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Martindale Hall Story: 4b

The 'Martindale' Yachts

MY Yachts 'Martindale', 1 & 2

Mr J T Mortlock's Motor Cruiser Martindale.jpg
martindale 1_edited.jpg

Port Adelaide News (SA), Friday 26 October 1928, page 2


Mr. J. T. Mortlock is justly proud of his motor yacht Martindale, and his Excellency the Governor and other visitors on Saturday were very interested in inspecting her.

She has a roomy saloon, one-berth cabins, galleys, and is equipped with every comfort for long trips.

She was built at Birkenhead by Mr. Ben Weir, and was completed on August 3, 1925.

Her length is 60 feet, with a 12 ft. beam, and she draws 4 ft. 6 in. of water, her weight being 29 tons.

She is solidly constructed of jarrah and hoop pine, with frames of Manchurian oak.


She is the largest motor launch built in South Australia, and is fitted with a crude oil engine of the semi-Diesel type, supplied by Mr. P. W. Richards, of Adelaide, the horsepower being 36-42.

The engine is started by compressed air, which is stored in a cylinder with a capacity of 200 lbs. to the square inch.

The vessel is capable of a speed of nine miles per hour, and does about three miles to the gallon of oil, making her running cost, including lubrication, about 3d. per mile.

Her oil tank has a capacity of 3,000 gallons, so that she can easily do a trip of 1,000 miles without replenishing.

The interior furnishing is carried out in varnished Queensland maple and Singapore cedar, and the saloon, which is surrounded with roomy lockers and drawers, is heated when necessary with a primus stove.

The floors are covered with Perdriau rubber. There is a good deckhouse. The steering wheel has historical interest, as it is partly constructed from teak from the old gunboat Protector.

The first Martindale, built in 1924, was a 2 mast motor vessel of 32 tons built by Benjamin Weir, Birkenhead, South Australia. She was 60ft long, with a beam of 12ft. Her hull suffered timber failure off the coast of Victoria in 1930.

MY Martindale
Motor Yacht Martindale

Port Lincoln Times (SA), Friday 12 August 1927, page 4

Motor Yacht "Martindale'


After spending about a week at Port Lincoln in his luxurious motor yacht Martlndale, Mr. J. T. Mortlock left for Port Adelaide on Tuesday. 

While in these waters Mr. Mortlock undertook a cruise round the adjacent islands, Mr. A. Jury, of the Great Northern Hotel, accompanying him as his guest. The party; spent an enjoyable few days in fishing and shooting.

The Martlndale first called at Memory Cove, and later at Thistle Island. However, on account- of heavy weather, the skipper (Captain Tapley) put the vessel back tb Taylor's Island.

During the roughest weather which Mr. Mortlock has experienced vessel went from Taylor's Island to Harby Island, behaving splendidly throughout the trip. At Harby Island a net was cast, and a haul of over 100 dozen fish were obtained.

The yacht returned to Port Lincoln from Harby Island on Saturday morning.

Heart of Luxury Yacht Martindale.jpg
MY 'Martindale' at Port Adelaide PRG-1445-8-5.jpeg

Advertiser (Adelaide, SA), Tuesday 19 July 1932, page 8


Martindale Ready For Cruise Soon


Before she took the water from Searles' slip, Birkenhead, yesterday, the new luxury motor yacht built for Mr. J. T. Mortlock, commodore of Port Adelaide Sailing Club, was christened Martindale by Mrs. B. F. Mortlock, mother of the owner.

The launching was witnessed by a large crowd, and, with a party of visitors on board, toasts were honored and tributes paid to the product of South Australian craftsmanship.

The Martindale will be ballasted and provisioned, and the finishing touches applied, while she is at her moorings, in preparation for a several weeks' cruise of South Australian ports by Mr. Mort-lock and a party of friends.

The trip is expected to begin in about a fort-night's time, after the yacht has been through her trials.

Fine Craft

The Martindale is a single-screw cruiser. 66 ft. long, with a beam of 14 ft. 2 in. and a draught of 5 ft. 10 in.

An interesting feature is that more than 30 natural-grown "knees" were used.

