Home > Launching



The Endeavour Replica - Launching

The replica of the Endeavour being built at Fremantle was launched on Thursday, 9th December 1993, seven minutes ahead of schedule. It slid into Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour during high tide at 5.23 p.m.

Thousands of television viewers missed the launch as the Channel 9 station cut to a scheduled commercial break during its exclusive live coverage. It was to have been followed by a five-minute countdown to the scheduled launch of the ship.

The distinguished Australian botanist and chairman of CSIRO, Professor Adrienne Clarke, broke a bottle of 1987 Grange Hermitage (marking the year in which the replica idea originated) against the side of the ship and said "I name this craft Endeavour. May God bless her and all who sail in her."

Tens of thousands of well-wishers turned out on land and water to welcome the ship and applaud its makers. Nearly six years of hard work and times of acute anxiety as the project teetered on the edge of extinction through lack of funds came to an end as their creation took on a life of her own.

The ship was towed to Victoria Quay for fitting with lead ballast, masts sails and rigging with 15 km of rope. She will operate out of Fremantle undergoing ocean trials in March and April. It is felt that the conditions that prevail around Western Australia during this period will not be good for her to leave. So it will be four or five months before she goes on her maiden voyage to Sydney to be exhibited at the Australian National Maritime Museum. Then it will be off to Melbourne before returning to Sydney. She is now due to arrive in Britain in May 1996, going first to Greenwich before touring the British coast.

The Endeavour will leave Plymouth on August 26, 1996 to return to Australia.

The planned schedule for the launch day was:

Noon Marine and Harbours Department vessels lay marker buoys in the Fishing Boat Harbour.
3.00 Access to Mews Road and shipyard closed.
3.30 VIP and spectators' vessels start berthing in Fremantle Boatlifters area.
4.45 Fishing Boat Harbour closed.
4.55 Band strikes up.
5.00 Endeavour ready for launch.
5.15 Professor Clarke arrives.
5.17 Band plays national anthem.
5.29 Professor Clarke names the ship.
5.30 Endeavour is launched.
5.50 Parade, including band, Heritage Guard and spectators, marches to Victoria Quay.
6.00 Navy tug towing Endeavour leaves Fishing Boat Harbour entrance.
6.05 Parade arrives at Victoria Quay, B shed.
6.56 Fremantle Mayor John Cattalini officially welcomes Endeavour to the City.
7.10 Heritage Guard marches as band plays Beat to Quarters to coincide with Endeavour's arrival at sunset.

Ships's specifications:

Length of lower deck 29.77 m
Length of keel 27.74 m
Width 8.89 m
Depth in hold 3.45 m
Length overall 33.30 m
Height of mainmast 39.27 m
Net tonnage 397 tons

The original Endeavour:

Shipbuilder: Fishburn's Shipyard
Date: 1764
For: Mr Thos Milner
Cost: STG2840
Construction materials probably: Oak frames, elm keel, oak lower hull planking, fir topsides and decks, flax canvas sails, hemp rigging.

The replica Endeavour:

Shipbuilder: HM Barque Endeavour Foundation
Date: 1988-1993
For: The people of Australia
Cost: $15.5m
Construction materials: Jarrah frames (laminated), jarrah keel, jarrah lower hull planking, oregon topsides, decks, masts and spars, Duradon sails, synthetic fibre and Manila rigging.

How to launch the Endeavour:

  1. The ship is supported by keel blocks, bilge blocks and side shores.
  2. Standing ways, sliding ways, fore and aft poppets and making up are constructed under the hull forming a cradle.
  3. Wedges are driven to transfer weight to cradle.
  4. Keel blocks, bilge blocks, and side shores are removed.
  5. The ship is prevented from sliding by triggers and daggers, 2 starboard and 2 port, attached to shed posts by rope lanyards.
  6. Ship and cradle is released by cutting rope.

From information supplied by the Arthur Cant and Verna Philpot

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 1020, volume 17, number 2 (1994).

No comments

Unsolicited e-mail warning

It has come to our attention that spam mailers (senders of bulk unsolicited e-mail) have been forging their mail with this domain as the point of origin. As a matter of policy, we do not send out e-mail from our domain name. If you have received an email that appears to be from "@CaptainCookSociety.com" it was forged and sent without our consent, knowledge, or the use of our servers.