SHF – John Oxley

Launch of the John Oxley 1927


JO-launch-articleInteresting Launch at Paisley



A steel single-screw steamer for the Government of Queensland was launched yesterday evening from the yard of Messrs Bow, M’Lachlan & Co., Ltd., Abbotsinch. The vessel has been specially designed for pilot service, and has a length between perpendiculars of 160 ft., a moulded breadth of 32 ft., and a moulded depth of 15 ft. Accommodation for a crew of twelve is provided, with special provisions for 15 pilots. The decks are of teak, and the forward part is constructed to carry two large gas cylinders. There is a cold chamber with refrigeration machinery. The vessel is fitted with electric light, and has a searchlight, and, as she is for use in a tropical climate, special attention has been devoted to ventilation and sanitary appliances. The builders will equip her with triple expansion engines and two marine return tube boilers fitted with forced draught capable of giving speed of 13 knots.

Among those present at the christening ceremony were Mr John Baxter and Mr J. H. Bow, managing directors; the Hon. John Huxham, Agent-General for Queensland; Mrs Jeffrey, sister of the Acting Premier of Queensland; Mr Smith, father of the Acting Premier of Queensland; and Mr E. H. Mitchell of Messrs E. H. Mitchell & Co., 5 Lloyd’s Avenue, London, E.C.3, who are the consulting naval architects and engineers for the Queensland Government, and under whose supervision the vessel and machinery have been built.

The vessel is named the John Oxley by the Hon. Mr Huxham, and the launch was a success in every way, the ship taking the water gracefully.

The function afterwards held in the office, at which the chair was occupied by Mr John Baxter, who, in a sentence, proposed the toast of the new vessel, wishing it every success, and coupled with the toast was the name of the Hon. Mr Huxham, whom he presented with a memento of the occasion.

The Hon. Mr Huxham, in acknowledging, said he had explained to certain of them how it came about that he had to perform the ceremony, but he was as well to let them all know. He had asked a lady friend to do it, but as, unfortunately, she was not able to come along, and as he did not want to give a second-hand invitation to anyone else, he had decided to do it himself, which, he understood, was rather unique. He thought, however, they could make allowance for that when there was such a cry for equal rights for men and women. (Laughter.) As regards the name of the vessel he went on to explain that John Oxley was one of the most important discoverers in connection with Queensland. He had been a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, and was send out to Queensland to found the penal settlement. From that time onward Queensland had simply jumped ahead by leaps and bounds, and in his opinion it was one of the choicest parts of the British Empire. People were going there voluntarily in great numbers, and he predicted that within three generations from now – and what he meant by that was approximately 100 years – they would have a population as great as that of the British Isles at the present time. He was hoping that it would be a purely British stock. At the present time it was really purer British stock than they had at home. He trusted, therefore, that the people of great business would foster as much as possible everything that they would tend to make themselves more sure of the future, and encourage the sentiment of mutual trade from the knowledge that Queensland wanted to do business with them. Every penny raised in Australia was simply to prepare the land for the British people to go out there. Instead of lending money so freely as they did to-day to foreign nations who were to compete with them, it seemed to him that it was up to them to lend it to Australia at a lower rate than they got from these countries, because Australia was solving one of the problems at home by taking surplus stock out there. Unfortunately, the people did not seem to realise that. He always liked to come along to people they were doing business with so that they might get to know each other better and in the hope that they could do more business together. In every way he could encourage business it was certainly coming here instead of going to people outside themselves. He wished good luck to the company of Messrs Bow & M’Lachlan. They deserved it. As a layman who had just seen the mere shell of the John Oxley, he was well satisfied she was going to do good service for them, and he hoped it would be a forerunner of continued trade for the firm that had turned out such good work. He asked them to drink to the prosperity of the firm of Messrs Bow, M’Lachlan & Co., with the hope that their yard would soon be fully employed. He had great faith in the future. He believed implicitly that the Empire would continue to emerge successfully from its difficulties, and he hoped the prosperity would come to those people who had faith in what the Empire was capable of doing, and worked to that end. His wish was general prosperity for Imperial trade.

Mr Mitchell remarked that, having had the honour of being the inspecting officer for that vessel, he could testify to the very excellent work that Messrs Bow, M’Lachlan & Co. had put into it, and he would also like to testify to the great courtesy he and his assistant had always received from the firm. They had always been ready to meet their wishes and make the boat as fine a ship of her class as could be turned out. He was quite satisfied that when the vessel got out to Australia she would be a great credit to her builders and certainly an inducement to the Queensland Government when they required other vessels to get them built on the Cart.

Mr Smith also spoke, wishing prosperity to the John Oxley and the firm of Messrs Bow, M’Lachlan & Co.

Transcript from original paper article in the Paisley and Daily Gazette 21 July 1927. Click on article for enlargement

This photo below was recently supplied by Ms. Lyn Huxham, who is the great-granddaughter of John Huxham, Queensland’s Agent General in London. Mr. Huxham was present at the time of the vessel’s launching into the White Cart at Paisley on 20 July 1927. The two gentlemen to Mr. Huxham’s left are Mr. C H Mitchell (naval architect) and Mr. Bow (from builders Bow McLachlan).