Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Polly Woodside

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c.1954 Duke's and Orr's Dry Dock (Melbourne Maritime Museum).
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Polly Woodside is a Belfast-built, three-masted, iron-hulled barque, preserved in Melbourne, Australia, and forming the central feature of the South Wharf precinct. The ship was originally built in Belfast by William J. Woodside of Workman, Clark and Co and was launched in 1885. Polly Woodside is typical of thousands of smaller iron barques built in the last days of sail, intended for deep water trade around the world and designed to be operated as economically as possible.[1]

Polly Woodside was constructed from around 400 over-lapping iron plates joined together by over 14,000 of rivets.

She was originally named after the owner's wife Marian 'Polly' Woodside", but renamed Rona" in 1904. Between 1885 and 1904 she sailed on 17 world voyages. After traveling over 1.5 million kilometres on commercial routes across the world, she ended her working life as a coal hulk in the Port of Melbourne.[2]

By the 1960s Rona had become almost redundant as less and less coal-burning ships were used. Instead of being dismantled, she was sold to the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) by her last owner Howard Smith Industries in 1968 for a token payment of one cent. Since then she has bee restored back to her former glory by a generation of volunteering and fundraising efforts.

  • Further Reading
    • Mullins, S. (2013). Museum reviews. The Journal of Transport History, 34(2), 196-202.
    • Bulletin of the Australian Institute for Maritime Archaeology, The, Vol. 23, 1999: 17-26.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Wikipedia
  2. Melbourne Maritime Museum
  • Melbourne Maritime Museum