Ship model, 'Latona', wood / metal / glass, made by Government Dockyard Biloela (Cockatoo) for the New South Wales Government, Sydney, 1911
This ship model represents one of more than fifty-five dredges, tugs, launches, barges, rock breakers, fire floats and lifeboats that were built at the Government Dockyard - Biloela (Cockatoo Island) in Sydney from 1871 - 1914.
The production of vessels at the Government Dockyard - Biloela was one of the most prolific during this time in New South Wales, building mostly steam engine vessels with screw or dumb propulsion from wood, iron or steel. The 'Latona' is an example of a shallow draught twin screw trailing suction hopper dredger that was built for service on the harbour bars of New South Wales. It would have dredged in places such as Old Bar on the Manning and Port Macquarie on the Hastings.
The 'Latona' was built in 1911 and is the only recorded dredger to have been constructed at the Biloela Dockyard during this year. Other recorded vessels to have been constructed in 1911 include the 'Hydra' ferry punt, with most dredges being constructed in the very late 19th century. The 'Latona' is said to have still been in operation in 1960, after almost 50 years in service, but is believed to have been removed from service not long after this.
Models such as this one were made for ship builder's to assist in their full-scale construction. They especially provided 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. Ship models represent a scale sized representation of vessels that may not have survived.
Flapan, M., "List of Sydney Boat Builders and Ship Builders from the Register of Australian and New Zealand Vessels", http://home.iprimus.com.au/mflapan/SydneyBuilders.htm, July 2004 (Downloaded 2/4/2007)
Jeremy, J., "Cockatoo Island - Sydney's Historic Dockyard" (Sydney, 1998) pp.23-24 and Appendix 2
National Archives of Australia, "Fact Sheet 140 - Cockatoo Island Dockyard", http://www.naa.gov.au/publications/fact_sheets/fs140.html (Downloaded 2/4/2007)
This ship model of the 'Latona' was produced at the Government Biloela Dockyard, Cockatoo Island, for the New South Wales Government in 1911.
'Biloela' Dockyard was the name given to the Cockatoo Island Dockyard from 1870-1913. 'Biloela' is an Aboriginal word which means "black cockatoo". Before the island became a dockyard in 1856, it was a penal facility. In 1839, a prison was constructed for convicts on the island and until 1888 it was used as a reformatory for women. From 1888-1908, the prison was used to mostly house petty offenders, vagrants and prostitutes.
In 1845 the Governor, Sir George Gipps, recommended to the British Government that a dry dock be constructed using convict labour to service visiting vessels of the Royal Navy. It was called 'Fitzroy Dock'. By 1870, it was realised a larger dock was needed to service the ships visiting Sydney, so 10 years later, New South Wales Parliament decided to build a new dock, which was suitable for the largest ships of the time. This dock became known as the 'Sutherland Dock'.
The major task of the Government Dockyard was shipbuilding, as well as ship repair and refitting. From 1857-1991 (when the Dockyard closed), some 12,000 vessels were docked or shipped for repair or maintenance.
The dredger 'Latona' was designed and built for service on the harbour bars of New South Wales and was in operation for almost 50 years. Its last recorded year in operation is 1960 and it is believed to have been removed from service shortly after this.