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Vessel Number: HV000660
Date: 1907
Vessel Dimensions: 13.26 m × 13.14 m × 2.96 m (43.51 ft × 43.11 ft × 9.71 ft)
Classification:Vessels and fittings
VALDURA is wooden ferry built in Perth by T Hill in 1912. It is one of the fleet of Val-boat ferries that formed the Swan River Ferry Company and the ferries operated from 1904 until World War 2. This was one of the primary ferry services for the region which were also a major form of transport in the early period, and VALDURA is the only surviving ferry from this well-known service. It represents a stage in the evolution of transport on the Swan River and Fremantle from the 1850s to the present day, and the legacy of pioneering Scandinavian maritime migrants. It is now on display at the Western Australian Maritime Museum.
DescriptionT Hill built VALDURA in 1912 to carry 76 passengers. It has a similar hull shape to VALDEMAR, VALDAVIA and VALTHORA with a narrow easily driven hull. The vessel was constructed around a jarrah centreline structure with 30 mm kauri planking, fastened to double timbers that were 45 mm x 22 mm on 150 mm centres. Its first mode of propulsion is uncertain, however it is known that VALKYRIE was installed with a 15 hp double cylinder ‘Union’ engine with an exhaust condenser and overhead exhaust muffler, and it is likely that VALDURA was fitted with the same machinery installation.

Sutton and Olsen’s heirs continued the service until 1935 when they sold the fleet to Nat Lappin the proprietor of Swan River Ferries Company. The Val-boats continued to provide ferry services and ‘may be hired for picnics, river excursions and fishing outside of the mole, (entrance to Fremantle Harbour) with trips to Rottnest, Rockingham and the islands.’

After the outbreak of World War 2 two of the fleet were requisitioned by the military and taken to the Middle East. .After the war in 1949, Nat Lappin put the fleet on the market as he was unable to complete against other forms of public transport.

Fremantle Harbour Trust purchased four Val-boats in 1953 to transport workers between the north and south wharves of Fremantle harbour. VALDURA was renamed PENGUIN and laid up for a year, during which time it underwent a complete restoration. A new superstructure, including a raised wheelhouse and enclosed forward cabin was installed, with a new 19 hp Gardner engine, fuel tanks and propeller shaft. PENGUIN (VALDURA) was eventually replaced in 1967 with a new steel general-purpose craft that although primarily designed as a ferry, could also be used for towage and pilotage work when required.

PENGUIN was eventually sold off, and from that time its history becomes obscure. It was used as a houseboat and later abandoned, becoming a derelict and shipping hazard. In 1993 the Swan River Trust donated VALDURA to the Western Australia Museum. VALDURA is restored to its configuration when used by the Fremantle Harbour Trust and it is now displayed in the Western Australian Maritime Museum, Victoria Quay, Fremantle.

Perth grew rapidly after gold was discovered in WA in 1850. Passenger transport on the Swan River grew with it as the population and settlement expanded rapidly around the foreshores. Transport between Perth and South Perth evolved from horse-drawn vehicles, to steam and motorised ferries crossing the river at the Narrows causeway between Mill Point and Perth. A ferry service between Perth and Coode Street Jetty was first operated by WF Tubbs; however it was irregular. After Coode Street Jetty was built in 1896 local residents, Rowland Penning and Fred Bailey, formed a public company, the River Ferry Company to try and provide a regular ferry service connecting South Perth with Barrack Street Jetty, Perth. By 1904, 100,000 passengers were using the Perth-South Perth ferry services when boatbuilders Sutton and Olsen started a new regular ferry service, the Swan River Ferry Company. In 1904 they completed the construction of VALKYRIE, the first of a fleet of launches to be known as the Val-boats, reflecting the two men’s Norse heritage. As the business prospered they built VALHALLA, and in 1907 the following year VALDEMAR which was the last ferry built by Sutton and Olsen. T Hill built VALDAVIA in 1907 and in 1910 built VALTHORA, completing VALFRIDA two years later for the partners. Lawrence and Sons built the two largest Val-boats VALDANA in 1919 and VALKYRIE 2 in 1925.They were double-deckers designed by T Hill and could respectively carry 228 and 245 passengers.

Prepared from research material provided by the Western Australian Maritime Museum, Maritime History Department.
Vessel Details
Cabin or superstructure material and construction:timber plywood
Current status:inside building
Deck layout:cabin
Deck layout:full decked
Deck material and construction:timber planked
Hull material and construction:carvelcarvel-planked
Hull material and construction:timber
Hull shape:displacement
Hull shape:monohull
Hull shape:plumb stemvertical stem
Hull shape:plumb transomvertical transom
Hull shape:round bottom
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:keel hung rudder
Keel/centreboard/rudder type:launch deadwood
Motor propulsion:motor vesselMV
Hand propulsion/steering mechanism:wheel
ship:ships:Byzantine ships:ships:wheelhouse
Additional Titles

Primary title: Valdura

Previous title: Penguin

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