HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

9 April 2014

Launch of the Maclaren King 1923


I was asked (as I seemed to have satisfied the owners, and I knew the sea was salt) if I would like to take over the "Maclaren King"
Many of the ships built at Huskisson, whether they were big or small sailed out of the bay to destinations far and wide.

The Maclaren King, was a schooner that left the bay in 1923 bound for Papua via Sydney, Brisbane and Townsville across the Coral Sea to Samurai island in Papua New Guinea for the Anglican Mission.
It’s main task was to support the missionaries, delivering mail, supplies and passengers.
The name of the schooner honoured two pioneer Australian missionaries to Papua New Guinea--Revs. Albert Maclaren and Copeland King.

australian war memorial photo -

Wartime HistoryDuring the war, she was used by the Australian Army. Armed with a 50 caliber machine gun and 20mm cannon for anti-aircraft defense.
During mid July she arrived on the north coast of New Guinea to deliver supplies to the Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB) stationed in the area. While anchored off Buna, the ship was unsuccessfully bombed by a Japanese seaplane.

During November 1942 the ship's 50 caliber machine gun drove off attacking Japanese aircraft, claiming one shot down off Goodenough Island.

The story of Captain Fred Rennels who steered her to Papua is one of adventure.

Fred Rennels came from England in 1922, moved to Wreck Bay living off the land with the Aborigines, then to Huskisson working as a carpenter building the Maclaren King, to becoming the Captain, bound for Papua New Guinea.
It’s quite a tale and one worth reading.


other references.

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