General Botany Bay workboat / passenger launch
Berrima was built by Fisher Bros. at La Perouse for Australian Oil Refinery Ltd., (Caltex Oil Refinery) at Kurnell. Her name was A.O.R.1 when she was launched in 1955.
She was originally fitted with a characteristic Fisher rounded-shape cabin with eight small drop-down windows which proved quite unsuitable for the choppy waters of Botany Bay. The cabin was later replaced by a more conventional wheelhouse.
When A.O.R.1 was launched she was leased to Stannard Bros. who had the contract to supply all launch and other marine services during construction of the wharf at Kurnell. A.O.R.1 was put into service as a general workboat and passenger launch when construction of the refinery was completed later in 1955, and remained in that service for over 30 years.
At the time A.O.R.1 was launched, Stannards already had a contract with the Maritime Services Board to supply a pilot cutter for all shipping movements into and out of Botany Bay, and A.O.R.1 provided this service for around ten years until replaced by the MSB's own pilot cutters.
Stannard Bros. later purchased A.O.R.1 and renamed her Berrima. She was originally fitted with a six-cylinder Lister diesel engine. This was replaced with a four-cylinder Fordson diesel with which the launch was found to be underpowered. A Gardner diesel was later fitted and this improved performance considerably.
The first skipper of A.O.R.1 was Roy Kent who took delivery of the vessel when she was launched in 1955. The above notes are based on a letter to the Fleet, written by Roy, on 17th November 1998.
She was donated to the Sydney Heritage Fleet by Stannards and has since been fully restored by Fleet volunteers.
Last modified on Friday, 01-Mar-2013 14:34:48 EST