KIEWA is a motor launch built in 1913 at the Lawrence Boatbuilders yard for the Commodore of the Royal Perth Yacht Club, Dr W Trethowan. It is an example of a motor launch that shows the development of the craft in Western Australia. It has American styling although the designer is from Perth, and represents a recreational craft from the Lawrence boatyard who were well-known builders of many types of craft in this period.
DescriptionKIEWA was built in 1913 at the W &S Lawrence boat yard in Perth WA to a design by local designer John Easton. It was carvel planked in New Zealand kauri with blackwood timbers, jarrah keel and floors, Oregon risers and sheer clamps, clench nailed and copper fastened throughout. The hull has a canoe stern and the stem is raked forward about 300mm. Combined with its pronounced sheer forward it shares an American style to its profile. It is 12.19m (40 Ft ) long and originally powered by a 35 hp Ailsa Craig motor.
The layout features a large saloon furnished in Queensland maple opening aft to a cockpit, while the engine room is forward of midships. The name KIEWA is an aboriginal word for 'sweet water'.
Its launching was recorded in ‘The West Australian’, Sat 29/11/1913,
“The new motor cruiser Kiewa, belonging to the commodore of the Royal Perth Yacht Club (Dr. Trethowan), has taken up her moorings off the clubhouse. The Kiewa is a sea-going cruiser of 40ft. overall 39ft. on the waterline, with 9ft. 4in. beam and 2ft. 10in. draught aft, on a displacement of 6.5 tons. Her frames, keel etc., are of jarrah, with 1 1/8 kauri planking on 2in. x 1in. blackwood timbers, copper fastened throughout. Following the American practice, her stem has a rake of 12in., and the hull a pronounced sheer forard, which should produce a dry boat in a seaway. There is a roomy cockpit aft, with wheel and engine controls to steersman. Opening off the cockpit there is a large saloon, with two sofas and two Pullman cots, sideboard, etc., carried out in Queensland maple; ‘midships, toilet and pantry; and roomy engine-room forward. The engine is a new model 35 h.p. kerosene petrol, built by the Ailsa Craig Motor Co., Chiswick, London. Although recently designed, one of these motors has already been supplied to the Russian Government (who are the pioneers in the development of the internal combustion engines), and as results have been so satisfactory on the lower grade fuels in cold climates, these motors and others consuming low-grade oils should command a good market in our higher temperatures. The Kiewa’s builders are the old-established firm of W. and S. Lawrence, to the designs of Mr. John Easton, N.A.”
The first owner, Dr William Trethowan, was a leading surgeon in Perth and commodore of the Royal Perth Yacht Club in 1913 where KIEWA is reported moored late in that year. He was born in 1860 at Creswick, Victoria and received his early education in Ballarat. After leaving school he worked in a bank for ten years saving money to go to medical school. At the age of 28 he entered the Aberdeen Medical School and in 1892 graduated with lst class Honours and the John Murray Gold Medal in Surgery.
After a resident appointment in Aberdeen he went to the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin and then came to Perth where he was appointed Surgeon to the Perth Hospital. At the turn of the last century he was regarded as the leading figure in surgery in Western Australia. Apart from serving the Perth Hospital for 25 years, he was also surgeon to the Perth Children’s Hospital and the Home of Peace. He is regarded still by St John of God Hospital, Subiaco as the father of that institution.
He was active in many other ways. In 1907 he was the President of the West Australian Division of the British Medical Association and was the treasurer for ten years. He was President of the St John Ambulance Association (1907). William Trethowan was one of the founders of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and was a foundation Fellow.
In 1915 he saw service in Lemnos and in Egypt as a surgical specialist with the rank of Major, returning to Australia with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Outside of medicine William Trethowan was a good golfer and a keen yachtsman, becoming Commodore of Perth Yacht Club in 1913. Later he was elected President of the South Perth Golf Club. William Trethowan died in 1929.
From 1913 until 1944 KIEWA features in reports about races it took part in, other club events and assisting with many skiff and dinghy racing regattas. In 1944 it was fitted with a new motor, a 75 hp 6 cyl. Kermath diesel and in October that year put up for sale.
Its subsequent history is then not recorded. The current owner has had a long and gradual restoration under way since 1998 by shipwright Kevin Hart. Most of the planking and many frames have had to be replaced as part of the process, but now finished in 2013 it has retained its classic styling from the early days of motor craft.
Compiled with reference to the Kiewa website www.kiewa1913.com and the Register of Australian and New Zealand Ships and Boats 2012 www.boatregister.net.au
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:canoe stern/double endedDE
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:launch deadwood
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV