KILLALA is a wooden yacht built in 1896. It was designed and built by Arthur Merric Boyd who was the Vice Commodore of the Brighton Yacht Club in 1897, and it was sailed both on Port Phillip Bay and in Tasmania. The place where it was built has not been confirmed. It was sailed extensively by AM Boyd until sold in 1907.
DescriptionKILLALA is a carvel built yawl, with a clipper bow and overhanging transom. A reference in the Australasian on Saturday 2 January 1897 notes the yacht was christened by Mrs Boyd, suggesting it must have been built later in 1896. Arthur Merric Boyd (Senior) who designed and built the boat was the grandfather of Arthur( Merric Bloomfield) Boyd, one of Australia’s foremost painters. KILLALA is the name for the parish where the Boyd family came from in Ireland..
KILLALA was cruised by the Boyd family extensively in Tasmania. AM Boyd snr’s son, Martin, mentions KILLALA in his biography "A Single Flame". In the following excerpt he talks about a year he spent in Tasmania, and sailing on the boat:
"My father had a small yacht in which he used to cruise round the rivers of Tasmania with my brothers. Once I went with them, but I was too young for my brothers, and I used to go ashore with my father. He would stop for so long talking to yachtsmen and fishermen that I became inexpressibly bored, and asked to go back to join my mother in Melbourne. I was allowed to go as our parents never put purposeless restraints on us, but I think that my father was puzzled and hurt that I should abandon anything so agreeable as a cruise. A few years later I used to drive round with him in the country when he would pull up and talk to the farmers. This enabled me to read the whole of Scott’s novels, one of which I always brought in my pocket. On the Tasmanian trip after my brother’s illness, my father was so hard up that he had to sell his yacht, but my grandmother bought it and gave it back to him.
While we were in Tasmania my second brother and I went to Hutchin’s School in Hobart. We crossed twice a day in the ferry-steamers from Bellerive where we lived. We used to sail a good deal in my father’s yacht and we were always making excursions."
The Examiner (Launceston), Tuesday 2 December 1902 page 7 mentions a "Killala Trophy".
TAMAR YACHT CLUB
A race will be held on Saturday, 6th December over the Regatta Course, starting at 2.40 p.m. sharp. Prizes:-first, "Killala" trophy, presented by E. M. Boyd. Esq. of the Brighton (Vic.) Yacht Club; second and third, out of entrance fees. Entries close Thursday, 4th December between 7 and 8 p.m. - A. G. GUY, Hon. Sec.
The Launceston Examiner 3 March 1905 page 7 is the last reference to AM Boyd owning the yacht; in the Mercury (Hobart) on 5 October 1907 it notes "At Bellerive, the Killala, which was brought here by Mr H. C. Boyd from Melbourne, is having a thorough over-haul. Her new owner, Mr A. B. Howell, has altered her rig from lug to gaff sails, and she will now sail as a cutter. Her new suit is from the loft of Messrs. J. McMillan and Alf. Dale, two enthusiastic yachtsmen, who have just started in the business."
KILLALA is then reported racing occasionally with the Domain Sailing Squadron, which became the Derwent Sailing Squadron. During World War I it was moored off the old Sandy Bay Baths now known as Short Beach, Battery Point .
In 1918 it was purchased by Mr Rupert Pennefather and taken to Launceston. It was registered with B Division of the Tamar Yacht Club from 1923. Both Alec Campbell (who lived to become Australia’s oldest surviving Gallipoli veteran) and his brother Malcolm regularly raced on KILLALA.
In 1927 KILLALA was registered with the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania under the ownership of Mr Norman Southey. He sailed KILLALA from Hobart to Sydney in 8 days in 1928 . An account of the trip appears in the June I 928 issue of the Australian Motor Boat and Yachting Monthly. At that time it was the smallest yacht to make the trip. Exact departure and arrival dates are not known, however based on the account and description of the weather they encountered it is assumed the trip was sometime in January or February. The crew was Norm Southey, Don Love and Doug Robertson.
The history is not recorded until an unknown date during WWII when KILLALA was purchased by a lady for her 12 yr son, Mr John Hickey. Mr Hickey is believed to have used the boat for offshore fishing and was often caught out in gales. He told a later owner John Hishon that KILLALA handled very well and he would sit out gales hove to under mizzen only.
The history is then missing again until the 1970s when KILLALA was purchased by Mr Cyril Bentley. By this time it had been converted to a Bermudan cutter with its sail area reduced and the cabin changed and made higher to give more room below. A Blaxland engine was installed replacing a Ford motor. The mainmast came from a Bluebird, utilising their 3/4 rig by setting a Yankee and topmast stay from the masthead and the setting the staysail from the normal Bluebird forestay position. KILLALA sailed with the Lion Island Group from 1975 to 1981 starting in 53 races and winning 10 of them.
KILLALA was then sold to Formit Fibreglass PIL when it was traded in on a new Tophat hull and deck. It remained in their ownership and was left on a mooring in MCCarrs Creek. Sales Manager Michael Garrett tried to organize a syndicate to convert it back to the original gaff rig but the project never eventuated.
In January 1983 KILLALA was purchased by John Hishon who started restoring it while it was still in the water. KILLALA was later transported to his home at Newport and then moved to a yard in Polo Ave Mona Vale. In 1993 KILLALA was given to Richard Feathers and moved to his shed in Duffy's Forest where it was purchased by boat builder Ian Thomas in 1996 and moved across to his own shed in Duffy's Forest. The restoration was initially treated as a part-time project to be done at times when no work available. Progress was gradual and by early 2002 the frames and structural timbers had been replaced and it was ready for a new deck and cabin. On March I7 2003 KILLALA was relaunched at Church Point and re-christened by Ian's father Mr Gwyn Thomas, a day before his 80th birthday.
After sailing on Pittwater it was transported to the Hobart Wooden Boat Festival in February 2005, although before this happened it was sold to the current owner. Since its return from Hobart later that year KILLALA has remained around Pittwater and Sydney. It has competed regularly in the biannual Gaffers Day event at the Sydney Amateur Sailing Club and in 2013 won the 2nd Division in a very strong westerly, with America’s Cup crew Rob Brown at the helm.
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber planked
Deck layout:decked with cockpit
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:tiller
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:overhanging stem
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder