Posted by: Debra Kolkka | July 4, 2015

Ship ahoy!

A pirate ship appears to have sailed up the Brisbane River and docked at Southbank.


It is actually Notorious, a replica of a 15th century caravelle. It was built by Graeme and a Felicite Wylie after they were inspired by a Port Fairy legend of the Mahogany Ship. An ancient wreck was said to be discovered in the sand dunes in 1836 and then lost in the drifting sands in the 1890s. It was believed to be a Portugese caravelle from Mendonca’s secret voyage of 1522.

Caravelles were used by Vasco da Gama, Mendonca and Christopher Columbus. Columbus’ Nina and Pinta were caravelles. It is incredible that these tiny ships were able to travel so far in uncharted waters…what brave souls they were to head off across the ocean never knowing where they were actually going and if they would return.

Notorious is a full size replica. It weighs 55 tonnes, is 17.5 metres long and 5.5 metres wide. The keel is ironbark and the rest of the ship is Monterey Cypress covered with tar. It was launched on February 7th 2011 in Port Fairy, Victoria.


There is just one day left to see Notorious before she sails off on her next adventure.


Southbank is looking great in the winter sun.

Southbank Brisbane


  1. What a lovely city…I hope it’s not as hot and humid there as it is here! You left a heat wave behind you. Perfect timing I’d say!

    • It is winter here and today was a perfect 23 degrees…this is why I return at this time of year.

  2. Beautiful! And I guess more comfortable than the caravelles of the 16th Century…

    • I can’t believe how small these ships were. It must have been both miserable and terrifying in bad weather.

  3. Deb, thanks I am going to ‘share’ this with you. Lovely blog. Our beautiful Brisbane !

    • Brisbane was certainly looking good today.

  4. Southbank looks great

    • It is a great spot, and it was packed today with people having fun.

  5. Given the size of the boat, it’s hard to image the feats of Columbus and Da Gama.

    • I have recently read a book about the voyages of Columbus. Those sailors suffered hideous conditions. What they did to the native populations they came across in the name of king and God was also hideous…but that’s another story.

      • Debra,
        Good point about the conditions and the atrocities.

  6. I can’t get over how small that boat is. As you say they must have been very brave! Your city looks lovely and your winter seems like our summer in the uk.

    • I thought it must have been a half size replica at first, but no. Brisbane is a lovely city and our winters are perfect.

  7. One of the best moves Brisbane made after Expo was Southbank. Looking at your photos, it’s not really winter is it? Only people from Brisbane think it is.

    • I was a volunteer at Expo and I remember what South Brisbane was like before it. Southbank is excellent. There were teething problems at first, but it is now a great addition to the city. It does amuse me to see people walking around in boots and coats in this weather. The mornings and nights can be cool, but the days are glorious.

  8. Caravelle – looks like the same one moored in front of us Skeleton Bay – apt name a couple of years back, I had tried to contact them but the signal was so low they did not get it until they sailed away.

    • It has been sailing around Australia for a while I think. It will soon be off to sail in Queensland waters. I think it is wonderful.

  9. We saw this ship when we were in Iluka a couple of months ago. So impressively small and “ahoy me hearties”! I was at Southbank yesterday doing a photography course – which was very good but I have yet to master the art of looking nonchalant whilst hoisting a tripod over my shoulder, getting the legs caught between mine and whacking myself behind the ear with it:)

    • I look forward to seeing the results of your photography class.

  10. Southbank is indeed looking lovely in the winter sun.

    • It is a great place near the city and it is a short walk from my house.

  11. What a superb pirate ship! That’s a very impressive project, which must have taken a long time to complete. Lovely photo gallery, Debra. 🙂

    • It took about 11 years, $20,000 and a lot of manhours.

  12. Queensland always has such nice winters!

    • I know, I went for a swim in the surf at Main Beach today…perfect.

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