They are of myall timber from Mr. Mortlock's station in Central Australia.

A spacious and well ventilated compartment is provided to accommodate a crew of three.

There are two staterooms, one of which was assigned for the owner's use.

Both rooms have 6 ft. 6 in. of headroom, and are replete with every convenience, including reading lamps, wardrobes, electric fans. and bookshelves.

The saloon is a spacious compartment in the afterpart of the yacht, and has sleeping accommodation for four.

The saloon, state-rooms, passage, and vestibule are panelled with mahogany, and colored engravings of celebrated sailing ships of the past adorn the saloon.

A wire-less set capable of picking up all Australian broadcasting stations is installed in the saloon.

The kitchen contains every modem convenience, includine an electric refrigerator, and the bathroom has a full-size bath and shower with hot and cold water.

She is driven by a semi-Diesel engine, and the oil bunkers will carry 300 gallons. sufficient for a cruising range of 1,200 miles.

The steering wheel is of teak, part of which came from the old gun-boat Protector and part from a yacht at one time owned by a former King of Norway.

New Luxury Yacht Launched
Fine Craft
Martindale is Luxury Vessel
MY Martindale.jpg

Port Lincoln Times (SA : 1927 - 1954), Friday 2 September 1932, page 9


 Impresses Local Yachtsmen


On her first visit to Port Lincoln, the luxury motor cruiser Martindale, constructed recently for Mr. J. T. Mortlock, attracted considerable attention on Tuesday, and was admired by members of the local yacht club, who inspected the craft in the afternoon at the invitation of her owner. 

Accompanying Mr. Mortlock on the voyage are Messrs. E. E. Scarfe and son, Mr. H. S. Hatwell, aud Mr. R. T. Searles (builder).

The master is Capt. R. R. Tapley, who has under his direction a chief engineer, mate, assistant engineer and cook.

The Martindale left Port Adelaide on Thursday of last week, and made the trip by easy stages, while members of the party fished.

Over 7-dozen 'tommies' at Spalding Cove was the best haul.


Mr. Mortlock, who is president of the Port Lincoln Yacht Club, was welcomed upon his arrival on Tuesday morning by the commodore of the club (Mr. F. E. Medwell). 

Taken aboard in the cruiser's whale boat, the local yachtsmen spent as interesting and enjoyable hour, in which time they were conducted on an exhaustive inspection of the vessel from stem to stern, above deck and below.

It was obvious that Mr. Mortlock and those responsible for the design, construction and equipment of the Martindale were justifiably proud of their handiwork.

Read much more...

MVMartindale, Sydney Harbour.jpg

Restoration of the Martindale

Martindale is a prestige private vessel, commissioned and enjoyed by one of the wealthiest pastoral families in South Australia in the 1930's.

She is being restored by her trustees and helpers.

Like the Martindale Facebook Page to see all the latest updates. 

This website will be regularly updated with news of the restoration. Further information about Martindale's history will also be added as it is collated.


Martindale has had an eventful history.

She was commissioned by the Mortlock family and launched in 1932. She served during WWII as a patrol vessel and was subsequently restored before falling into disrepair after she was sold. Martindale's restoration is well underway.


Martindale's restoration is being udertaken by a small team of dedicated trustees and enthusiatic helpers.

You can support the restoration and enjoy time on this special vessel by joining Club Martindale.

1984: Former WWII auxiliary patrol and


at Sydney Boat Show, Pyrmont - Graeme Andrews Collection.

Story by Horatio J. Kookaburra

 Restored to her former glory as a 1930s steam pleasure yacht, the one-time HMAS MARTINDALE is seen here at the 1984 Sydney Boat Show in the shadow of the Pyrmont Power Station and historic swing bridge.


MARTINDALE is another small ship whose background and career as a WWII auxiliary is one we have already covered fairly well in half a dozen images shown before.


Recapping: she was built as a private 56-ton luxury motor yacbt by R.T. Searles & Sons at Port Adelaide for the Mortlock family, pioneering South Australian pastrioralists, and named after their family home, Martindale Hall at Mintaro. The 66ft. steam yacht was launched on19 July 1932.


