Search the Register
Advanced Search
INTOMBI is a pearling lugger built in Western Australia in 1930 as a major rebuild of the original hull that was constructed in 1903. It is one of the older extant luggers, and is the only craft related to the early 1900s Broome pearling fleet to remain in Broome. It operated under sail alone until 1939, and has had a varied career in pearling, fishing, recreational sailing and tourism. In 2010 INTOMBI remains operational as a tourist excursion boat in Broome WA.
DescriptionINTOMBI was originally built by Chamberlain and Cooper boat builders at South Beach, Fremantle, Western Australia, but 26 years later was significantly rebuilt. INTOMBI means 'young maiden' in Zulu, and was built for pearling master Penn Blick who had come from South Africa. William Chamberlain Jnr, and his father WA Chamberlain were well-known boat builders, and at this time William Jnr had formed a partnership with George Cooper which ended in 1910.

In its existing configuration INTOMBI is nearly 15 metres long, carvel planked with a full bodied hull form. It also has a long raked keel with relatively deep draught at the heel, and in some respects these lines share charcteristics with the Thursday Island style of lugger. It is powered by a Detroit Diesel and rigged for sailing as a gaff ketch.

INTOMBI was one of the many luggers that were substantially rebuilt and lengthened during their pearling life, but the work was carried out as a 'refit' of an existing vessel to avoid issues associated with registering a new craft. INTOMBI grew nearly 5 metres during the work, which was carried out using Japanese indentured labour on the Roebuck Bay foreshore at Broome in 1929, under the guise of being 'repairs'.

Broome was INTOMBI's home for its pearling days from 1903 through to 1931. It changed hands a number of times, but twice belonged to the well known firm Streeter and Male. They sold it in 1931 and it went to Geraldton where it became a handline fishing and crayfishing vessel, and worked in the south west of the state until the 1970s. It then moved up the west coast and into the Northern Territory doing long line and shark fishing work. Through both periods INTOMBI changed ownership a number of times.

Eric Gudmunson was the first owner after Streeter and Male. He bought it for fishing to replace a previous lugger that had been wrecked. An interview with Eric is published in Gary Kerr's 'Craft and Craftsmen of Australian Fishing, 1870 to 1970'. Eric recalls fishing in Shark Bay and the Abrohlos Islands in winter, then south as far as Albany in summer. It was fitted with an icebox on the deck, but he could not afford an engine. This was fitted in 1939 by the next owner. During the 1930s when prices were low, it was sailed the 200 nm south to unload in Perth to avoid the freight costs on land.

Tony Larard, still well known in WA for his pearling connections and a keen supporter of the few surviving luggers, bought INTOMBI in 1979 and it returned to the pearling fields for a brief period. In 1981 Peter Herring converted it to a recreational vessel, and used INTOMBI until 2004. It was then bought by its current owners and was surveyed to carry passengers for cruises out of Broome.

In 2010 it is operating as a charter boat, and is in its ketch-rigged pearling configuration from the rebuild in 1979.

Prepared with assistance from the Register of Australian and New Zealand Ships and Boats compiled by Mori Flapan;
Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Current status:floating
Current status:operational
Deck layout:full decked
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging transom
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel-short
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Rig type:gaff
Rig type:ketch
Sail cloth:synthetic
Spar material:timber
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
ship:ships:Byzantine ships:ships:wheelhouse
Additional Titles

Primary title: Intombi

Previous title: Wendy

Previous title: Fay

Alternate Numbers

: 952

: 65493

Discuss this Object


Please log in to add a comment.