Search the Register
Advanced Search

Lady Freda

Vessel Number: HV000261
Date: 1905
Designer: EW Heywood
Vessel Dimensions: 9.75 m x 9.08 m x 2.19 m x 0.69 m, 3.94 tonnes (32 ft x 29.8 ft x 7.2 ft x 2.25 ft, 4 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
LADY FREDA, built in 1905, is a rare example of a Sydney Harbour motor launch by the renowned North Sydney-based firm of WM Ford. It was built for Mr Piers Hatton, a physician from Rose Bay, Sydney, who visited ships in Sydney Harbour by boat. The launch has a canoe-stern shape typical of this very early period of development of petrol-powered motor launches and was designed by RW Heywood.
DescriptionLADY FREDA was first registered in December 1905. It is planked in New Zealand kauri over spotted gum frames and longitudinal members, an established construction method for the period. It was fitted with a 9 kW (12 & 1.2 hp) Thorneycroft twin cylinder engine.

The designer was RW Heywood, who was establishing a name as a launch designer in this early period of motor craft design. The Sydney Morning Herald carries a report on various motor boats in the 5th August 1905 edition. Included is a mention of LADY FREDA, noting that a " 30 ft Whale-Boat" for Dr Piers Hatton was under construction at Ford's yard, along with another launch by the same designer. The term whale-boat is a comment or description of the vessel's very neat canoe stern hull shape.

In 1907 Hatton sold LADY FREDA to another harbour physician, Dr Caldwell, and he too may have used the craft to visit merchant vessels on the harbour. In 1920 it was sold to an unknown buyer and the vessel's trail of ownership was lost.

In 1980 it was sold as a sunken vessel to Peter Nicholson, who, after considerable salvage efforts, brought the vessel ashore at the waterfront in Seaforth, Sydney. By this time the craft had acquired a heavy cement keel and a hole in the cabin top, both features suggesting it had been rigged with a mast and sail at some unknown time.

In 1997 the craft was donated to the Australian National Maritime Museum as a possible craft for a volunteer restoration program. The museum accepted the craft, removed it from the shoreline, then slipped the hull to take off the concrete keel and stabilise the structure. In 2008 it was in storage. The hull and superstructure are largely original, and it is a rare survivor of an early motor launch.
Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:inside building
Current status:non-floating
Current status:non-operational
Deck layout:open/foredeck
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:canoe stern/double endedDE
Hull shape:displacement
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Motor propulsion:4-stroke4 cycle
Motor propulsion:inboard
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Motor propulsion:petrol
Alternate Numbers

Official Number: 121115

Related Sites Berrys Bay NSW

Discuss this Object


Please log in to add a comment.