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Harold Halvorsen

1910 - 2000

Harold Halvorsen was the eldest son of Lars Halvorsen, a second generation boatbuilder and founder of the Halvorsen family boatbuilding business in Norway and Australia. At the age of 14 Harold was apprenticed to his father, learning to design and build wooden boats. He followed his father to Australia at the age of 15, earning his passage as a cabin-boy on the sailing ship MOZART. Harold joined Lars in Sydney working from a small rented shed in Drummoyne, and later from boatyards at Careening Cove and Neutral Bay.

From 1932 Harold focused on designing recreational and commercial motor vessels. After the death of his father Lars in 1936, Harold became managing director and chief designer for Lars Halvorsen Sons Pty Ltd - formed with his mother Bergithe and siblings Carl, Bjarne, Magnus, Trygve and Margit.

During World War II Harold designed the Halvorsen 38, a high speed vessel used for air-sea rescue and patrol work, and the 62 ft (18.9m) fast supply boats and troop landing craft. Harold also designed many elegant motor launches for recreational use. These vessels were characterised by harmonious proportions, elegant lines, white raised-deck hulls and varnished cabin sides and trim.

During the 1960s Harold passed much of the design work to his son Harvey, and together they continued to design and build motor cruisers culminating in the 90 ft (27m) EMMA, completed in 1976.

In 2000 a cavalcade of Halvorsen vessels was organised on the Hawkesbury River to celebrate Harold's 90th birthday and acknowledge his contribution to Australian boating. The Governor of New South Wales presided over the event and Harold was awarded an OAM in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in the same year for his services to the boating industry. He died in 2000.