When Julie Porter and Charles Burns took ownership of SV Rhona H in 2014, little did they realise the intrigue that would follow as well as a whole network of mariners who had sailed on the vessel.
The story began just before 1942 when Frere Youl ordered the vessel from Ned Jack, a prominent ship builder in Trevallyn, Launceston. The keel was laid in 1942 and it was very much a gentleman’s fishing vessel, then named after Mr Youl’s daughter Jessica.
Sadly, Mr Youl (senior) became unwell and demanded Mr Youl (junior) return to Symmons Plains to assist in looking after the farm. The vessel was sold to Max Hardy, a young fisherman with a great love of his girlfriend Rhona Bird. As they weren’t married at the time, Max renamed the vessel Rhona H and even when they did marry, he kept the name. Later Hardy vessels were all named after family members.
Max was a successful fishermen, forward-thinking and responsible for many firsts. He was first to discover crays on the Continental Shelf, first to install a depth/fish finder on a boat in Tasmania, and the fisherman responsible for catching the greatest number of couta by hand in 24 hours: four and a half tons on a handline.
The Rhona H was one of his favourite boats, but it wasn’t quite big enough. He commissioned another timber vessel, the “Cindy Hardy” which served many seasons in Tasmania. The Cindy is still working in Bluff, NZ as a fishing and charter boat.
The story goes on but the purpose of today’s tale is the intrigue. The vessel has 1947 on its official papers and bureaucracy being what it is, that’s difficult to change. The reason for the 1947 label (on a 1942 boat) is that the vessel was one of the first to be build by Edwin Jack under the supervision of his Dad, Ned Jack. It is a Ned Jack vessel, built in the Jack yard of Huon Pine remnants from wartime ships, but due to tax regulations in the war years, Mr Jack Snr. let his son be the first postwar registrant thereby saving himself many pounds in tax!
There are so many more stories, and to celebrate, Julie and Charles invite interested visitors of the My State Wooden Boat Festival to celebrate with us and hopefully some of the Hardy Family and our new Patron, Rosemary Armitage, on Saturday 11 February at 16:30.