Kookaburra II

The current speedboat Kookaburra was owned and operated by Joyce Bros of Neutral Bay. (Now the headquarters of Captain Cook Cruises)

Prior to WW2, Joyce Bros operated the boats from the old wharf on the Manly Promenade. During the week they were kept on a slip at Joyce Bros and only launched on Fridays for operation on the weekend. In those days there were three boats, Koala, Kaloa and the original Kookaburra. These boats were all Chris Craft design boats and may have been imported from the U.S.A.

Early in WW2, these boats were taken over by the authorities and probably taken north to the combat zone. After the war only the Kookaburra was returned to Joyce Bros and was subsequently restored for service at Manly. This was probably around 1946 or 1947. at the same time Clarrie Joyce purchased a number of “marine-ised” Chrysler Royal Straight 8 engines from war surplus, one of which was installed in the Kookaburra.

Following the resumption of the joy ride business additional boats were needed and the ex Police boat Nemesis was purchased and restored for service and renamed Kaloa. She was also powered by the Chrysler motors. Around this time they also designed and built the Kingfisher, planked in Australian Cedar and all the boats were admired for the High Gloss varnished hulls and decks.

Around the mid 1950’s the old Kookaburra was showing her age and Joyce?s was able to locate two partly built identical hulls which
someone had commenced building but were unable to complete. They completed one of these which became the current Kookaburra

and I think the other was taken by Bobby Byers (or maybe Clive Caporn) which ever one was operating the rides at Luna Park at the time.

This boat was planked in Oregon (?) and had to be painted. The colour originally taken from the Royal Barge when the Queen and Prince Phillip arrived in the Gothic in 1954. This was then known as Royal Purple. It was also powered by one of the original Chrysler I cylinder motors.

It was interesting that originally the only qualification required was a Coxswain and Drivers licence but new rules were introduced and as the horsepower of the Chrysler motors exceeded an upper limit the drivers were forced to go to Tech College and pass a 3d Engineers Exam which was basically for Diesel and steam.

The business continued to operate using the Kookaburra and Kingfisher (Kaloa had been sold off) at both Manly and Farm Cove until the Joyce Bros business was sold around 1960 to a Mr Van Gelder and I lost track of the boats after that.