching profile, but the hull is now white all over, while in the interior the bar has been replaced with two more bunks for extra accommodation. It remains in good condition and always attracts attention when it’s out on Gippsland Lakes.

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:floating
Current status:operational
Deck layout:cabin
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber planked
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:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:launch deadwood
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Related materials:news clippings
Related materials:photos
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
ship:ships:Byzantine ships:ships:wheelhouse
Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: PS550

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