Brief History of Polly Woodside

The Polly Woodside is a three masted sailing barque with an external cladding of iron plates. She was launched from the yards of Workman Clark in Belfast in 1885. Her early years were in general cargo, including the nitrate trade between the UK and South America. She made her first voyage to Australia in 1900 and was bought by New Zealand interests in 1904 and renamed Rona. She operated mainly between New Zealand and Australia often carrying cargoes of timber.
In 1923 Rona became a coal hulk, employed bunkering steamships in Sydney and then Melbourne. She served in New Guinea in WWII and returned to Melbourne in 1946 to continue her role as a coal hulk. By the early 1960's she was destined to be scuttled in Bass Strait until a group of ship enthusiasts, led by Karl Kortum and Dr. Graeme Robertson, saw the potential for restoring her to her former glory.
In 1968, the barque was handed over to the National Trust. Over the next decade or she so was progressively restored, mainly by PWVA volunteers under the supervision of Capt.G.H. Heyen MBE and Master Rigger Tor Lindqvist. In 1978, after reverting to her original name of Polly Woodside she was moved to Duke's dry-dock, where she is maintained as a static exhibition by members of the PWVA. In 1988, the Polly Woodside became the first merchant ship in the world to be awarded the prestigious World Ship Trust Medal.