Search the Register
Advanced Search
JULIE BURGESS under full sail in Bass Strait

Julie Burgess

Vessel Number: HV000366
Date: 1936
Builder: EA Jack
Previous Owner: Burgess family ,
Vessel Dimensions: 19.51 m x 5.06 m x 2.44 m, 38.62 tonnes (64 ft x 16.6 ft x 8 ft, 38 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
JULIE BURGESS is an auxiliary gaff rigged ketch used for cray fishing in Tasmania for fifty years from the 1930s. It is a commercial vessel type that is closely associated with Tasmania, in particular with the well known Tasmanian trading ketches. JULIE BURGESS was one of the last of the gaff rigged ketches with a Tasmanian ketch rig to be built. It shows the final development of these vessels before Bermudan rigs and then powerful engines became the primary source of propulsion. JULIE BURGESS is amongst the largest, and last, surviving examples of the once ubiquitous Tasmanian working craft that used sail as their primary source of power. JULIE BURGESS is one of perhaps only two Tasmanian ketches built before World War II that can be brought back to sailing condition and has been a well-recognised feature of Devonport's waterfront for many decades.
DescriptionJULIE BURGESS was built in 1936 for the Burgess family at Launceston by E. A. Jack, one of the leading shipbuilders of Tasmania from the 1880s through to the 1930s. The 19.5 metre long hull is carvel planked. It has a veed hull form that suits its operation in open sea conditions which contrasts with the flat bottomed trading ketches that operated on the Tasmanian rivers. It features the Tasmanian ketch rig, commonly seen on the Tasmanian trading ketches, and this rig includes topsails on both the main and mizzen mast. JULIE BURGESS used jib headed topsails to suit the windier conditions where it operated, while many of the trading ketches carried larger jack yard topsails for use on the rivers.

JULIE BURGESS has strong connections to the fishing industry and the northern coast of Tasmania. Its owners were the Burgess family which had an unbroken connection with the maritime trades of Bass Strait from the 1850s. The Burgess' were one of the pioneers of cray fishing in Tasmanian waters, especially in Bass Strait. Captain Dick Burgess AM, the last family member to own JULIE BURGESS, was also Master Warden for the Devonport Port Authority.

The vessel's wartime service included an important operation in late 1939 to survey and repair the submarine communications cable connecting Tasmania to the mainland, when a fault developed. In 1988 a dedicated community effort refitted the vessel so that it could represent the Tasmanian north west coast in the 1988 Bicentennial Tall Ships race from Sydney to Hobart.

In 2009 JULIE BURGESS remained largely unaltered since its launch over seven decades ago. The most significant change during its working life was the replacement of the original Bergius 26 hp (19 kw) kerosene auxiliary engine with a 110 hp (85 kw) Gardner 6LX diesel. Minor alterations have been made to fittings and gear consistent with changes in usage and normal repairs over its operating life. JULIE BURGESS remains in good order, complete with its Tasmanian ketch rig, and is capable of being overhauled and returned to sailing condition.

JULIE BURGESS is an example of a Tasmanian-built seagoing auxiliary fishing vessel, a type that introduced modern fishing practices to south-eastern Australia and expanded the fishing grounds. In the 1890s when the Burgess family began cray fishing around the north coast of Tasmania they used sail powered craft to deliver live catches to major seaports. They, like the industry, evolved by adapting new technologies as they were introduced.

In 2010 JULIE BURGESS is undergoing a major restoration and overhaul under the ownership of the Devonport City Council, and will eventually be moored on the eastern side of the Tamar River at its own pontoon. It is hoped that it will be sailing in time for the Tall Ships event in 2011.
Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:floating
Current status:non-operational
Current status:not on display
Current status:outside
Deck layout:open
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:monohull
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Motor propulsion:diesel
Rig type:gaff
Rig type:ketch
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:timber
Alternate Numbers


Official Number: 152391

Discuss this Object


Please log in to add a comment.