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Project at an exciting stage


The Endeavour Replica Project at an exciting stage

  • The whole hull is planked.
  • Lower deck laid, the only continuous through deck in the ship.
  • The upper deck beams are in place.
  • Decks are nearing completion.
  • All the masts are fabricated.
  • The mizen mast is rigged.
  • Process of rigging fore mast.
  • All the sails are completed.
  • The ship's pinnace completed.

Verna Philpot

In 1987, in response to a Government proposal, Bond Corporation undertook to construct a wooden 18th century ship, the original of which became the most significant vessel in Australia's history.

The ship is a full-scale museum standard replica of Lieutenant James Cook's H. M. Bark Endeavour, and the replica was to have been the Bond Corporation's gift to the nation to commemorate the Australian Bicentennial, and is to be berthed at the new Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour, Sydney. Construction at the purpose-built Fremantle shipyard commenced in 1988, and the keel was laid on October 22nd of that year.

Construction proceeded satisfactorily until the end of 1990 when the difficult business conditions being faced by Bond Corporation brought the project to a halt after approximately $10.2m had been expended.

Although work stopped for the first nine months of 1991 the shipyard was kept open for public inspection by a group of 80 volunteer guides and a volunteer skeleton staff from those who had been retrenched.

Mr Arthur Weller, C.B.E., of London and Sydney, supported by many others who considered the replica must be finished to take its place as a national monument, established a corporate trust company, The Endeavour Foundation Pty Ltd, to receive the ship and to raise funds for its completion.

A series of legal agreements were executed which enabled the Trustees to recommence construction at the beginning of September 1991 and work has progressed since then.

It is planned to launch on Saturday 8th May 1993 and to complete construction by 30 June of the same year, at an approximate additional cost of $6m.

Arthur Weller, as chairman has been joined on the board of Trustees by Michael Sharpe AM, a partner of Coopers & Lybrand; John Arthur, a partner of Frehill Hollingdale and Page; Bruce Stannard, Editor of the Australian Business Monthly; Rear Admiral Tony Horton AO, formerly the Flag Officer Commanding the Navy's Support Command; Bruce Sutton, a leading Sydney business man and Norman Brunsdon formerly the Agent-General for the New South Wales in London.

John Longley AM, well known as a member of the winning America's Cup crew who has closely associated with the project from its inception, is the appointed General Manager of the project.

The Foundation has been honoured by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, KG, KT, accepting the position of Honorary President and Admiral to the Fleet, Lord Leeuwin, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Greenwich National Maritime Museum, has endorsed the project and made valuable museum resources available to assist with the technical and historical aspects of building the replica.

The Commonwealth and the New South Wales Governments have pledged $1.5m and $0.75m, respectively, to the Foundation and two thirds of these pledges have already been received.

The Foundation is registered as a charity under the New South Wales Charitable Collections Act (1934) and the Australian Taxation Office has conferred tax exempt status on all income earned by the project and has also approved all donations to the Foundation be tax deductible under Section 78(i)(a)(xxvii) of the Act.

Additional funds are now urgently required to complete and deliver the ship to program and a fundraising organisation has been established to raise $1.5m from the corporate sector and $1m from the public sector, which is in accordance with the agreement reached with the Federal Government.

The campaign appealing for funds from the public is based on an infrastructure of 1000 volunteer fundraisers across the nation, tasked with raising specific sums by May 1993. The Appeal Manager is Captain John Lancaster of the Endeavour Foundation.

The appeal organisation is known collectively as "The Endeavour Volunteers" and work in each state is correlated by a volunteer co-ordinator.

After launching, masting fitting-out and rigging Endeavour will be prepared for sea trials and latter carry out a shake-down cruise from Fremantle to Geraldton.

The ship will be ready to leave Fremantle for the delivery voyage to her home port on 1st October 1993 calling at Albany, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Sydney where she will take her place as a national memorial and centre-piece of the afloat collection of the new museum at Darling Harbour.

It is planned the replica should visit the United Kingdom in 1994 and, having been on public display in the Thames at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, visit Whitby, Liverpool, Cardiff and Plymouth before carrying out a re-enactment voyage to Botany Bay via Tahiti and New Zealand.

Because of currency exchange problems it would be very much appreciated if members who are willing to subscribe to the Appeal would make payment either by bank draft or postage order in Australian dollars. Credit card transactions are welcome because it avoids this problem.

John Lancaster, Appeal Manager

Originally published in Cook's Log, page 874, volume 15, number 4 (1992).

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