Built 1950 In Williamstown
Builder: John Warren
Weight: about 700kgs.
Current owner: David Stott
Penguin was built in 1950 in Ann Street Williamstown by a cabinet maker named John Warren for his own use as a fishing boat on Port Phillip Bay. Hull is believed to be of Queensland maple with mahogany gunwales and trim. The design is not known, although the swept bow and wineglass stern are not usual in locally designed and built boats and is more of an English style.
She was kept in the Williamstown angling club where a model also exists on display. Here the boats were hauled out of the water on a sling and Penguin had strips of timber along the edges of the planks both fore and aft to protect the planks.
The engine is an English Stewart Turner P55 8 Horsepower twin cylinder 2 stroke petrol engine built in 1949. Still in original condition it runs well and being a 2 cylinder is quite smooth. The engine is fitted with a Dynastart which is a generator and starter motor combined in the one unit. The engine produces more power than the hull can use, so about half throttle is all that is necessary for a good speed of about 12 km/h.
By the late 1990’s Penguin had changed hands and was kept at Campbell’s Cove in the Point Cook area, where she eventually ended up on the beach under a tarp for some years, with the deck in very poor condition. We bought her in 2002 from there and had to get her into the water and towed around to the Werribee South boat ramp.
Restoration required replacing the whole deck and part of the coaming by laminating 2 sheets of 3mm marine ply to get the tight curve around the front. A few ribs were “sistered” next to those that were in poor condition.
A plywood floor was pulled off and we discovered a timber lattice type floor made with different timbers. The hull was quite sound having been sitting by the sea in a salty atmosphere but still needed scraping back to raw timber and up to 7 coats of clear finish applied.
The engine was sorted to get running well and the boat was ready for its first festival which was the Hobart Wooden Boat festival in 2003.
In the 20 years I have owned her, she has had a few partial re-restorations with some modifications to the seating for comfort. We have taken her to boat festivals in NSW, and SA on many occasions, and has been a regular at WBA events.
Her last and biggest trip was the WBA Murray River trip in 2019, on which she covered about 170 kms, over a week.