SHF – John Oxley

John Oxley Restoration

Update March 2003


John Oxley milestone achieved! 
Completion of main hold structure.



Barry Jones riveting up the last of the rivets in the main hold

We are pleased to report that all structure in the bottom of the main hold has been replaced and riveted together.

John Oxley’s service life involved hauling buoys and moorings from the sea and stowing them in the main hold. Salt water and steel are never a good combination and the main hold was the worst part of John Oxley.

Full credit here to our team of stalwarts under team leader Barry Jones who have carried out work estimated at $140,000 for a little over $14,000 in steel, rivets and industrial gases!

Work has now commenced in the forward hold. Repairs to the lower part of the bulkhead are almost complete, and the first frames are being removed for replication in the workshop.

All steelwork to date has been carried out by our volunteer teams. But much more is required if we are to refloat John Oxley in a reasonable time frame.

We need many new volunteers on cutting, shaping, drilling, welding and riveting. The forepeak also needs descaling and cleaning out (most uninviting work!). There is also the need for engineers to join up – there is much that can be done, even at this stage.


Wish list

Our workshop and maintenance efforts at Rozelle rely completely on donations and support from business, industry and generous people. Many would not realise that all machine tools in our well-equipped workshop were donated by industry!

Current needs include :

Vertical milling machine
Oxy acetylene cutting equipment
Waterproof plywood 20 mm for John Oxley and Kanangra
Steel plate – particularly 8 mm and 10 mm for John Oxley plates
Steel angle for John Oxley – various sizes
Large numbers of 3/4” and 5/8” nuts and bolts for John Oxley


Welding and Technology Institute – John Oxley plate drive

This Welding and Technology Institute of Australia does a large amount for the Fleet – through the WTIA, we enjoy donations of welders, oxy gear, safety equipment, welding rods and industrial gases. These very significant donations were rewarded by the invitation to hold their 2002 Christmas party on board Waratah. This was a great success with all guests enjoying themselves.

At the end of the night, when the crew was putting Waratah to bed, WTIA committee members returned on board with the suggestion they run a plate drive for John Oxley.

Each plate plus rivets and gas costs us about $1000. Names of plate donors will be written on each plate prior to final coats of paint. We will also establish an honour board.

Contact Andy Munns on to find out how to join in. We are really keen to boost this project and get our largest steamship back into the water.


Exciting News!

Our largest project and only remaining coastal steamship left in Australian waters has just received a donation of $115,000.

This will be a great help as we move into 2003. These funds will be spent on the forward hold structure of John Oxley and related safety requirements.

This donation is a great boost to the project and our workforce is very excited by this support. The donation is anonymous however we are very thankful for this support.