In May 1941 MARTINDALE was loaned free of charge to the RAN for use as an auxiliary patrol boat and to carry out air sea rescue duties in New Guinea, which she did. With a crew of 8, MARTINDALE carried out many rescues, including seven RAAF crew forced down off Goodenough Island in 1944. She was armed with twin .303 Vickers machine guns and depth charges.


Her crew sailed her from Adelaide to Sydney for refit before departing for service in New Guinea and other Pacific Islands.

In July 1951, the MARTINDALE was returned to her original owners, who restored her to her former status. They later sold her to a business associate, Sir Thomas Barr-Smith and she later changed hands several times, falling into disrepair.

In the early 1980s Victor Nash, a Sydney businessman acquired her and set about her restoration.

West Coast Recorder (Port Lincoln, SA), Thursday 1 September 1932, page 4





(By Mrs R. L,. Macgregor).

The President of the Port Lincoln Yacht Club (Mr J. T. Mortlock) who is also a member of the Royal Yacht Squadron and Commodore of the Port Adelaide Yacht Club, was on arrival at Port Lincoln on Tuesday afternoon welcomed, with his new yacht "Martindale" by the Commodore of the Port Lincoln Yacht Club (Mr F. E. Medwell.)

The following- visitors were entertained by Mr Mortlock on board his luxurious vessel:—

  • Mr M. G. Henderson (Vice-President),

  • Commodore F. E. Medwell,

  • Rear-Commodore A. Stenross,

  • Mr A. Payze (Hon. Sec.j,

  • Mr A. Johnson (Hon. Assistant Sec.),

  • Mr J. Eglinton (Hon. Treasurer),

  • Mr S. Metvick and Mr F. Ives (Joint Handicappers),

  • Mr Williams (Hon. Photographer), and Messrs W. Hatwell, J. McFarlane and P. Mundy  (Committee) and press representatives were also present. 


Commodore F. E. Medwell proposed the vote of thanks to the President and commented upon the magnificent design of the yacht, and congratulated all concerned in its construction.

This was supported by Messrs M. G. Henderson and A. Payze.

The President (Mr Mortlock), Mr Scarfe, Mr Hatwell and Mr R. Searle (builder of the "Martindale") suitably responded.

A most enjoyable afternoon was spent.



By the courtesy of Mr Mortlock the following details of the "Martindale"' are made available.

  • The vessel is a single screw cruiser, 66 feet in length, having a beam cf 14 feet 2 inches,

  • a moulded depth of 8 feet and a draught of 5 feet 10 inches:

  • Her displacement is 33.11 tons.

  • Beneath a false keel there is tons of lead tapered to either end, and stern posts are of ample proportions and are constructed of gum and jarrah.

  • The stringers running the whole length of the ship are of oregon.

  • All planking below the water line is 1 5-8 inch jarrah and above 1| in. specially selected New Zealand kauri has been used,

  • The frames are of West Australian karri -3 inches x seven-eighths inch and of double thickness reinforced with steel rib frames being spaced to 8 inches centres.

  • The deck, deckhouse ,scuttles, hatchways and other deck fittings are of teak specially selected and imported from Burma.

  • The lap jointed deck planking is 2 3/4 inches x 1 1/2 inches thick.



An interesting feature of the construction of this ship is that over thirty natural grown "knees'' have been used and are of South Australian myall timber from Mr Mortlock's own station in Central Australia.

The saloon is a spacious compartment, in the after part of the ship, and is reached by a companion stair from the deck, and is also accessible from the deckhouse through the engine room.

A high power wireless set capable of picking up all Australian broadcasting stations is also a feature of the saloon fittings.

Forward of the saloon is the kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen is replete with all modern conveniences, including a suitable petrol gas range and an electric refrigerator.

The bathroom is fitted with a full size bath and shower, also a hot and cold water installation.


Forward again one comes to the engine room, which is 12 feet long and running the full width of the ship.

Here is to be found the propelling plant comprising a British Petrol semi-diesel engine working a single screw.

A Westinghouse electric plant generates the current required for lighting and power including working the bilge pumps and air compressors.

