The Wright Way

Ship Blue Prints, 1940

John Wright and Son operated a shipyard at Tuncurry from 1875 to 1958. After Wright’s death in 1910, his son Ernest continued the business until its close. Wright’s was one of the largest wooden shipbuilding companies in the Southern Hemisphere. The shipwrights built many wooden vessels used on the North Coast, including coastal steamers, tugs, yachts, and launches.

During the Second World War, Ernest Wright also constructed some 30 small wooden ships for the US Army Small Ships Section, commissioned through the Commonwealth Ministry of Munitions. The US Army Small Ships Section was an improvised civilian fleet mobilized to provide logistical support to Allied Operations in the Pacific. Ships were commandeered, leased, or purchased. The fleet included schooners, trawlers, tugs, ferries, and barges. Between 1942 and 1945, over 4,372 Allied Merchant seamen served on vessels attached to the Section.

The small ships or boats built by Wright’s were designed specifically for service in northern Australian Pacific Ocean waters threatened by Japanese ocean mines. Wooden vessels were considered less likely to set off mine explosions than steel-built boats.


What years did the shipyards in Forster operate?

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