Half-ship model, MV 'Comara', wood, designed by James Scott, maker unknown, Port Glasgow, Scotland, 1937
This particular ship model is an example of a proposed vessel commissioned for ownership and use by the North Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd. It represents the types of ideas held by the shipbuilder during the model making stages which sometimes changed during the construction of the full-scale version. The marks on the rear of this model, for example, indicate that the proposed full-scale vessel was to have measurements of 170' x 35.6' x 11.6', while the final measurements were actually 173' x 35.6' x 9.1'.
Although this particular model does not have any marks denoting its name, the measurements; form of the vessel and the fact it is diesel driven (as written on the back) strongly suggests that this is the MV 'Comara'. The 'Comara', named for a village on the upper Macleay, was designed by James Scott in Sydney and made at the shipyards in Port Glasgow, Scotland. James Scott was the foreman shipwright of the North Coast Company who is reputed to have designed more than 32 vessels for them, including this one, throughout his illustrious career.
The 'Comara' is indicative of the type of cargo trading vessel which helped to boost the economic development of northern New South Wales during the first half of the 20th century. This particular vessel would have plied rivers such as the Clarence and the Macleay, before it was sold to international enterprises in the South Pacific and Asia regions.
Models such as this one would have been made for shipbuilders to assist in their full-scale construction, helping to provide the builder with an idea of the vessel's fittings, riggings and sail plans, as well as helping to show the ratio of length to beam, the fining of her entry, stern and so on.
Richards, M., "The North Coast Run - Men and ships of the New South Wales North Coast" (Killara, 1977) pp.125-126, 142-143 & 159
This half-ship model was designed by James Scott in Sydney, Australia. The full-scale version was made in Port Glasgow, Scotland in 1937.
James Scott was a naval architect born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1859. In 1873, at the age of 14, James spent 12 years working in the mould loft of John Elder of Fairfield, Govan before coming out to Australia in 1885. Descendents of the Scott family claim that James was approached by Allen Arthur Taylor (timber merchant, ship-owner, politician and chairman of the Illawarra & South Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd and the North Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd) offering to subsidise his fare. This would explain James' subsequent involvement with the North Coast Company.
James married Jane Bell and had five children, two of whom died young. On arriving in Australia they resided at Rowntree Street, Balmain but later made Hunters Hill their long-term abode. Records show that for 12 years James worked at Cockatoo Island with William McDonald and for some time also, Sam Hayes, at the Fitzroy Dock.
James Scott became foreman shipwright of the North Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd where he is reputed to have designed 32 ships for them (he is attested to have designed 60 throughout his entire career). Some of these vessels included the 'Nerong', 'Wollongbar II', 'Kulgoa', 'Wauchope' and the 'Nambucca'. Some of James Scott's best known creations, however, are the two 'Lady' ferries (the 'Lady Manning' and 'Lady Hampden'), which were designed by Walter Reeks and epitomised the double-ended ferry style which was to become standardised in all ferry designs from 1892 on.
Identifiable characteristics of James Scott models include the use of Australian red cedar in the backing boards (or straight grain Oregon for North Coast models), black painted sections denoting the water line and flaring at the propeller shafts.
James Scott continued to design naval vessels, even at the age of 78 where he prepared plans for the 'Moruya'. He died in 1942.
The MV 'Comara' was built for ownership and use by the North Coast Steam Navigation Co Ltd. It arrived in Sydney on June 30, 1937 and for 17 years plied the Northern Rivers of New South Wales.
The 'Comara' was quite smaller than the 'Wyrallah' and weighed 751 gross tonnes. When she first arrived in Sydney her machinery was not of the finest finish, but her chief engineer (Mr D.R. MacFarlane) dismantled the complete installation progressively. Although the main engine was very small and she was a trifle underpowered, she was a reliable vessel. In October 1947, the 'Comara' on passage to Coffs Harbour became lost for 24 hours. Apparently the rudder stock had broken and she drifted 14 miles south-east of Smoky Cape. The vessel was then towed by the 'Wyangarie' back to Sydney where she was subsequently taken to Mort's Dock for repairs. A few weeks later when the 'Comara' was again fit for sea, the US army had her requisitioned at which time she spent much of her time in the islands around Rebaul, New Ireland, the Solomons, New Hebrides and Guadalcanal.
In 1954, the 'Comara' was sold to the WA state shipping service, before being resold again in 1956 to Noumea where she was renamed 'Damadora del Mar'. In 1960/1 she was sold again, returning to her original name. In 1962 the 'Nyora' towed her to her new owners in Singapore and was known to still be trading in 1977.