Oil bunkers of 300 gallons capacity are fitted in the engine room and these are sufficient for a cruising range of 1,200 miles.



The "Martindale" carries two dinghies on davits, each 12 feet in length, one of which is equipped with an "Evinrude" inboard motor.

Usually when cruising among the islands of Spencer's Gulf and in other waters an 18 foot whaleboat is towed which makes an admirable fishing boat in dangerous waters, being equipped with a 6-horsepower "Invincible" engine.

Two 36 feet masts are carried, and the ship is ketch rigged, having a sail area of 1,100 square feet.


The construction of the ship has been in the hands of Messrs R. T. Searles & Sons, of Port Adelaide. Messrs R. T. Searles and E. E. Scarfe designed and planned the vessel throughout.

The installation of the engine and other mechanical details were effected by Messrs Richards and Shadgett, of Birkenhead, Port Adelaide, and the electrical work was in the hands of Mr A. Barnes, of Torrensville, Adelaide.

Mr William Russell, sailmaker, of Port Adelaide supplied the sails and rigging.

Messrs J. J. Barrett Limited, of Currie St., Adelaide, were responsible for the supply of practically the whole of ship timbers.


This ship is the second of the name built for Mr Mortlock, and in addition to being the flagship of the Port Adelaide Sailing Club, is on the Registers of the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron, and the Port Lincoln Yacht Club.

Read more at the  West Coast Sentinel (Streaky Bay, SA) Fri 3 Apr 1936  Page 4 

Luxurious Yacht Martindale
Details of the Martindale
Restoration of the Martindale
ASR HMAS Martindale
Second of her Line

HMAS Martindale, named after Martindale Hall at Mintaro, South Australia, was a motor yacht originally built for an Adelaide family in 1932 and lent to the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) free of charge on 13 May 1941.


She was subsequently commissioned HMAS Martindale under the command of Warrant Officer William James, RANR(S), on 27 August 1941 as a tender to HMAS Torrens and conducted patrols in the Whyalla area.

She sailed for Sydney in March 1944 to undergo a refit to prepare her for war service in New Guinea. She arrived in Milne Bay on 7 July 1944


Illustrated right: Martindale in her merchant vessel configuration.

Martindale served in an air/sea rescue role working in conjunction with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). She also acted as a pilot ship in Madang and Hollandia, and carried out general duties including carrying stores and personnel to outlying ports.

She returned to Australian waters in October 1945 and decommissioned on 3 June 1946 in Adelaide when she was again refitted before being handed back to her original owner.


Martindale changed owners several times following the end of the war before falling into disrepair.

In 1984 Martindale was restored by a Sydney businessman in time to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her departure for New Guinea.


Present at the anniversary celebrations were former crew members: Reg Webb (Skipper), Keith Collison, Paddy Malone, Alistair Knox, George Sangster, Don Deany and Ross Gourlay.

HMAS Martindale
Martindale Anniversary

Port Lincoln Times (SA), Thursday 11 January 1940, page 6

Visit of the Martindale

Mr. J. T. Mortlock's yacht Martindale, which usually pays a visit at this time of the year, was anchored at Port Lincoln yesterday. She is as usual in charge of Skipper Bert


Mr. Mortlock himself is at present paying a visit to New Zealand.

The guests on the yacht are : —

  • Mr. E. E. Scarfe (business manager and adviser to the Mortlock family),

  • Dr. J. V. McAree,

  • Miss Adelaide Hatwell (of Thebarton),

  • Geo. Bone and Mr. Powell.


The Martindale left Port Adelaide last Thursday and will visit the islands and make a leisurely return to port, probably calling at Pondolowie Bay.

Capt. Capt. Tapley said they just managed to get to shelter last Thursday before they met a breeze which blew hard that evening.

On the way over they put out lines and caught a number of tunny about 9 lbs. weight. There were apparently some big fish biting, however, as they lost hooks and gear.

Capt. Tapley says that J. Green, of the Jennifer, told him he had seen tuna near West Cape recently, which were as large as Blue Pointer sharks.

Visit of the Martindale
HMAS Martindale
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