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MacPherson Robertson

Vessel Number: HV000235
Date: 1956
Vessel Dimensions: 7.92 m x 2.62 m x 1.01 m, 6.5 tonnes (26 ft x 8.6 ft x 3.3 ft, 6.6 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
MACPHERSON ROBERTSON is a rare small timber workboat built specifically for the Australian Antarctic Division as a ship-based support boat in the Antarctic and southern oceans. It operated in this role from 1956 to 1978.
DescriptionThe MACPHERSON ROBERTSON was built in 1956 with part of a donation of 3000 pounds from the Melbourne confectionary firm of MacRobertson Ltd, well known for Freddo Frogs amongst other things. Its founder and philanthropist Sir Macpherson Robertson (1859 - 1945), had been a long time supporter of British, New Zealand and Australian Antarctic endeavours.

The firm's donation was made at the request of Richard Casey, Minister of External Affairs prompted by the Director of the Antarctic Division, Dr Phil Law. The order to build the boat was placed by Dr Phil Law and it was built at Pattons Slipways, Milson Point, Sydney.

The 7.92 metre design is based on a standard workboat type used by port authorities at that time. The specifications however were modified for its work in the ice - double mahogany planking or sheathing of the hull up to the waterline for protection, bronze fittings around the propeller and bronze lifting lugs.

MACPHERSON ROBERTSON was often based aboard the Antarctic Division's icebreaker and supply ships MAGGA DAN, THALA DAN and NELLA DAN, from where it was launched and retrieved by the ship's crane. MACPHERSON ROBERTSON was used as a work boat for ship to shore operations and coastal survey trips.

The boat became surplus to requirements in 1978 and was purchased privately by David Wilson in Melbourne. Later in 1981 Wilson took it by sea to Newcastle NSW for use as a trawler on the Hunter River. He sold it in 1985 and its history until 2004 when it changed hands and was then known as PORPOISE, has not been documented.

In 2008 it had a higher cabin than the original configuration which may relate to its trawling period, but apart from minor repairs to the planking the launch still had much of the original structure intact and was in good condition. In 2010 the entire hull and superstructure were given a complete overhaul and repair . The current engine is now an 80 kw (110 hp) Ford Lees diesel.

Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Current status:floating
Current status:operational
Current status:outside
Deck layout:cabin
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:double plankeddouble-planked
Hull material and construction:wood/fibreglass
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:vee-bottomv-bottomv-sectionvee-section
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Additional Titles

Previous title: Porpoise

Primary title: MacPherson Robertson

Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: FS100Q

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