SHF – John Oxley

John Oxley Restoration

Update August 2002


Hold Structure

Due to the hard work and ingenuity of our volunteer teams, we can expect to complete all structural repairs in the lower main hold by the end of 2002. This is an outstanding effort by all concerned.

The main hold was the worst damaged part of the ship. Volunteers have now replaced 100% of the structural members in the lower part of the hold. Wasted components are removed to the workshop where they are replicated and then returned to the ship for riveting to new frames.

A hydraulic riveter resembling a huge G clamp is the brainchild of team leader Barry Jones. It has carried out all riveting so far and is a great contribution to the project.

Work in 2003 will extend into the forward hold where at least four floors and part frames, along with assorted patching of rusted structure, will commence.

The bunker space midships was badly fouled with old fuel oil, rust and spent abrasive blasting grit. Volunteer Col Tooher has led the charge here, almost single-handedly removing most of one of the worst messes possible on board a ship.

Special thanks also go to our chief oxy cutter Brian Hill, a long time stalwart who, with his oxy torch, removes a steady supply of components for replication.

The Work-for-the-Dole team under shipwright supervisor Ian Smith completed the galley restoration early this year. They are currently working on the wheelhouse and have also recaulked the entire boat deck.

Meanwhile research work is continuing on the restoration feasibility study. This document outlines and costs all work required to return John Oxley to seagoing condition. Combined with this is the extensive pre-work by Hon. Naval Architects Lina Diaz and David Gosling.

Kate McKenzie, a final year naval architecture student at UNSW is also well into an undergraduate thesis on a stability model for John Oxley.



We are always chasing donations of steel plate, 8, 10 and soon 12 millimetre thickness. At present we have some steel at hand but if we are to keep up with workshop consumption, we need much more. Also sought are angles and channels for structural work.

We also need large numbers of 3/4” and 5/8” nuts and bolts to hold structures together before riveting.

Special thanks to Transfield in the Rocks area who are donating used very heavy steel sections that will become props and supports under the hull.

Special thanks also to other sponsors including Atlas Copco who keep our compressors maintained and running and to International who supply paint.

One important wish list item would have to be a 1 tonne compressed air driven hoist. This would really assist our workforce in moving around heavy components.


Next Step

We clearly wish to expand the project and need a great deal of help to achieve this.

While we need to fund raise for materials and for workforce to replate the hull, there is still a huge amount of volunteer work remaining.

We really need needlegunners – while this work is dirty and noisy, there is a real buzz when rusty steelwork is painted for all to see.

We also need metal workers – those with skills and those who wish to learn to cut metal, drill, shape, rivet and weld.

We need people to become supervisors and join in at committee level. We also need researchers and people who will work at publicity and funding sources.

All this and much more will be required to achieve our aim of having John Oxley steaming at sea alongside our already successful James Craig!