IN ITS DAY:The Golden Plover in full flight in its hay day in the Whitsundays. Now the Plover is no longer after it rotted in Cairns and was used for timber last month.
IN ITS DAY:The Golden Plover in full flight in its hay day in the Whitsundays. Now the Plover is no longer after it rotted in Cairns and was used for timber last month.

End of era for the Plover

THE 101 year old tall ship, Golden Plover, who graced the Whitsundays for a decade is now gone.

After 20 months on the Cairns slipway hardstand, the two masted brigantine fell into disrepair and was broken down into rotten timbers last month.

Cairns Slipway manager Barry Moore said the boat had a long history but had deteriorated over time.

"It is unfortunate but, to be honest, it was in a poor condition," he said.

"It had a long and colourful life."

The boat was built 1910 in Melbourne at the end of the tall ship era, and started work as a Government harbour boat.

Fifty years later a conversion for lobster fishing vessel had her working hard until she was gutted by an onboard fire.

Her charred hull was rescued and transformed once again, this time into a single rigged top gallant brigantine with seven fore-aft sails and three square sails – a traditional sailing ship design revived by brothers Helmut, Gunther and Gerhardt (Gert) Jacoby.

They launched her in 1974 in Melbourne with a single 150HP diesel engine and again refitted her in 1982 for a career in tourism in the Whitsundays.

She was operated here by the Jacoby brothers until local John deVere took over.

By the late 1980s, the Golden Plover was the oldest commercial vessel in Australia.

In historical context, 200-plus years ago this classic Brigantine design was very versatile, holding up to 100 crew and 10 cannon when it became the favourite of naval forces and also by the pirates they chased.

A spectacular sight under sail, the Plover appeared in movies including Blue Lagoon, Dead Calm, Paradise Found, Tribes and Eliza Jane. 


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