Curious to know and See: The story of MV Wyuna

By Curious

MV Wyuna is an ex Port Phillip Pilot Cutter. After 26 years with the Port Phillip Sea Pilots, Wyuna operated as a training ship for the Australian Maritime College in Launceston, Tasmania until 2004.

She was then sold for possible use for accommodation in the Pilbara and later sold again for possible conversion to a luxury yacht.
After neither venture progressed, Wyuna was generously donated to the Western Port Oberon Association.

The Victorian Maritime Center (subsidiary the Westernport Oberon Association), situated in Crib Point, Victoria, Australia was actually donate Wyuna and after thousands of hours work restoring her they now have her seaworthy for her final sea going adventure to steam back to her home in Victoria.

Curious to know and See: The story of MV Wyuna

As we understood, the ship is the last of her kind and a scaled down model of the Britannica.

The Victorian Maritime Museum team are desperate for people to sign their petition to allow them to bring Wyuna home. This could help them so much to show their state and federal government that MV Wyuna is an important part of the local history and also how important it is the vessel to be preserved for the future generations.

"There has been an enormous amount of work gone in to restore her by our members, we are so proud but she is just lying at anchor in Tasmania.

Our vision for her is that she will be used to teach children about her past, our heritage, and also as accommodation for disadvantaged children to learn about the sea and sailing. Hopefully encouraging them to think of this for their future", members of the team said.

For everybody who see the value of this project and want to sign the petition, please follow the link:

MV Wyuna - She Needs Your Help She Needs To Go Home

The video below is showing the enthusiasm and the hard work of Victorian Maritime Center team:

Below you can find also some additional information about MV Wyuna provided by VICTORIAN MARITIME CENTRE

Why is MV Wyuna so important to Australia:

The MV Wyuna is one of Australia’s most historically valuable examples of early post war shipping. As far as our Australian maritime history goes this ship is extremely precious, she is the last of the line there are no more like her. Australia has a very poor record indeed of preserving examples of our maritime history. Similar ships to the Wyuna have long since made their final journey to the breaker's yard. We all have a responsibility to our future generations to preserve our maritime history.

During the years 1952 to 1984 the first sighting of any ship laying off the entrance to Port Phillip Bay was the trusty little ship Wyuna with the pilot aboard. This beautiful little ship served this country well throughout her career and deserves the title of an Australian Historical Maritime Asset. The ships association with Victoria as the Port Phillip pilot ship is undoubtedly unique and tells a story that must be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

The Victorian Maritime Centre are totally committed to restoring and maintaining the ship Wyuna so as future generations can come aboard and enjoy the memories of a bygone era of our maritime history. The former owner, a highly successful Western Australian business woman has donated the vessel which is to be exhibited as part of the maritime collection of the Victorian Maritime Centre.

Wyuna History:

The ship was constructed along the lines of the Queens yacht Britannia on the Clyde in Scotland in 1952 for the Port Phillip sea pilots. The vessel remains a credit the workmanship of her Scottish shipbuilders as the ship is still in outstanding condition for a vessel of her age. Constructed with a diesel electric propulsion system which, at the time a highly successful design of the era. Commissioned in to service in 1953, the "Wyuna", was a twin-screw diesel electric pilot cutter some 63 metres in length. "Wyuna" served until November 1979 and was then sold to the new Nautical College at Launceston for use as a training ship. The system for getting pilots on and off ships at sea was for the ship to stop dead in the water with the wind and sea broad on the beam. The pilot cutter would round the ship's stern, manoeuvre into the lee and lower the 18ft. workboat which, with a crew of two, transferred the pilots to and from their ships. In the early 1970's with a view to the replacement of "Wyuna", a study was made throughout the world for a better system for putting pilots aboard ships. A decision was eventually made in favour of the launch system and new 13 metre ones were ordered to replace Wyuna.

Wyuna joined the Launceston Maritime College as a training vessel in 1979. Berthed at Beauty Point on the Tamar River she serviced the growing needs for training of young would be sailors in both the Merchant and RAN navies, as well as the fishing industry. Eventually, mainly due to her propulsion system no longer bearing any resemblance to modern day shipping Wyuna was replaced by the present day vessel Bluefin and put up for sale.

Then purchased by wealthy mining magnate, Clive Palmer, Wyuna was reportedly to be accommodation for his workers on a northern Queensland project. The proposed project eventually fell over and the ship became redundant. Mr Palmer eventually sold the ship to its present owner highly successful Perth based business woman Gillian Swaby. The intention was to convert the ship in to one of the finest classic motor vessels. Recognising the historic value of the vessel she was very keen to see the ship preserved to be enjoyed by future generations.

Wyuna’s Roles

1. School Camp

During the time since being sold by the Maritime College Wyuna has remained at her berth at Kings Wharf on the Tamar River in Launceston. It has been the intention of Western Port Oberon Association since the conception of the project to have a ship as a school camp. The 48 berth capacity of Wyuna would make her the perfect vessel to fill the role as a school camp to accommodate children from all over Australia. We would anticipate groups of young adults staying onboard, a stay would last from 5 – 7 days.

Activities would include learning about our maritime history from volunteer maritime historians. Outings would include visiting such locations as HMAS Cerberus and Point Nepean. Retired ex merchant seaman will lecture the groups on a number of maritime subjects from past history to ships husbandry. They would try their hand at reading charts and general navigation as well as hands-on maintenance of the ship. By highlighting the opportunities it may encourage the young people to consider a career in the maritime industry.

2. Floating Museum

There are some 387 museum ships in the world that are on display in various capital cities. These ships are all either “self supporting “ or funded by local interest groups and local government. It can be considered that all the ships contribute in one way or another to the local infrastructure and are a benefit to the community.

The Wyuna will become a floating museum where tour guides will take groups on a tour of the ship. The tour will become a voyage of discovery highlighting the colourful history of Wyuna. Volunteers will relay to the visitor a range of information which would include where she was built and by whom. The technical statistics what is the propulsion system how does it work how much fuel does she carry and what is the range. Wyuna’s role as the Port Phillip pilot ship and what was involved as a working pilot ship. How the difficult task of getting alongside ships to transfer the pilot was achieved. Then in the later years Wyuna’s second role, serving as a training ship for the Launceston Maritime College. How many students were onboard, where they went, the tasks that were undertaken by students the lengths of the cruise.

3. Functions

The ship will also be available for smaller functions such as seminars, training, meetings and the
occasional private function. Lack of open space limits the nature of events but is some respects it adds to heighten the atmosphere.

VesselFinder wishes good luck to MV Wyuna and happy sailing back to her home in Victoria!