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Pearling lugger JOHN LOUIS

Date: 1957
Vessel Dimensions: 18.3 m x 13 m x 4.65 m x 1.88 m, 58.27 m²
Overall: 4650 x 18300 x 13000 mm
Registered Dimensions: 4.39 m × 2.19 m, 33.36 tons (14.4 ft × 7.19 ft)
Engine dimensions: 122 kilowatts, 6 No (163.6 horsepower)
Propeller dimensions: 560 × 762 mm (22.01 × 29.95 in)
Medium: Various materials
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Object Name: Lugger
Object No: 00003024
Place Manufactured:Broome

User Terms

    The pearling lugger JOHN LOUIS was built in Broome, WA, for Louis Placanica in 1957. It was named after his first son, John Louis, (pronounced 'Lewis'). It remains as an operational example of the last of the sail-rigged Broome or North-West type of Pearling Luggers.
    SignificanceThe pearling lugger JOHN LOUIS was one of the last of its type built and still operating in the pearling industry until the early 1980s. Such craft are a type that is unique to Australian waters.
    HistoryJOHN LOUIS (pr. 'Lewis') is a 20 metre carvel planked vessel that was built in 1957. Pearling Luggers were amongst the last of the Australian working craft that operated with sail power. The motor was used for passages to and from the pearling fields, but on the fields it drifted under sail while the divers were down, which had always been the practice.

    JOHN LOUIS was built for Louis Placancia by Male and Co. and carried the identification number B3. The original arrangement was a flush deck with low hatches. However the foredeck was raised after the 1970s introduction of 'hooka' diving (replacing the helmeted system). In fact it was raised to add more headroom and sleeping quarters for the generally larger European Australian crews who began to crew luggers under the new diving methods. Previously, Indonesian, Malaysian, Chinese and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders generally crewed the luggers. The JOHN LOUIS had several Aboriginal crew members.

    A wheelhouse was later added for protection of the helmsman. The boat also features two side ladders that can be raised and lowered into the water to make it easier for the divers wearing their suits to enter and exit.

    The vessel remained in operation throughout its life and was taken direct from the pearling fleet to become part of the National Maritime Collection at the Australian National Maritime Museum in 1988. It remains in the configuration of its working days. In 2010 it was still operational, often taking part in activities around Sydney Harbour.

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Gaffelgetuigd Parel logger JOHN LOUIS

    Assigned title: Gaff rigged Perle Lugger JOHN LOUIS

    Assigned title: Pearling lugger JOHN LOUIS

    Related People
    Designer: Male and Co

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