This historic Vessel that predates the formation of Australia was built in the colony of Victoria in 1898. The 14’ foot “Flattie” was popular for line fishing at the time as it could easily be rowed and handled by one man and was inexpensive to build. At the end of the 19th century Victoria was coming out of the recession of the late 1890’s and fishing the shallows of Hobsons Bay was a popular way with no work available, to feed the family. Many boats of this style were built on the beaches of Port Melbourne lagoon, Albert Park and the new the outer suburb of Middle Park around this time. Many were amateur built out of local unsuitable timbers and only lasted a few short years

The Builder

This boat was built by an experienced boat builder from very high-quality full-length knot free Kauri and King Billy Pine planking and Spotted Gum ribs. (following a Shipwreck in a storm of Williamstown A sailing ship lost its deck cargo of Kauri Pine and when a large quantity of it washed up on the Albert Park and Middle Park beach the following day was quickly grabbed by the locals. It can still be seen today in the mantles and architraves of many period houses in the area!)
“Larrigai” was built in Middle Park in Victoria by John Joseph Savage in the late 1890’s at his yard behind The Oxley Net Factory in Langridge St as a rowing boat for the shallow water fishing trade on Hobsons Bay. Savage was active at the time building wooden boats in the Middle Park area and his boats at the time were notable for their traditional vertical stems. His completed boats were launched by horse drawn trolley down the ramp at the end of Langridge St. (This ramp through the Bluestone seawall is still there today)
With its vertical stem and flat stern, the boat has quite different lines from those later 14 footers built from the mid 1920’s which were more wine glass shaped at the stern with a deep deadwood suitable for the efficient installation of an engine with a low shaft angle.
To handle the changeable weather and nasty sudden southern swells that typify Port Phillip weather, boats of the day were decked with a substantial bow deck, side decks and a low coming with integral rowlocks built into it. A three-bow igloo type canvas folding canopy was a standard fitting on the better quality boats.

The Albert Park Yachting and Angling Club

Just after the turn of the century, ten anglers and yachtsmen in the area decided to form a club and build a boathouse. Some of the names were Richard (Dick) Williams, Fred Twentyman and Bill Omes, who was to go on to become the first club president. Early talks were held in the old bandstand, which was located where the present café stands today. The meeting held on Thursday night, 27th March 1909 was attended by The Mayor and Councillor’s and a membership fee of 5/-was set. Members also attended a meeting held on the 15th May 1909 at the South Melbourne Town Hall for the purpose of advocating a £5000 extension to the Kerferd Road Pier or to put on a T-piece to make a harbor. Sometime in this early 1900’s period PA031 became a resident boat in the Clubs Boathouse where it remained until removed for restoration in 2017. It is the oldest of the 25 or so, 14 foot clinker fishing boats dating from the 1930’s 1940’s; 1950’s and 1960’s that remain there today as an operating fleet.

The arrival of marine motors

During the late 1920’s the advent of inexpensive 2 stroke marine engines such as the 2 1/2 hp Chapman “Pup”, the “Simplex” and similar motors changed the face of small fishing boats forever and the ubiquitous “Putt Putt” so prevalent around the Australian coast until the 1960’s was born
In 1931 PA031 was fitted with a brand new Chapman “Super Pup” 4 ½ hp motor with a clutch. This was the top-of-the-line motor at the time. The motor remained in the boat and “operational” (just) until late 2016 when the present owner, Bob Morgan as part of the recent restoration had a new smooth running electric start 2cyl 9hp Nanni (Kubota) diesel installed. (Parts for restoring the Super Pup now being unobtainable unlike the standard Chapman Pup). The boat is fast for a boat of its type and will reach 7.5 knots one up with the NANNI in calm water. A 20 litre fuel tank and new battery is fitted.

The Restoration

All original hull planking and ribs were stripped and retained. All hull fixings, copper roved, were in perfect condition and retained and 13 sister ribs installed where the originals were cracked. All deck timbers were retained, and new thwarts fitted.  A multi coat paint and varnish finished the job. The original bronze fittings have all been retained and all new electrics fitted. The motor has done only 12 hours since installation.

The Trailer

A road registered heavy duty fully galvanized steel trailer with over-ride brakes, dual speed winch, new jockey wheel ,spare wheel and LED lights is available. The boat is offered with or without the Trailer

Boat only $11,250
Boat and Trailer $13,000
Email: or phone 0418 109 383


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Membership is open to all wooden boat enthusiasts. Many members own boats, others do not, but all enjoy the chance to get together and "muck about with boats". Their boats include rowing boats, putt-putts, radio controlled models, pond yachts, canoes, kayaks, steam-powered boats, sailing dinghies, dayboats and ocean-going yachts.

The Wooden Boat Association is based in Melbourne, with regular sailing days scheduled on Albert Park Lake, as well as other venues around Melbourne, and at least one weekend each year elsewhere in the state.

Especially welcome is the first-time wooden boat builder or restorer, who can expect to receive ample advice and assistance in getting their dream onto the water.

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