Search the Register
Advanced Search


Vessel Number: HV000632
Date: 1928
Builder: Tommy Rann
Previous Owner:
Vessel type: Pearling Luggers
Vessel Dimensions: 9.86 m x 7.86 m x 3.2 m x 0.9 m (32.35 ft x 25.79 ft x 10.5 ft x 2.95 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
GARBO is a Shark Bay pearling vessel built in WA in 1928. It was built by Tommy Rann and is one of very few examples of this specialized type of pearling lugger. Although in poor condition, it is able to interpret the construction of these craft, in particular their 'cartwheel' style of stern shape.
DescriptionGARBO was built by shipwright Tommy Rann Senior in Fremantle for his father-in-law Arthur George Henfry (1873-1931) in 1928, for pearling in Shark Bay Western Australia. It is 9.86m long and 2.0m wide. It is carvel planked and was initially fitted with a centreboard and cutter rig. The rounded deck edge to the stern is framed and fitted with beams such that it gives the impression of being a section of a cartwheel, and the this type of stern used by Rann and other builders was known locally as a cartwheel stern. It is extreme;y strong and with its curved shape well suited to the dredging method it undertook.

The initial method used in Shark Bay pearl shell fishery was simply to collect it at low tide and as the resource became depleted, a move was made to harvest in deeper water by dredging. The dredges were constructed like a wire basket attached to a steel or iron round-bar frame with a flat blade or knife at the lower edge of the opening. They were fastened to the luggers by a ‘dredge line’ that was approximately seven fathoms long (12.5 metres) and they could tow up to four dredges at one time, the speed of the drag controlled by the trim of the sails.

Arthur George Henfry was a second generation pearler, who had pearling leases totalling some 1457 acres near Well Bank, on the western shore of Useless Inlet. When he died in 1931, GARBO was sent up to Onslow where it was part owned by Snow Everett. Eventually it came to Fremantle where Tommy Rann removed the original centreboard and installed a false keel for the new owner, Jim Brown, a former fisheries inspector. He used the vessel for 3-4 years before selling it to the Western Australian Fisheries Department in 1954, and GARBO took on a new role as a fisheries inspection vessel. The newly appointed fisheries inspector and GARBO’s skipper was Neil McLaughlin and at the age of twenty-two he sailed it back to Shark Bay to work with the fishing vessels of that area.

GARBO was disposed of by the Fisheries department and sold to J.F.Leonie of Carnarvon, who then sold it in1966 to F.A.Payne of Lesmurdie. At some point during this period its name was changed to MARIA LOUISE. Oral histories suggest it had several owners after this before it was purchased by Bill Jones of Banjup and stored on his property as an unfinished restoration project. During this time it fell into disrepair, including having a sapling beginning to grow through the hull. GARBO was acquired in 1996 by the Western Australian Museum where it has been stabilized in a cradle support, placed in storage and is used to tell the history and stories of the Shark Bay pearl fishery.

Vessel Details
Current status:non-operational
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:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:overhanging transom
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:full keel
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Rig type:gaff
Rig type:sloop
Sail cloth:cotton
Spar material:timber
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:docking keel

Discuss this Object


Please log in to add a comment.