XLCR is a sail and auxiliary-engine powered fishing trawler built in the early 1900s. It has a very close association with northern NSW coastal regions where it was built and remained operating commercially for 70 years.
DescriptionXLCR was built by Augustus Stuart Green, a son of the famous sculler RAW Green. It is understood to have been designed by Green in collaboration with its first owner, Captain Bill Paddon and built early in the 1900s.
The 14.63 metre long hull was built as carvel planked featuring a plumb stem and long counter stern and had a gaff-ketch rig. It now has a diesel engine, and a wheelhouse which was added in the 1950s.
From its launch until the mid 1980s XLCR operated as a fishing trawler under three different owners. Paddon operated XLCR from Yamba on the NSW north coast, introducing longline fishing and jewfish netting and even went as far south as Moruya. When Tom Radley and Francos Crochet bought the vessel in 1927 it was moved to Port Macquarie on the mid-north coast, where they pioneered fish trapping.
During this period it doubled as the rescue boat for the 18-foot skiff regattas that were held in Port Macquarie up until World War II, and in the 1950s was the rescue boat on the Hastings River.
XLCR was involved in the rescue of the fishing smack NINA MEG at Yamba early in its career, however it was most well known for its wartime role in the rescue of survivors from the sinking of the SS WOLLONGBAR, on April 29 1943.
At the time of the sinking XLCR had been fishing for snapper off the coast. Prior to that the crew thought they spotted the light of a submarine on the surface recharging its batteries. On the night the WOLLONGBAR sank, XLCR had tied up at the docks in Port Macquarie when the crew heard of the sinking. Skipper Claude Radley and his crew took XLCR across the bar in dangerous seas and headed for Crescent Head with the full knowledge that the Japanese submarine was still in the area. A Catalina plane guided XLCR to the WOLLONGBAR's liferaft with its five survivors and then XLCR landed the survivors back at Port Macquarie.
The Radley family sold XLCR in 1967 and it went to Lakes Entrance NSW where it was used for scallop fishing as well as for offshore work, again venturing down the south coast in search of fish.
XLCR moved to Portland Harbour, Victoria in 1990 and remained laid up there until 1997 when Bruce Jordan from Port Macquarie purchased it and took it back to the Hastings River. His intention was to give it to the community through a trust arrangement, and late in 1997 the Hastings Heritage Trust was established to manage a restoration project for XLCR .
This was to become an ongoing project, with XLCR remaining operational in the late 1990s where it made public appearences for the Blessing of the Fleet and Anzac Day ceremonies at Port Macquarie. In 2008 restoration work was being undertaken by the local TAFE college.