Search the Register
Advanced Search


Vessel Number: HV000439
Date: 1958
Vessel Dimensions: 13.72 m x 4.33 m x 1.9 m, 27 tonnes (45.02 ft x 14.21 ft x 6.23 ft, 26.57 tons)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
PENGHANA was built as a fishing vessel in Tasmania in 1958, and went on to become a Fisheries Patrol Vessel and then a Research Vessel, which is its current role in 2010. It was built by RF Hickman for Brian Close to an Irish North Sea design. PENGHANA has always worked in Tasmania and is well known in the maritime community.
DescriptionPENGHANA's first owner Brian Close lived in Sandy Bay, Hobart and took up fishing after the Second World War where he had served in the navy. He was also a ship's master on two different island traders and owned the fishing boat FLYING CLOUD prior to PENGHANA. He chose the design of a North Sea fishing craft from the Irish firm John Tyrell and Son. This double-ended style of craft was also used by other Tasmanian builders, but many of those were designed by the builder, rather than using a naval architect. It is a seaworthy hull form and vessels operating in the North Sea face similar conditions to those operating around Tasmania. Close was also in partnership with the builder Frank Hickman, and came to an arrangement in regards to trading his share of the business to help finance the boat's construction.

The construction took place at a shed beside the Bellerive Yacht Club, under the supervision of joiner Reg Morrisby. The hull and deck are planked in celery-top pine, copper fastened throughout. Above the shed was a dry cleaning business, and the builders tapped into their boilers to steam some of the timbers, especially the stern planks. A survey report in 1985 confirmed what was known at the time, where it notes: “This vessel was built to a very high standard, more like a yacht than a fishing vessel...".

It was launched with a small wheel-house aft, and short gaff rigged sailplan with the mast well forward. It had a wet well and dry well for storing the catch and was powered by a low revolution, three cylinder Kelvin K3 diesel engine. It was christened by Hazel Low, one of Close's sisters and launched early in 1958. The name PENGHANA is an Aboriginal word for 'river ford'. Close used PENGHANA for cray fishing and scalloping, it was licensed to carry 30 pots, and he fished all around Tasmania. One voyage involved a complete circumnavigation of the state.

After two years Close sold PENGHANA to the Tasmanian Department of Agriculture who used it as a Fisheries Patrol Vessel (FPV), a role also undertaken by ARALLA (HV000091) and PREMIER (HV000379). PENGHANA appears to have succeeded PREMIER which was retired from being an FPV around 1958. PENGHANA was given a larger wheelhouse and a raised hatch midships with a forward hatch just aft of the mast. It was provided with accommodation including four bunks in the focs’le, a mess area and two other bunks. It remained an FPV until it was refitted and modernized in 1966 to take on the role of a Research Vessel. The aft wheelhouse was removed and much larger one installed forward, while dredging gear was attached to the stern. This was completed in September 1966, and it went into service soon after.

In 1968 it was fitted with a closed circuit underwater TV system, and repowered with a Caterpillar diesel. In 1978 it was no longer required by the Tasmanian Fishing Development Authority and an arrangement was made to have the vessel used by Woodbridge School for their Marine Studies Centre programme, while still being available as a research vessel during the school holidays. For an interim period the Fisheries maintained the vessel and in 1981 it was passed over to the Education Department. It was a major acquisition but it enhanced the quality of the programmes and became a crucial part of the secondary school's studies over the subsequent years with thousands of students gaining valuable first hand experience of the marine environment.

It remains well equipped with modern instruments and electronics, keeping abreast of developments when possible. Another Caterpillar diesel was installed in 1995. In 2010 PENGHANA remains operational serving the Woodbridge School as its own research vessel and floating schoolroom under long term captain Tim Nossiter, inspiring many young Tasmanians to take up a career related to the sea.
Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:canoe stern/double endedDE
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Motor propulsion:diesel
Motor propulsion:inboard
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Related materials:film
Related materials:interviews
Related materials:news clippings
Spar material:timber
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
ships:ship:Byzantine ships:ships:wheelhouse
Alternate Numbers

Official Number: 196982

Discuss this Object


Please log in to add a comment.