Lily, 16-foot racing dinghy

Collection Highlights | Updated 3 years ago

A black and white photo of a racing dinghy
Lily, 16-foot racing dinghy
Image copyright of WA Museum

Lily is a 16-foot skiff - a uniquely Australian, high-performance racing dinghy.

The class originated from Balmain, NSW in 1901 as a less expensive alternative to the larger 18-foot class. The class expanded to Queensland in 1908, before becoming established in Western Australia.

Lily's shape was based on a Queensland skiff called Miss Curious. Boat builder Jack Mitchell built Lily (named after his wife) with the assistance of his regular crew Wally Arcus, George Godfrey and Tiny Love in 1926. The timbers used in the 16-footer include: Paperbark, Tasmanian Blackwood, Pacific Maple, Yellow Cedar, Jarrah, Blackbutt, Lilac and Silky Oak. Lily was constructed during a period that is considered the pinnacle of small craft design and construction.

Lily had a successful racing career, winning state titles and many other trophies. This vessel came into the Western Australian Museum’s, Watercraft Collection as a donation from Ken Hill and Mike Sneddon in June 1986, other components of the vessel were later donated by Mike Igglesdon.

The vessel is in fair condition, has not been restored, and is located with the other Historic Watercraft, in the Maritime History Department’s storage facility, A-Shed, Victoria Quay, Fremantle.

Maritime history boats and watercraft