Home' Afloat : AFLOAT March 2014 Contents Take monthly with water March 2014 37
• DUBARRY • HARKEN • HENRI LLOYD •
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For the past quarter of a century the lovely Ena has been
a sleeping beauty, bedded soft in Berry’s Bay, awaiting a
reawakening when her canvas covers would be thrown back to
reveal the elegant lines of an Edwardian masterpiece.
That day came during the first week of February when the Swiss
banker who has owned and maintained the boat for 30 years,
ignored bids by some of Australia’s wealthiest individuals and
instead chose to sell her to Warwick Turner, a 72-year-old retired
museums director who has been at the forefront of Australian
maritime heritage conservation for over 50 years.
Mr Turner, one of the founding fathers of the Sydney Maritime
Museum, has a passionate life-long interest in steam-driven
vessels and was primarily responsible for saving the former vice-
regal steam launch Lady Hopetoun, the historic steam tug Waratah
and pilot vessel John Oxley.
Over the past 20 years he has been based at Echuca on the
Murray where he has taken a keen interest in the preservation
of the river’s historic fleet of steam-driven paddle-wheelers. Ena
could not be in better personal or professional hands.
The Turner family, including Warwick’s sons Jonathan, a
40-year-old master mariner and 38-year-old Hamish, a steamboat
skipper, intend steaming Ena to her new home at Melbourne’s
Docklands where she is to have the preeminent and highly
appropriate berth right outside the National Australia Bank’s
It was NAB’s predecessor, the Commercial Banking Company
in which En a’s first owner, Sir Thomas Dibbs, distinguished
himself as the doyen of Australian banking in the late 19th and
early 20th centuries. Sir Thomas, a former commodore of Royal
Sydney Yacht Squadron and brother of the NSW Premier George
Dibbs, commissioned Ena from the distinguished designer Walter
Reeks and had her New Zealand Kauri hull built by Watty Ford
in Berry’s Bay.
Launched in 1901 with glorious gilded clipper bows, a
thrusting bowsprit, a jaunty raked stack and a graceful counter
stern, she was for many years the most distinctive vessel on
Sydney Harbour. Sir Thomas Dibbs understood the importance of
corporate entertaining and used the opulently outfitted 100ft Ena
to impress his clients and guests with extensive Harbour cruises.
The Turner family’s business plan sees her playing much the
same role in Melbourne, the corporate capital of Australia. She
is in survey and rated 1D, a certification which will allow her to
Sydney’s iconic steam
yacht sails for Melbourne
carry 49 passengers and a crew of six on the smooth waters of
Ena had been offered for sale through expressions of interest.
“ We got a good deal,” Warwick Turner told me. “In the end we
were favoured because of our long record of involvement with the
preservation of so much of our maritime heritage. Our family’s
great interest lies in steam so unlike other interested bidders,
we were able to guarantee that En a’s steam engine and boilers
would not be ripped out and replaced by a modern diesel engine.”
The Turners also agreed not to disclose the identity of the
former owner, nor to reveal the purchase price.
Ena will be expected to earn her keep, and that means
generating an annual income sufficient to cover the cost of her
maintenance, expected to be at least $160,000 a year.
“ This is a balancing act,” Warwick Turner said, “in which we
will be juggling conservation and commerce. We believe the two
can go hand-in-hand.”
Ena is to go on public display in a temporary exhibition at
the Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour
before she makes her departure for Melbourne toward the end
After almost a century on Sydney Harbour, the magnificent Edwardian steam yacht Ena is bound for
a new life as a luxury charter vessel based in Melbourne’s Docklands. Bruce Stannard reports on
the bright new future for one of Australia’s most important historic vessels.
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