TS TAMAR History


Photograph of the S.Y. "Alvina" bought by the Launceston Branch of the Navy League of Australia and presented to the Launceston Company of the Australian Sea Cadet Corps as a Drill Ship and Depot. She was renamed TS "Tamar."



T.S. "Tamar," Ex "S.Y.Alvina"

Lloyds No. 06993.
Official No. 92050.
Signal KMNJ (Aust. signal letters, VJCP)
194 tons gross, 132 tons net. 100 Al (Lloyds) 1906, 1918. (Surveyed in Melbourne.)
Iron Screw Steamer.
Electric light.
Special survey No. 3 (i.e., plate drilled), Melbourne, 1908, 1910. S.S. Mel. No. 2, 1918.
Lloyds Special Survey Machinery Certificate 1906, 1918 (Surveyed in Melbourne).
Tail shaft last examined (1919. 20 Reg.) 1906, 1918.
Lloyds Anchors and Chains Proof. Built 1887 by Oswald Mordaunt and Co , Southampton.
Owners: Port Phillip Sea Pilots.
Length 138.8ft. beam 20.2ft., depth 11.8ft., new deck 10ft.
Registered Melbourne, Flag British, 4 Bulkheads cemented.
Triple expansion, 3 cylinders, 12in., 18in., and 30in., 21in. stroke. 160 lb. boiler press. 56 Reg. H.P One boiler, two corrugated furnaces, grate surface 42 sq. ft. made by Oswald, Mordaunt and Co., Southampton.

From newspaper cuttings and verbal reports, some idea of the previous activities of this ship can be obtained but it must be stressed that many of the details are unconfirmed. This may be done by reference to Registers and Records which, unfortunately, are not available in Launceston.
The only Ship's Papers available are those endorsed since 1939. As seen above, the ship was built in 1887 by Oswald Mordaunt and Co., Southampton, and engined by the same firm.
It has been said she was built for a cotton magnate as a private yacht, but very soon after she seems to have been made available for private charter, and was used by many well ,known identities, in particular, the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII.
After a period of such use, she was brought out to Australia, being registered at Melbourne since 1903. Many years after she was used as Pilot vessel at Port Phillip, based at Queenscliff, and became a well-known sight in those waters.
During the depression Henry Stokes bought her and turned her into a floating casino moored off St. Kilda, Melbourne. She was also used as a pleasure steamer at Westernport, and as a salvage vessel. Both ventures were financially unsuccessful.
Following World War II she was used to carry cement from Tasmania to Victoria and ran aground at Tallow Beach, near Stanley, Tasmania, in 1951. After staying there awhile she. was salvaged by a local man who had hoped to use her as it pleasure vessel again, but this scheme was not carried through.
She was then bought for Navy League Launceston Branch, and made an excellent floating depot for Navy League Sea Cadets in that city.
Notes by W.F.ELLIS, Asst. Director, Queen Victoria Museum, Launceston. 1954


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