Trixen, Broome Pearling Lugger

Collection Highlights | Updated 6 years ago

A pearl lugger vessel moored at a harbour
Trixen, Broome Pearling Lugger
Image copyright of WA Museum

Trixen is a West Australian pearling lugger originally built in 1904 and later modified to continue pearling operations in north-west Australia into the 1940s. Throughout the life of the Trixen, the vessel has had a series of owners and different purposes. Since the 1970s the boast used variously as a prawn trawler, cargo vessel and yacht.

It has been rebuilt and restored by the West Australian Maritime Museum, where it is displayed as an example of a Broome based pearling lugger.

Trixen was built in 1904 by an unidentified builder and launched under the name Trixie, a name it retained until becoming Trixen around 1913. It had a schooner rig which was commonly used over the early period of lugger development. In the 1940s it was rebuilt and lengthened to be just over 50 feet long (originally just under 40 feet). It is carvel planked (planks are built on a wooden frame and butt up to one another) and shows typical construction methods used in the 1940s. At this time it was re-rigged as a ketch (sailing craft with two masts) which had become the standard rig in the 1920s.

It survived in Broome during World War II and continued on the pearl fields working for the pearl shell trading companies Streeter and Male Co, Paspaley Pearls and finally Hockings. Trixen left pearling by the 1960s when it was used as a prawn trawler, and later a cargo ferry vessel. In the early 1980s it was recovered by the Maritime Archaeology Association of WA, and the Western Australian Maritime Museum.

The Museum restored the vessel to its 1940s arrangement as a pearling lugger and in 2002 it was placed on display.

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