M. B. Protex c1908
Inner harbour turn of the century motor boat
Protex is a typical early 20th century small motor boat built to operate in Australia's harbours and inland waterways. She features a long counter stern, plumb stem and carvel planked hull of 3/4 inch (20mm) kauri. Her deck is white beech.
She was originally named Waikare, a Maori name for 'rippling water'. Her builder's name is unknown, but she was built around 1908 and can carry 20 souls.
She was purchased in 1934 by Nicholson Bros., a Sydney ferry and tug company, and was used to transport goods and personnel to ships and waterfront establishments, and to ferry staff from the Palmolive factory at Balmain to various city wharves. She was renamed Protex after a well known brand of Palmolive soap. Hence she was often referred to as the soap boat.
Her original petrol engine was replaced by a Kelvin diesel engine during World War II.
On Sydney Harbour in 1952 she collided with her sister ferry Provide, also owned by Nicholson Bros., off Peacock Point, Balmain East. As a result, her port side was badly damaged and she sank. She was raised and returned to service after extensive repairs.
Protex continued her service on the harbour with Nicholson Bros. until 1968 when the firm was absorbed into Stannard Bros., another ferry and tug company.
In 1970 she was leased to Mr Terry Hodgson and used as a ferry, operating from the New South Wales towns of Woy Woy and Toukley and later between Brooklyn and Dangar Island on the Hawkesbury River.
(left) Carefully lifting Protex off the dock,
and into the water (below)
Protex was presented to the Sydney Heritage Fleet by Mr Chris Stannard of Stannard Bros.
|Overall length||36ft-3in (11.05m)|
|Powered by||Kelvin, Model J2, diesel engine (22 bhp)|
|Acquired by the Fleet||1981|
The old and the new -
Protex on a recent cruise
Photo: Philip Howe
Last modified on Friday, 01-Mar-2013 14:34:53 EST