Model Boat ; 1970s; 2014/466


Mid North Coast Maritime Museum


Model Boat

About this object

This unnamed model boat, made by timber worker, Arthur Law (1900-1979), was once believed to be a replica of the Septom, an offshore fishing trawler which was built at the Hibbard boatyard in Port Macquarie during the 1940s by shipwright Septimus Windeyer for Tom Radley a well known local fisherman,

The Septom was launched in May 1946 and was a familiar vessel in Port Macquarie and offshore waters for more than 30 years. It is understood that Arthur Law, who worked all his life at the Telegraph Point and Hibbard timber mills, helped lay the hull of the fishing trawler. However his model differs greatly in its dimensions and detail from those of the trawler, and does not display any of the finesse or classic lines of the full sized vessel.

The model is representative of the type made by amateur modellers who have limited access to specialized materials. Model boat making has always been a popular men’s craft and is believed to be as old as shipbuilding itself, dating back to ancient times when water transport was first developed. It is recorded that during the Napoleonic wars, French and English seamen who were taken prisoner often sought relief from boredom by building model ships from scraps of wood and bone. Also Britain’s supremacy in the 18th and 19th centuries created wider interest in ships and in ship models and simple models were often built as children’s toys.

Because this model has a simple structure and contains basic fittings which are made from readily available materials, it is likely that it was not built primarily as a display model, but rather as a children’s toy that was designed to float and sail yet, was sturdy enough to withstand regular use.

As a display model that is cited as a replica of the Septom fishing trawler, it helps to remind us of the development and importance of the timber, boat building and fishing industries of the past, and of the contributions made to these industries by the Law, Windeyer and Radley families, who lived and worked in and around the Port Macquarie river systems during the 1900s.

Zsolt Newby and Margaret Blight
28 September, 2014

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John Layton 26 Aug 2015 12:23 PM,UTC

As a boy my father made a model boat called the Septom most likely because we holidayed here at Port Macquarie in the early 1940s (approx 1947). Since retiring here in 2012 I had wanted to research about the vessel and found reference to it at the Maritime Museum. Of course that opened up the history of the X.L.C.R and from a small model boat made for a small boy it turned out to be part of a great story. Many thanks for your history of the craft. Ces Radley gave me some clues as to its later life,possibly as a drug-running vessel and later restored and moored at Hawkes Nest. Its current location was not known.
John Layton 26th August, 2015

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