The Register of Australian and New Zealand Ships and Boats


Ferry Protex
(ex Waikare)

Can you solve the mystery of who built this ferry?




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In 1981 Stannard Bros Launch Services donated the ferry launch Protex to the Sydney
Maritime Museum that was later to become the Sydney Heritage Fleet. For over 25 years,
the Museum has been trying to find out more about the early years of this ferry. The only
information they have on her early history was from a survey record card from the 1960s
that said she had previously been called Waikare and was built in 1908.

Can you help to unravel this mystery!

Known details and history of Protex are as follows:

Name: Waikare (was this the original name?)
Type: Launch+Ferry
Later names: Protex-'34b01b07
Year built: 1908 (check)
Material: Wood
Propulsion: Screw single
Engine: Motor
Decks: Well

PORTS and owners: SYDNEY@'34 Nicholson Bros: '68 Stannard Bros: '70b77 (leased by
Terry Hodgson): '81b81 Stannard Bros Launch Services: '81 Sydney Maritime Museum:
'85b03b05 Australian Maritime Museum Trust

Dimensions (ft): 36.25 x10.33 x2.67
Stem: Straight
Stern: Counter
Status: Operational 2007

History and details: 6tdispl. 20 persons. Carvel 3/4" kauri planking. Name Waikare Maori
word for 'rippling water'. 1934-70 used on Sydney Harbour as ferry, including transport to
and from the Palmolive factory at Mort Bay, Balmain, hence new name which was name of
soap, also used to transport goods and personnel to ships and other waterfront sites. c1945
repaired by Clayton &Adams, Berry's Bay after collision, counter stern rebuilt with square
tuck. Fitted with new motor, nd, 22bhp Kelvin J2 diesel, made '44. 1952 collided with ferry
Provide off Peacock Point, Balmain East (or Long Nose Point) and sank, raised and rebuilt,
major repairs along port side. c1970 believed to have been vessel transferred from Sydney
to Woy Woy to replace burnt out ferry Christina (qv), foreman from Stannards drove up to
Palm Beach to keep an eye on the boat at vantage points to make sure it did not break
down, arrived at Woy Woy but engine broke down approaching bridges & swept under
bridge by incoming tide with only a few inches to spare, operated school run for a couple of
years before school bus was introduced. 1970-81 leased for operations out of Woy Woy
and Toukley then later between Brooklyn and Dangar Island. 1970s extreme end of counter
stern truncated after vessel hit wharf. 33 pax & 1 crew by 1977. 1977/05-07 Dangar Island-
Wobby Beach-Brooklyn service, victorious in competition against mv Juno Head. 1981
donated to the Sydney Maritime Museum by Chris Stannard. 1984 under restoration at
Stannard's Slipway, Berry's Bay, truncated stern rebuilt to eliptical counter. 1989 repaired
after collision damage and vandalism, engine overhauled. 1989 granted conditional survey
to operate with passengers in Cockle Bay. 1997-98 restored by SMM with assistance from
Chris Stannard, Gary Ferres shipwright. 1998/05/27 relaunched by crane, took a lot of
water. 2000 participated in Festival of Traditional &Classic boats on Lake Macquarie.
2001/04/14-15 participated in Lake Macquarie Heritage Afloat festival. 2002/02 participated
in Sydney Wooden Boat festival. 2003/03 participated in Sydney Harbour week. 2004/03
participated in Classic &Wooden Boat Festival at Darling Harbour. 2005/02 participated in
Australian Wooden Boat festival at Hobart, operated cruises of Sullivan's Cove with 16
passengers. 2005/03 Lake Macquarie Heritage Afloat Festival, Toronto, NSW. 2006-07 Kelvin J2 diesel engine removed, disassembled, rebuilt and reinstalled onboard by Sydney Heritage Fleet volunteers.

References: Aam1^1984/2:AlanStannard: And1:Ash^1,3(P),4,22,23,54(P),56(P):

Research: Sam sys 1952 collision was off Long Nose Point (check), FactSheet sys Peacock

If you have any information on the Protex (ex. Waikare), reminiscences or photos, please
contact the Sydney Heritage Fleet's Alan Stannard or Mori Flapan..
Send email  


The following is an example of the ongoing project to find out more about the origins of
PROTEX. You will see that it came to a dead end, but the point is that we do not know for
sure that she was built as Waikare, nor are we certain that she was built in 1908, nor do we
know what she might have looked like.

