Between 1935 and 1945, Arthur Cuthbertson built a number of wooden boats at his yard in Prince of Wales Bay before moving to Montagu Bay. He was joined in the building of wooden boats at Montagu Bay by his son Geoff, who subsequently took over the business in 1962 through to 1978. Between them, Arthur and Geoff built a number of boats listed on the Register of Australian and New Zealand Vessels by More Flapan, including Oriole. Over the years, renowned for their skill as master craftsmen, both Cuthbertsons became legendary, not only in the local Montagu Bay area, but across the State and nationally.
It is ironic that the current Oriole owner, Paul Gray, was brought up in Montagu Bay and learned to swim off the Cuthbertson slipways. In his early childhood years, Paul would spend many hours playing about the waterfront adjacent to the boat yard. It was not unusual for Geoff to provide local boys with off cuts of Huon or Celery Top Pine from which they would make model boats. With a hole punched into the deck with an old rusty nail the boys were then able to insert a feather from a seagull thereby able to have the small craft sail across the bay.
Geoff Cuthbertson built Oriole (named after a small North American bird) at his Montagu Bay yard in 1973. The quality of his workmanship is reflected in the excellent condition of the boat today, some 45 years after launch. The condition of the boat is also a reflection of the care and continued maintenance provided by her current and previous owners.
Oriole is currently in the hands of her sixth owner, with all of the five prior owners having spent considerable time and money maintaining and upgrading the boat, both in it’s operational requirements, overall appearance and safety needs. This includes replacement/upgrading of sails, rigging, motor, timber and paint, electronics and navigational aids. Having dual helms, a comfortable wheel house, powerful 50hp motor, full galley and bathroom, and accommodation for five, Oriole is a true family cruising vessel, having cruised extensively throughout Southern and East Coast waters. She also took out the DSS Division 4 Pennant in 1979. A much admired vessel, Oriole was on show at the 2005, 2007 and the 2013 Australian Wooden Boat Festivals.