Berrima, History

BerrimaWhen Berrima (A.O.R.1) was launched she was leased to Stannard Bros. who had the contract to supply all launch and other marine service to the A.O.R. during construction of the wharf at Kurnell. When the wharf was completed A.O.R.1 was put into service as a general workboat and passenger launch for the refinery and remained in service on Botany Bay for over 30 years.

At the time A.O.R.1 was launched in 1955 Stannard Bros. had a contract with the Maritime Services Board to supply a pilot cutter for all shipping movements into and out of Botany Bay. She provided this service for about 10 years until the Port became busy with tanker movements and MSB acquired their own pilot cutters.

When Berrima was built she was fitted with a rounded shape cabin with eight small drop-down windows, these proved quite unsuitable for the choppy waters of Botany Bay. The cabin was later replaced by a more conventional wheelhouse. Berrima was originally fitted with a six cylinder Lister diesel engine but this was replaced with a four cylinder Fordson diesel, this proved to be unsuitable as the vessel was underpowered. A Gardner diesel was later fitted.

The first skipper of A.O.R.1 was Roy Kent, a tug master with Stannard Bros. who took delivery of the vessel from Fisher Bros. the builders at La Perouse. Together with Robert Lovell as Deckhand and George Blundell as Relief Master they provided the pilot cutter service for 14 years. The above notes are based on a letter to the Fleet, written by Roy Kent on 17th November 1998.