The Project Manager, Mr. Ken Wikner floated the idea of building a replica of the first coastal steamship to be built in Australia. Mr. Tom Barnes Honorary Naval Architect, agreed to assist in the design and oversee the construction of the ship.
No plans of the original ship have been found so the present ship has been designed and built in the style of many contemporary paddle-wheelers of the 1830 era. The keel of ironbark was laid in June 1985. Frames and ribs are built of spotted gum and tea tree knees. The hull is of spotted gum below the water line and oregon is used for the deck and masts.
William The Fourth was part funded by the Federal and State Government Bi-centennial grants and was sponsored by many Newcastle and Sydney Companies, the total cost around $1.3 million.
She was launched by Mrs. Hazel Hawke at Raymond Terrace on 26th September 1987.
Due to boiler problems the steam engine is no longer in service but has been replaced with a YUCHAI turbo-charged Diesel Marine Engine.
The 6 cylinder engine is 234kW or 313.7HP at 2,100rpm and weighs 1,200kg.
LOA – 32.3m (106ft), Beam – 9.2m (30ft 2in)
Draught – 1.59m (5ft 2in), Displacement -110t
William the Fourth is owned by registered charity William the Fourth Inc.
New members are welcome. The ship is maintained and operated by volunteer crew.