US ARMY WT85 Koolya/Protrude
See early History HERE
(courtesy Mori Flapan)
See a gallery of images of US Army WT85 Protrude taken at Gosford Breakwall in 2015 HERE
Following meetings with former owner Larry Elliott in Woy Woy and current owner (March 2016) David Winning on 3rd March 2016 much more is known about US Army WT 85 Koolya/Protrude.
The Great Lakes Historical Society is grateful to Larry Elliott of Woy Woy who was able to provide plans to the Historical Society along with many historic photos, other documents as well as a bakelite ships compass and ships bell, possibly from the WT85 Protrude (TBC).
Larry was extremely accommodating and it was clear he was passionate about the Protrude and had spent a lot of money getting the vessel back into survey.
Larry was able to establish the chain of ownership dating from builders Ernest Wright & Sons of Tuncurry NSW. According to a Builders Certificate record signed off by John Wright Jnr in 1948 the WT85 was built in 1943 but some researchers believe construction may have begun in 1943 but that the vessel was not actually finished until 1944. Built for the US Army by order of the Ministry of Munitions, WT85 was launched* between 10am and 11am on the 7th July 1944,
and towed across the bar into Cape Hawke Bay at 11.30am on the 24th July 1944,
followed by the WT49 at 12.30pm, both vessels being towed by the "Eldorado" and confirmed by entries of payment in the pilot's log book. Both the WT85 and the WT49 left the bay under tow of the WT68 by 1pm.
US Army WT85 at some stage during WWII was transferred to the Australian Navy and was named the Koolya. In early 1948 she was advertised nationally by the Commonwealth Disposals Commission – Department of the Navy and purchased by Nicholson Bros. Harbour Transport Pty. Limited and was registered as Protrude
on 29th November 1950. Nicholson Bros at the time sought a Builders Certificate from Ernest Wright & Son Shipyards of Tuncurry. This Certificate was signed by John A Wright on 15th December 1948.
On the 27th November 1972 the Protrude was sold to Stannard Bros Launch Services Pty Ltd and was operating out of No. 7 Jetty, West Circular Quay. The vessel was registered on 30th November 1972.
On 27th May 1987 Stannard Bros Launch Services sold the Protrude to to Aaron Maher of Concord, a worker at Stannards, for the sum of $3,000.
In February 1991 she was re-built at Homebush Bay, Sydney and converted to pleasure vessel and was moored at Blackwall Bay, Brisbane Water, NSW
Aaron Maher then sold the Protrude to Brisbane Water Ferry operator Alan Draper who operates the Lady Kendall.
Alan Draper then sold it to Booker Bay Marina who sold it to Larry Elliott in around 1999 for $2.500.
Larry Elliot did an enormous amount of work on the boat but eventually was unable to continue and sold the vessel to Gosford man David Winning for $7,000 in 2013.
The original engine was an 135 BHP Cummins Diesel. 6-cyl. but was replaced by Stannards or Aaron Maher ? with a V8 2 Stoke General Motors Twin Turbo with Supercharger and 871 TT (Top Torque), the highest possible torque at the time.
The vessel was purchased by David Winning on 12th September 2013 but was not registered till 17th December not long after it had sunk on its Blackwall Bay, Ettalong mooring on 19th November 2013 following torrential rain and a failure of the bilge pumps to cope.
The vessel was quickly refloated and is fully operational with the Certificate of Operation indicating the boat is in Valid Survey until 21st March 2019.
The boat while in its most recent private ownership has been used on occasions by David Winning to voluntarily assist with salvage after local storms in the Brisbane Water area have left many yachts and other boats in a dire state.
Special thanks to David Winning who also provided important documents and information relating to the Protrude.
Members of Great Lakes Historical Society have been invited by David Winning to enjoy a ride and inspection of the historic US ARMY WT85 Protrude on or around May 10th 2016 at Gosford. Footnote
* Graham Nicholson believes that the WT85 & WT49 were launched (along with a 66ft vessel) on the Friday the 7th July 1944, without decks, with the decking laid at the wharf with the engine well being made waterproof, ready for towing on Monday the 24th July.Note - The photos, documents and plans appearing in this gallery may not be copied without permission