photos & details The Plowman Family & Ken Ricketts & Karen Moren

Australis was built by “Mac” McGeady  (Supreme Craft)  in 1955  at 1A Summer St Ponsonby for Auckland businessman Jack Plowman. She is 42′ long & was originally powered by 2 x 6 cyl. 100hp Austin ‘Skipper 100′ petrol engines, which were replaced with 2 x 6 cyl Ford Diesels about 2 years later by Seagars.

Mac McGeady once comment to Ken & his father that Australis was unique in the history of Supreme Craft, as she was the only boat he had built (at that time anyway), where his instructions were that she was to have the food in the cupboards & the liquor in the cocktail cabinet & be ready to go for a 3 week cruise to Great Barrier Island, an hour after she went in the water.

Jack P owned her until he replaced her with the John Salthouse built 60’ Biscayne (photo below) in 1969 at which time she was sold to a Mr Morry (or perhaps Maurice) Ralph, of John Courts Ltd.
Below is a press clipping of a ‘International Marine’ 4sale advertisement, NZ Heard May 1991, which gives an indication of her possible current configuration.
Just been advised by ww follower ‘SeaRover’ that this is not” Australis”. It is in fact “Maranoa” about to go back in the water after a hull repaint. It is up the Clevedon river on Murray Inglis ( who owned ALTAIR at that time) slip and that is me standing on the foredeck.

She appears to have disappeared off the radar – name change ? or what? Anyone able to help with info / photos?


01-05-2017 Update ex Alan Burdan

I’m Alan Burdan and have owned “Australis” since Feb 2001. I purchased her from Whangarei and the previous owner said he owned her for 11 years.
I have only just found and read your article on Australis and the history of Supreme Craft. I wish to thank you for filling in a lot of holes in my knowledge of the history of Australis.
Australis now is berthed in Seaview Marina, Wellington.
From my knowledge the repower to “2 x 6 cyl Ford Diesels” is incorrect and it was 2 x 4 cyl Ford Diesels.
The previous owner then did a repower to 2 x 6 cyl Ford Diesels in about 1990, claiming he put in the 6 cyl motors in as they ran smother.
Other changes he made was to extend the hull by 800mm by fitting a boarding platform and putting in a walk through transom.

Please see below photos of how she looks today


20130302_180742 Crop2

12 thoughts on “Australis

  1. Regarding the build for Australis, I well remember visiting the Supreme Boatbuilder shed in Ponsonby with my father, Jack Plowman. We lived in Herne Bay at that time so only a short bike ride after school. The original engines were Austin ‘Skipper 100′ petrol, bought at a special price of 300 pounds each from Seabrook Fowlds. They proved to be poorly marinised and were soon replaced with 6 cylinder Ford diesels, not 4 cylinder Fords. Mac McGready’s own boat, Aquila, was powered with 4 cylinder Fords, which he complained about because they were hard to live with. This may be where some confusion comes in. Another little known fact is that Mac always made it clear his preference was for all his boats’ names to start with an ” A ”
    Australis was sold about 1968 to be replaced by Biscayne, launched 1969 at Salthouse Boatbuilders,Greenhithe. Designed by well known US architect, Jack Hargreaves along the lines of the Hatteras sport fishers, Biscayne was entirely different. Triple Kauri planked and powered with Caterpillar 410 hp V8 diesels, she was all style and speed, although rarely run at more than 10 knots. Eventually owned by my brother and I until sold in 2002 to Rotorua owners.


  2. Lovely to see how ‘Australis’ is looking nowadays Alan B. 🙂 Would Love to talk to you about the history you have of her.


  3. So……does this mean there is now going to be a MARANOA page?
    Sorry if I’ve created more work for you.😝


  4. Ok, looks like I’ll be eating ‘humble pie’ again. I don’t know, the things I do to get the correct boat name but it did get you all thinking about it, haha!!!
    Thanks everyone, now I can update my files 😜


  5. As soon as I had a good look at the add, I agreed with Nathan, that it was not AUSTRALIS, MARANOA however, is a new one for me, never heard of a Mac G built boat by that name, so tend to strong feelings that it is a rename. — Can anyone else shed any light I wonder??? — KEN R


  6. Just been advised by ww follower ‘SeaRover’ that the 4sale press clipping is not” Australis”. It is in fact “Maranoa” about to go back in the water after a hull repaint. It is up the Clevedon river on Murray Inglis ( who owned ALTAIR at that time) slip and that is me standing on the foredeck.
    Again Nathan Herbert’s eye for detail scores. If he didn’t already have a ww tee-shirt he would be getting a parcel in the post 🙂


  7. Hi, Australis, yes built for Ploughman, sold to Ralph in 1969,who then sold to Galbraith 1970, then sold to Keith Archer 75,Keith used her in NZV Coastguard as a Coastguard cutter search and rescue, then sold to Cruickshank late 83, was for sale again in 1987.
    Regards, Tom Morris.


  8. They appear to have different cabins to me. Wow 130k? My family flogged a 44ft triple diagonal twin screw launch for substantially less the next year 😦


  9. The clipping was from the Herald newspaper May 1991. Thanks to Mum for snipping it out way back then.


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