The tale of the Coogee and the Olive Maud!! Old rivals of the Straits.


The tale of two old rivals the ‘Coogee’ and the ‘Olive Maud’. The ‘Coogee’ and the ‘Olive Maud’ wooden cutters built on Cape Barren Island. Richard Davey (Apple Orchard) built the Coogee and William Brown built the Olive Maud. Both gentlemen were well-known boat builders in the Straits in the day,

James Robinson bought the Coogee from Richard Davey and traded throughout the straits for many years, there are many stories  about these adventures. James previously owned the Elizabeth, built by William Brown, the Elizabeth was stranded on Swan Island as you can read at the end of this article which incorrectly states she was a ketch, she was re floated. James sold the Elizabeth to Alf Briant and wrecked on rocks in May 1882 off Cape Barren.. James also owned the Waratah, presumably after the Elizabeth and before the Coogee.

Its official‘ the Coogee……. is the fastest cutter in the Straits.

Extract from ‘Bishop Montgomery June 1894 – printed in the ‘Church News” August 1894 and on page 124 as follows

But I was not present at these proceedings an hour after the wedding I had embarked  in Mr W Brown’s “Olive Maud”, a regular clipper with Messrs. Brown and Burgess as crew, on my way to Flinders Island. The Olive Maud is one of the fastest of the Straits boats, of nine tons, and supposed to be second only to Mr Davey’s “Coogee” in speed. I found her sailing powers all that could be desired, and even the 12 miles we made from the school township to Green Island could not have been effected by many other boats in the seven hours we took against a light wind and strong tide’.

Dad was amazed when I located the Examiner clipping, he had known about Bishop Montgomery’s reference for a number of years confirming the Coogee was faster than the Olive Maud. Apparently his father, Horace and  Mr Riddle (Snr) used to argue the toss about which was the finest and fastest. Horace was a supporter of the Davey built boats and Bill Riddle the Brown built boats (early version of the Holden and Ford contests) These articles also validate the accuracy of the oral history passed along the generations.

I wonder if any Davey descendants have any information about the  year the Coogee was built and when Dick sold to her James and the Brown’s, any information or photos of the Olive Maud?

Emily left the ‘Coogee’ to John, Cecil (Dick) and Horace, known as Robinson Bros – ‘HJC’.

Robinson Bros eventually sold the Coogee to a game fisherman in Victoria, the decks were renovated, her fate revealed in this article.

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