Ship model, 'SS The Grazier', wood, made by Rock Davis, Brisbane Waters, New South Wales, Australia, 1896
The model of S.S. 'Grazier' was initially lent to the museum by the Sydney engineering form of J. Wildridge & Sinclair Ltd. Still operating at the beginning of the twenty first century this company commissioned the building of a number of significant Australian ships around 1907.
Some of Wildridge & Sinclair ships were designed specifically for Australian waters. One of these was the SS 'Undola' launched in 1909 and made by J. Fullerton and Co. of Scotland. It was designed specifically as a collier to haul coal form the wharf at Coal Cliff south of Sydney and had a shallow draught to get closer to the wharf as well as self-trimming hatches to minimise time spent at the wharf.
The company was also involved in some important technological innovations in Australia, including the installation of Australia's first domestic refrigeration unit. This was installed in 1895 at 'Urrbrae' the home of Peter Waite, chairman of the Elder Smith Company and a director for Broken Hill Mining.
The model is also significant as S.S. Grazier after being designed by J. Wildridge & Sinclair was built by the local shipwright Rock Davis at Brisbane Waters, New South Wales, Australia, in 1896. According to a local history study published by the Gosford Library in 2006, Brisbane Water was an important centre for early shipbuilding. Over 500 named vessels were built there between 1829 and 1953. Rock Davis was the most prolific and best known shipwright in Brisbane Waters and many of these 500 ships were built by him. The first ship launched from the Davis shipyard was the 'Centurion' in 1863, the last was the steam ferry 'Woollahra' in 1913.
These ships were integral to the economic development of New South Wales. They carried shells for manufacturing the lime needed for buildings in Sydney as well as thousands of tons of timber for wharf pilings, railway sleepers and mine props.
Some time after 1893 S.S. 'The Grazier' was bought from William Collins by Ernest Baynes. Baynes used the steamship to move meat carcasses from Colmslie to his South Brisbane cold stores on the South Bank.
Davison, G., Webber, K., 'Yesterday's Tomorrows; the Powerhouse Museum and its precursors 1880-2005', Powerhouse Publishing, 2005
Lavery, B. and Stephens, S., 'Ship Models; their purpose and development from 1650 to the present', Zwemmer, London, 1995
'Woy Woy: a brief history', Compiled by the Local Studies Librarian, Gosford City Library, March 2006 sourced form www.gosford.nsw.gov.au
Geoff Barker, March 2007