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CLS2-CARPENTARIA in drydock at the Queensland Maritime Museum in 2010


Vessel Number: HV000420
Date: 1916
Vessel Dimensions: 21.94 m x 21.49 m x 7.82 m x 2.74 m, 164 tonnes (72 ft x 70.5 ft x 25.66 ft x 8.99 ft, 161.38 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
CLS2-CARPENTARIA was one of four identical lightships built in the period 1916-18 at Cockatoo Island Dockyard, Sydney NSW. The design was prepared by David and Charles Stevenson in Edinburgh Scotland, and for over four generations the Stevenson family was at the forefront of lighthouse design in the United Kingdom, and recognised internationally as the premier builders of these crucial navigation aids. The lightships are a rare example of their work in Australia which included a number of early lighthouse designs as well. CLS2 is one of two of the four lightships have survived intact, the other CLS4 is now at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Two Stevenson designed lighthouses are also on display, one at the ANMM, the other at the South Australian Maritime Museum.
DescriptionCLS2-CARPENTARIA was ship number 47 at the Cockatoo Island Dockyard. It is built of riveted steel plate construction, and had a lens manufactured by Chance Bros in the UK, who also worked closely with the Stevensons as they evolved their lighthouse designs over many decades. The light had 1500 candle power and a range of 10 nautical miles. The vessel also had a large bell that rang as the vessel rolled in the swell and provided an additional warning in low visibility.

The lightships were rotated in pairs at the locations where they were assigned. In 1919 CLS2-CARPENTARIA was assigned with CLS4 to Merkara Shoal in the western approaches of Torres Strait off Cape York, Queensland. However because of costs and funding constraints they lay idle in Brisbane for seven years until 1926 when they were finally deployed. One was held in reserve at Townsville while the other was moored on station, and in 1927 they were rotated for the first time.

CLS2-CARPENTARIA was moved after a couple of years and spent most of its working life marking the Carpentaria Shoals, and had the name CARPENTARIA painted on its topsides. Periodically it was transferred to Breaksea Spit off Sandy Cape in Queensland. In 1983 it was towed to Bass Strait to serve as a traffic separator for the shipping in the oil fields, and was retired from service in 1985.

It is now on display at the Queensland Maritime Museum, sharing the dry-dock with HMAS DIAMANTINA.

Prepared from research supplied by Queensland Maritime Museum
Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:steel/iron
Deck layout:full decked
Deck material and construction:steel/iron
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:steel
Hull shape:canoe stern/double endedDE
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:plumb transomvertical transom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:bilge keels
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Related materials:drawings
Related materials:photos
Related materials:plans
Spar material:iron/steel
Current status:museum vessel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:docking keel

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