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Vessel Number: HV000379
Date: 1922
Vessel Dimensions: 20 m x 22.8 m x 17.56 m x 4.42 m x 1.83 m, 36 tonnes (65.62 ft x 74.81 ft x 57.61 ft x 14.5 ft x 6 ft, 35.42 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
PREMIER is a Tasmanian ketch that was built in 1922 by Percy Coverdale in Hobart Tasmania. It was originally called EVELINE MAY and is one of the last ketch rigged trading vessels built in the state. It has been in Tasmanian waters for more than 80 years as both a working vessel and a recreational yacht. It also saw war service in the 1940s The hull shape remains unaltered and the moderate deadrise to the hull shows the final stages of the development of the Tasmanian trading ketch.

DescriptionPREMIER was built for Arthur Sward by Coverdale at his Battery Point yard. It is about 20 metres long, carvel planked and originally named EVELINE MAY, after Sward's wife. The Sward family had operated trading ketches for at least two generations and was well known around Hobart.

The ketch's prime purpose was to take packing case material from the southern saw millers to the fruit growers on the Huon River.

After working as a trading ketch and then a scallop fishing vessel PREMIER was taken over by the Tasmanian Government in July 1938, and altered significantly by removing the topmasts, fitting a cabin and wheelhouse and installing a powerful diesel engine. It was then attached to the Police Department as a supporting fisheries inspection vessel,and given the name PREMIER.

The vessel then spent 20 years attached to the Police force working as a fisheries patrol vessel in support of ALLARA (HV000091). It was also used as a training vessel, for entertaining special guests of the Government and for rescue operations in south eastern Tasmanian waters. When the department disposed of PREMIER in 1958 it was bought privately and became a yacht based in Launceston.

During World War II it was operated by the Royal Australian Navy as a Navy Auxilliary craft from 21/3 1941 to 23/12/1943 for use as an examination vessel. It also carried out patrol work. One of the crew was Horry 'Masseur' Flynn (a relative of actor Errol Flynn) who served for many years aboard PREMIER. Don Pescud, another crew member, tells the story of PREMIER patrolling continuously around the troopship QUEEN MARY one night, armed only with a 303 rifle. The story goes that throughout its service PREMIER carried the wrong sized ammunition for the 303 rifle.

Under private ownership from 1958 PREMIER underwent further rebuilding work. In the early 1990s a team of three shipwrights replaced an extensive amount of old timber in the hull planking and structure. It had been originally fastened with iron material, and during its long working life this had caused severe deterioration to the hull. The original shape was retained, but the superstructure has been rebuilt for the third time.

In 2009 PREMIER remained in use as a private yacht, with a configuration and appearance similar to its time working with the Police department, but with a full Tasmanian gaff-topsail ketch rig.

Prepared with assistance from the Register of Australian and New Zealand Ships and Boats compiled by Mori Flapan;
Vessel Details
Ballast:cast iron
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Current status:operational
Deck layout:cabin
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:wood/dynel
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Rig type:ketch
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:timber
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
ships:Byzantine ships:ships:ship:wheelhouse
Additional Titles

Primary title: Premier

Previous title: Eveline May

Alternate Numbers

Vessel Registration Number: 17460

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