Dear all

Last night I was at the State Library when I came across a photo of a
launch called the Glengarry. A rather poor copy of the photo has been
posted in the Photos/Do you Know this Vessel? folder of this Group.
When you view the photo, click on the "Large" hyperlink to the left
and just above the photo. (You can see this photo below)

It might be a 1000 to one chance, but I thought perhaps this might be
the Protex (ex Waikare). I need people who know the Protex better
than I to have a look at the photo to see whether it might be so.

The Glengarry has an amazing claim to fame in that she won the first
Rudder Cup race from SYDNEY to NEWCASTLE and RETURN. Yes, they used
this launch in a coastal motor boat race, and not only that, she won!

Below are the details mainly from The Australian Motorist Magazine May

I would be grateful for your thoughts on whether there might be any
possibility that this is the Protex.

Best regards

Name: Glengarry
Type: Launch
Year built: 1900s?
Material: Wood
Propulsion: Screw single
Engine: Motor 12bhp Jersey City Standard petrol
Decks: Cockpit

Owners: SYDNEY@b09 C.A.Millar

Length about 38'
Stem: Straight
Stern: Counter

Deck erections: Awning&Coachhouse

History; Carvel planked. 1909/04/08-09 won Rudder Cup ocean race from
Sydney to Newcastle &return, battled against Southerly gale, one of
only two boats to finish.

References: Amb1^1926/5:TAM1^1909/5(P) Length estimated


Re: Launch Glengarry. Could this be the Protex?

I realise image similar to Protex; however, the lines do not look
quite right. Protex cabin seems different and stanchions plus window
slides seem too light...

You would need to check the deck lengths scaled over the photo. We
always believed Protex had a Buffalo petrol engine up to her sinking
alongside Queen Mary, after which the Kelvin engine was fitted.

I know Protex is not much fun at sea - her voyage back to Sydney
from Brooklyn behind Mick Yorkes yacht saw the bow under green water
for much of the trip.

Andy Munns


Dear Andy

Thanks for the reply. It was nice to see you at the preview last night.

I never considered that the cabin would be the same. If the boat were sold
for commercial service, then I would expect that a new cabin would have been
fitted or it would eventually have to be replaced through wear and tear.
In fact, what is the oldest image that we have of Protex? Does it pre-date
her sinking near Queen Mary. If not, then who knows what happened to the
deck structures when she sank and during her recovery? There is a distinct
possibility that it might have been damaged and rebuilt.

I have checked my records for boats having a Buffalo engine. So far, I have
records of about 10 boats. Most were from the 1920s, but there are a few
prior to 1910. However, I doubt very much that an engine in a commercial
boat would have lasted from 1908 to 1940. Most commercial boats seem to have
been re-engined every 10 or 15 years.

As far seagoing capabilities are concerned, one needs to keep in mind that
the engine may have been shifted further forward for her use as a ferry.
Also the engine weight might be different.

What I would suggest is that you take a copy of the photo down to the boat
and see whether the hull lines are similar. Perhaps you might get a few of
the others to look also. If the lines are clearly different, then that would
put an end to the possibility. If they are similar, then it might be worth
finding out more about the Glengarry.

Best regards


Hi Mori,

I have searched through my collection and come up with some photographs of the Protex. The photograph number 090 has been taken on a similar angle to that of the Glengarry.

I have looked on many occasions of the Glengarry print and number 090, side by side and I have come to the conclusion they are not the same vessel.

The sheer lines are different; this is the one thing that would not have been altered to the Protex during her life time. I know of three different stern the old Pro during her career.

I would have to say that I love the sweeping flow appearance of the sheer line on the Glengarry, more so than that of the Protex.

I hope this throws some light onto Glengarry vs. Protex.



By the way, Mori Flapan would love to know more about the early racing motor boat Glengarry

...Send email