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The Solway Lass, a brief history

The Solway Lass sails proudly as one of the most iconic vessels in the Whitsunday Islands. Over 100 years old, her long life at sea is filled with a rich history that covers much of the world and many great events.

Constructed in 1902 in Holland, she was originally named Stina. She was renamed Adolf from 1905 and worked primarily throughout the Baltic Sea. During World War 1 she was taken as a prize of war by the British. From there her role as a Q-ship, (a decoy for enemy submarines) carried on until the end of the war. Upon the war’s end she was sold to a coal merchant in Liverpool. She was sold again in 1924 to a Scottish Shipping Company, located in the Solway Firth. Here she was named Solway Lass for the first time. She had a new engine installed and she worked carrying coal and other supplies between Scotland, Ireland and Britain.

The second dramatic turn in her history occurred in 1937, when she ran aground in Sandymount, Dublin, during a catastrophic snow storm. Shortly after this, she was sold to Danish company and was again used to ferry cargo around the Baltic Sea. With the outbreak of World War Two, Solway Lass was seized by the German Navy. She was used as a supply ship until she was sunk and she remained a wreck until the conclusion of the war.

Once repaired, she was renamed Bent. She was renamed several times over the next few decades as she worked in Denmark, sailed across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal and arrived to work in Fiji as a coastal Trader. After more than ten years working in Fiji she was purchased by an Australian owner and sailed to Sydney, were she was rebuilt in Sydney Harbour in 1985.

Named Solway Lass again, she sailed Sydney Harbour as a pleasure cruise vessel and took part in the first fleet re-enactment that celebrated 200 years of Australian colonisation. From there she was sailed north to the Whitsunday Islands, where she now works as one of the area’s most famous and recognisable vessels, running three day cruises throughout the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef. Her history is remembered by her crew and her guests today will often be told of her rich life and wide travels.

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