SHF – John Oxley

The current major Sydney Heritage Fleet restoration project is the 1927 coastal steamship John Oxley. This vessel was built for the Queensland Harbours and Marine Board. John Oxley steamed out to Australia under her own power and served as a pilot steamer for Brisbane and as a buoy and lighthouse tender along the Queensland coast.

John Oxley is the last remaining coastal steamship in Australian waters. Before rail and road networks were built, we relied on many ships like this to carry passengers and cargo around the Australian coast.

Significant features of this important vessel are the traditional forecastle, well deck, cargo hold, navigation bridge amidships, and accommodation aft. The steam propulsion plant includes the triple expansion main engine and auxiliary machinery. Steam was supplied by two scotch boilers, which originally burned coal, however, conversion to burn heavy fuel oil took place in 1946.

In 1997, John Oxley’s hull was docked on our barge and restoration in earnest commenced in 2004. Successful refloat took place in April 2022 – The work on John Oxley continues…


You can help out this restoration in a number of ways…

Your donation enables purchase of materials and services for the restoration of John Oxley.

Your donation of materials or services will advance this important work – Donated steel, grit blasting, galvanising, equipment, inspections, industrial gases, etc. makes the restoration of John Oxley possible.

You can join in and become part of this community project – Volunteers can be skilled The project seeks metal fabricators and woodworkers. Many other volunteers join up to assist in other area like painting, and many also learn new skills on the job.