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Vessel Number: HV000278
Date: 1940
Previous Owner: Queensland Government ,
Vessel Dimensions: 17.98 m x 17.37 m x 4.57 m x 1.73 m, 36.42 tonnes (59 ft x 57 ft x 15 ft x 5.66 ft, 37 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
WANGADIR is a large motor cruiser built by Watts and Wright in Brisbane in the late 1930s for the Federal Government's Department of Health. Designed for use on the Queensland coast as far north as the Torres Strait, the craft was big enough to undertake longer passages and operate in open waters. It saw service during World War II and then fulfilled a variety of duties for the Commonwealth Government, before becoming a fishing vessel. It is typical of the style of a Queensland-built vessel of the period and the arrangement and structure remain largely original after almost 70 years.
DescriptionPreviously known as CALOPUS II when launched, the vessel was built in 1940 by the firm Watts and Wright at Bulimba, Brisbane, one of a group of yards in the same area which included Norman R. Wright’s well-known business. Alec Wright was a brother of Norman Jnr, and the two had worked together for many years before Alec set up his own firm.

The 17.98 metre (59 feet) long carvel planked hull has simple but elegant and well-proportioned styling typical of commercial craft of its type. WANGADIR has a wheelhouse just forward of midships, with its sole at deck level. The cabin over the saloon area is lower because the saloon sole is set down into the hull. This reduces the impact of the superstructure on the craft's overall appearance. Instead of a raised deck it has raised bulwarks over the forward hull, and a mast on the foredeck.

Bob White, the son of a previous owner, noted the craft was beautifully fitted out with a polished wood interior, good lighting and ventilation, a copper sheathed hull and brass rubbing band at the gunwale. The mast carried an emergency sail, and it originally had a low revolution Scottish diesel engine, long range tanks and double battery banks. He recalls it handled big seas well with its high bows, and when he was aboard as a child, he commandeered the steamer deckchairs it carried, and sat at the stern trolling for mackerel.

National Archive records show that the boat was operated by the Department of Health. It appears to have been renamed WANGADIR, an Aboriginal word for shooting star or meteor, but it is not known when this name change occurred, In 1943 the records indicate that it was released to the navy and saw service along the Queensland coast. After the war WANGADIR was again operated by the Commonwealth Government as part of the Quarantine Service, ferrying doctors to incoming ships and fishing vessels on the Queensland coast. Later it was based at Townsville where it became a survey vessel, and serviced navigation aids and lighthouses along the Great Barrier Reef.

After its government service the vessel was sold at auction in the early 1950s to Mickey Watkins who used it as a fishing craft in the Gulf of Carpentaria. At this time it had a Gardner diesel installed. WANGADIR was later sold again and converted to a private recreational vessel.

One of the only visible modifications to have been done recently has been to extend the cabin top over the side decks to increase the shaded area, now recognised as an important consideration in the tropics. WANGADIR remains in use as a recreational vessel.
Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Current status:operational
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Deck material and construction:wood/fibreglass
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:monohull
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:skeg rudder
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Spar material:timber
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
ships:ship:Byzantine ships:ships:wheelhouse
Additional Titles

Previous title: Calopus II

Primary title: Wangadir

Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: KK521Q (QLD)

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