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Little True

Vessel Number: HV000618
Vessel Dimensions: 6.42 m x 2.2 m x 0.5 m (21.06 ft x 7.22 ft x 1.64 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
LITTLE TRUE is a fishing boat from Fremantle Western Australia whose pre-1900 origins are unknown. However, recollections of boat builder Lionel Austin who had sailed on it during the early 1900s indicate it may have been built as early as 1875. It was used for fishing from the early 1900s through to 1981, and from 1910 was based at Wilson Inlet near Albany. In 2013 LITTLE TRUE remains in its c1920s reconstructed arrangement with an auxiliary engine as well as a sailing rig and is on display at the Western Australian Maritime Museum, Victoria Quay Fremantle.
DescriptionLITTLE TRUE is 6.24m long, 2.2m wide and has a carvel planked hull using NZ kauri planking along with WA karri and jarrah in the supporting structure. It was an open boat, with a centreboard and a gaff sloop rig. Oral histories recorded in WA suggest it was built by two New Zealanders about 1875 and its style shows a marked resemblance to early New Zealand mullet boats. An oral history given by Lionel Austin, (1888-1968) a prominent Albany boat builder, designer and yachtsman described LITTLE TRUE as, ‘being an old boat’ (at least 25 years old) when he sailed on it at the turn of the 20th Century.

It is understood to have changed ownership a number of times until it was purchased by Bill Bushby for fishing and also took part in the inaugural regatta of the Princess Royal Sailing Club. On the advice of local fishermen in 1910 Bushby took LITTLE TRUE to Denmark, a small town located on the Wilson Inlet to the west of Albany, to try and exploit the diverse fishing opportunities that were available at that time, and obtain a measure of financial security. Bushby fished these waters until 1923, when a change in circumstances saw the vessel laid up, and eventually sold to Paul Harrison and his son Rolly. It was then rebuilt with new frames, the hull was refastened and Lionel Austin installed a 5-horse power Regal petrol marine engine.

When Rolly passed away four years later, the vessel went to his widow who later married the commercial fisherman Edward Procter in 1932. Procter used LITTLE TRUE for a variety of tasks up until his retirement in 1981. He was a fisherman on the Wilson Inlet for 48 years.

LITTLE TRUE may be one of the oldest fishing vessels in Australia if its date of build goes back from 1900 as far as 1875, and it represents the typical small fishing craft many people used to earn a living over decades in Australian coastal waters. In 2013 it is on display at the Western Australian Maritime Museum, Victoria Quay Fremantle.

Prepared from research provided by Western Australian Maritime Museum

Vessel Details
Current status:non-operational
Current status:on public display
Deck layout:open/foredeck
Deck material and construction:timber plywood
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:oar
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging transom
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:transom rudder
Motor propulsion:auxiliary motor
Motor propulsion:petrol
Rig type:gaff
Rig type:sloop
Spar material:timber

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