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A detailed view of the cart-wheel stern on LITTLE DIRK showing the planking arrangement below the semi-circular deck-edge at the counter.

Robin Gourley

Little is known of the Robin Gourley and his brother who worked from premises in East Fremantle, from the early 1900s. Records show they built yachts, launches, fishing craft and pearling vessels.

A distinct feature used on their craft was a semi-circular plan form for the stern and outboard rudder, known as a cart wheel or rim stern. This was a feature initially quite unique to their craft, and is believed to have its origins in the time they spent in Scotland before emigrating to Australia. The idea was later copied by other builders. The intention was functional; it gave a clearer stern for handling nets over the aft quarter than one with a square transom or deck edge.

Vessels known to have been built by the Gourleys include the yachts PIONEER, LYNX, PENELOPE, MAYFLOWER (1906); the launch IVERNA 2, the fishing boats LUPIA, FELIMINA and MAFALDA and the lugger LITTLE DIRK, which is still extant in 2006 at Carnarvon WA.

Dickson, Rod 1998, They Kept this State Afloat, Hesperion Press
Kerr, Garry 1985 Craft and Craftsmen of Australian Fishing, 1870-1970, Mains'l Books