Wyatt Earp: The little ship with many names -- Trish Burgess

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Wyatt Earp: The little ship with many names

Trish Burgess

Paperback, 124 pages

May 2020 Release


ISBN 9781925826937

Why a book about a ship called Wyatt Earp? The year 2019 marked the 100th anniversary since the launch of a solid, wooden ship built in 1918–1919 in Molde, Norway. At the time she was named M/S Fanefjord (Motorskip/Motorship). She was not built as a fishing vessel, as many have claimed, but as a useful coastal trading ship—an all-rounder! Initially carrying cargo from Norway to England, and then from England to France, she was then active trading around the European coast and as far north as Greenland. There was occasionally some fishing, particularly off Greenland in the summer of 1925, which was a notable season. Fanefjord was launched on 27 September 1919. A century after her launch, on 27 September 2019, the Australian Antarctic Division joined with the Norwegian Ambassador to Australia to host a luncheon in Hobart to commemorate this amazing little ship and her many legacies. In 1933, after an uneventful career as a merchant vessel, she caught the eye of the Australian explorer, Sir Hubert Wilkins. He was searching for a suitable ship on behalf of the wealthy American Lincoln Ellsworth. Wilkins had already been part of expeditions and flights in both the Arctic and Antarctic. Ellsworth, too, had been involved in several Arctic journeys and now had grand plans for Antarctic voyages of exploration and Antarctic aviation feats never before achieved. M/S Fanefjord, named M/V Wyatt Earp (Motor Vessel) by her new owner, went on to travel as far from her home port of Ålesund as was possible, making five trips to the Antarctic, four with Lincoln Ellsworth and Hubert Wilkins between 1933 and 1939 and one for the newly formed Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition in 1948–1949. As well as commemorating the centenary of her launching in Norway, the Hobart gathering also recalled that on 24 January 1959, nearly 40 years after she was launched and 60 years before the centenary event, the ship grounded on a stormy night, on a normally warm and sunny Queensland beach, never to sail again. It was to be her grave.   (From the Introduction)

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