Search the Register
Advanced Search

Olive May

Vessel Number: HV000202
Date: c 1880
Vessel Dimensions: 12.8 m x 12.19 m x 2.44 m x 1.22 m (42 ft x 40 ft x 8 ft x 4 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
OLIVE MAY was a Tasmanian fishing boat from the early 1900s that became one of the first vessels in Tasmania to fish for scallops. Its original double ended hull shape and construction are characteristics of the early passage boats of the D'Entrecastreaux Channel, and OLIVE MAY is thought to have originally been a passage boat but operating under a different and unknown name. It is now registered to carry passengers and remains in operation as one of Tasmania's oldest vessels in commercial survey.

DescriptionOLIVE MAY is 12.8 m long, 2.44 m wide, 1.22 m deep and clinker planked in Huon pine. Graeme Broxam is researching its background and his work indicates OLIVE MAY became the vessels name about 1900 when it became a fishing boat, but it is not known with certainty what its original identity was. It is however structurally identical to known passage boats FANCY (b1885, still extent) and MAYFLOWER ex LAURA LOUISE (b c1879, accidentally destroyed by fire in 2000), confirming the origins as a passage boat. The passage boats derived their characteristic shape and construction from the American whaleboats operating in Tasmanian waters in the early 1800s. Passage boats were bigger than the whaleboats and sailed in the rough and dangerous D'Entrecasteaux Channel, originally known as the South-West Passage. They fished or carried freight and passengers. Once a common vessel, very few are thought to have survived.

In his book 'Those that Survive', notes that the original double-ended stern, visible in a 1913 image of the boat, also had a small fantail extension added at deck level. This was later altered significantly in the 1930s by noted Tasmanian builder Percy Coverdale. The planking was spread out to form an elliptical counter stern. These modifications allowed the boat to work in scallop fishing and it was one of the first boats to do so in Tasmania. In the 1950s the forecastle was raised to improve accommodation, the bulwarks were also raised and the stern squared off.

OLIVE MAY was owned by the Appleton family for more than 70 years. The Appletons were well known operators in scallop fishing and OLIVE MAY was used as one of their vessels that dredged for scallops around Hobart and later the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. An early report in the local press concerning OLIVE MAY is a note in 1907 that the OLIVE MAY, fishing smack, was weatherbound in Triabunna. In 1916 Appleton wrote a letter to the Mercury, noting at the end where he signed off that he was connected to the " smack OLIVE MAY".

In 1927 the vessel helped search for a missing fisherman, but then on 16 June 1952 it had its own problems when it was holed and sunk off Bruny Island while fishing, but it was salvaged two days later.

After a dormant decade laid up in Victoria Dock, Hobart from the late 1970s, new owner Martin Wohlgemuth refitted OLIVE MAY in 1985 to take passengers. He operated the craft around Bruny Island and the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. In 2008 new owners operated OLIVE MAY from Dover in the same waters. In survey to carry 12 passengers it operates under sail and motor and has a gaff cutter rig.

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:floating
Current status:operational
Current status:outside
Deck layout:cabin
Deck layout:open/foredeck
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:batten seam
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:clinkerglued lapstrakelapstrake
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging transom
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:dagger boarddrop board
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Rig type:cutter
Rig type:gaff
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:timber
ships:ship:Byzantine ships:ships:wheelhouse
Alternate Numbers

Sail Number: PESC 01

Vessel Registration Number: 154

Discuss this Object


Please log in to add a comment.