Binnacle Stand "PASTEUR"; P.Jorgensen and Sons Engineers; Made between c. 1935 a...


Sydney Quarantine Station Moveable Heritage Collection


Binnacle Stand "PASTEUR"

About this object

Binnacle Stand (1), metal, manufactured by P.Jorgensen and Sons Engineers, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, used on the vessel Pasteur between c. 1935 until c. 1980

Waist-high stand in which navigational instruments were placed. Hollow top allowing for compass attachment and protruding stem located top back for an unknown attachment. Manufactured by P. Jorgensen and Sons Engineers, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. Once used aboard the vessel Pasteur.

This binnacle was manufactured by P. Jorgensen and Sons Engineers in Bendigo, Victoria. The compass is such a vital part of the safe navigation of a ship that it is traditionally mounted on the bridge on the longitudinal centerline directly in front of the helm. The stand on which the compass is placed is called a binnacle.

Early binnacles were constructed using iron nails, but these were found to cause errors with the magnetic compass, so later binnacles were built with non-magnetic materials. Deviation was a continuing problem, particularly as the amount of iron and steel in ships increased.

Captain Matthew Flinders determined that erecting a vertical metal bar in front of the compass allowed adjustments to be made to minimize this effect. Binnacles included a lighting source, normally a candle or an oil lamp, so that the helmsman could read the compass at night.

This Binnacle was used at the Quarantine Station on the Steam Launch ‘Pasteur’. Louis Pasteur (1822 - 1895) was a French chemist and biologist who proved the germ theory of disease and invented the process of pasteurisation. The Steam Launch ‘Pasteur’ was, in all probability, named after him as he was an important figure in medical history.

Binnacles were used to house ships' compass. They kept the compass secure and placed it within sight of a seafarer standing at the ship's wheel. The compass was held on gimbals to keep it horizontal despite the rocking motion of the ship.

This binnacle is significant as it reflects the history of navigation, documenting the response of naval architects and manufacturers of ships parts, to changes in ship building materials and advances in technology. The construction of many early (mid-18th century) binnacles used iron nails, which were later discovered to cause magnetic deviations in compass readings. As the development of the compass and understanding of magnetism progressed, greater attention was given to binnacle construction to avoid compass disturbances caused by iron.

The Steam Launch Jenner was engaged on Sydney Harbour as a tug boat towing the city’s fumigation barge to various vessels, transporting animals to and from the Stock Quarantine Station at Abbotsford and conveying patients, other persons and stores, to and from the Sydney Quarantine Station at North Head. The Pasteur engaged in fumigation work and relief to the Jenner. A fumigation machine was installed on the Pasteur and, when necessary, fumigation of vessels was carried out by this machine. Both boats serviced the Quarantine Station during the early to mid-twentieth century.

In 1959 the Pasteur was no longer required by the Quarantine Station and it was sold to Hugh Hope who used the vessel to transport cargo between Islands in the Whitsunday Passage, including Hayman Island, South Molle Island and Lindeman Island. Between c. 1960 and c.1970 Hope held the Commonwealth Government Contract for the fortnightly stores supply of two manned lighthouses located respectively on Pine Islet (approximately 80 nautical miles south-east of Mackay) and Dent Island (in the middle of the Whitsunday Passage) and the Pasteur was used for the delivery of these supplies.

In c. 1970 the vessel became uneconomical to repair due to degradation of the lower hull timbers and all salvageable items were stripped from it. In 2014 the Hope family donated this binnacle, as well as the vessels original binnacle top piece (QS2014.3.1), its wheel (QS2014.4) and propeller (QS2014.5), to the Sydney Quarantine Station moveable heritage collection.



P.Jorgensen and Sons Engineers

Date Made

Made between c. 1935 and c. 1980

Place Made

Bendigo, Victoria, Australia

Medium and Materials


Inscription and Marks



450mm Length
40mm Width
930mm Height

Credit Line

Gift of Ian Hope, 2015

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

Mori Flapan 12 Mar 2016 11:33 AM,UTC

Dear Sir or Madam.

The history of the steam launch Pasteur described is very different to the history as I understand it. My research indicated that the Pasteur was sold about 1940 to the Sydney tug owners Bailey and Jorgensen. She was renamed Jason in 1947 and worked with Bailey & Jorgenson until the early 1970s (1973?). She was apparently sold when Bailey & Jorgenson was wound up and I can remember her off Balmain being converted into a tourist vessel. She eventually found her way to Queensland and last time I heard of her, she was working at Sanctuary Cove under the name Louis Pasteur in 2004. This is a very different story to that which accompanies the binnacle of Pasteur. There was another launch, a motor launch called Pasteur owned by the Quarantine service. She was built at Sydney in 1940. I do not know what her fate was, but the details on your binnacle web page could well apply.

PS. I am an amateur maritime historian compiling a register of Australian and New Zealand Ships and Boats. You can find out more about this project on my website at . I would be grateful for anything more you can tell me about the two Pasteurs and would be happy to send you what I have should that be of interest.




Include tags such as place names, people, dates, events and colours. Use commas to separate multiple tags. e.g. Pablo Picasso, Madrid, red, 1930s.


eHive copyright disclaimer

It is the responsibility of the eHive Account Holder to gain copyright clearance for any images or content published on eHive. If you are concerned about the copyright status for any content in eHive or would like more information on using or ordering copies of content, please contact the Account Holder of that content. For further information see our Copyright Claims page.