Phillip Island & District Historical Society

Western Port trading vessel owners

Last updated on 12-Apr-19

John Jansson spoke and gave a slide presentation on the trading vessel owners of Western Port.





  • Robert Massey and Samuel Anderson of Bass         1841 – 1843
  • W. J. McHaffie of Phillip Island                                    1856 - 1865
  • Captain John Barnard Lock of Rhyll                 1850’s - 1908
  • Captain Alexander McLachlan of Williamstown,

            Queensferry and French Island                                                1870 - 1885

  • Thomas Thompson of French Island                 1872 - 1886
  • Alexander Stewart of Queensferry                    1877 - 1888
  • D. C. Jones & M. W. Woodley                                     1882 - 1883
  • J. T. Paul of Grantville                                                   1886 - 1888
  • Captain Alexander McLeod of Newhaven               1877 - 1880
  • Captain Andrew McLeod of Newhaven                   1884 - 1904
  • Captain Lawrence Henderson of Queensferry

            and Bass Landing                                            1888 - 1920

  • Captain Johan August Jansson of Rhyll                   1888 - 1920
  • Captain Erik Fridolf Jansson of Rhyll                            1908 - 1917



1801 Sealing starts

1835 Wattle barking starts

1835 First of the squatters taking up runs around Western Port

C 1840 Bay fishing starts from King’s Creek (Hastings)

1848 First of salt works around bay at Bass River

C 1850 Timber milling Stony Creek (Shoreham)

1854-1868 Boatbuilding at Sandy Point

C 1856-1860 Oystering settlement at Fishermen’s Point (Rhyll)

1856-58 Sandstone quarrying Griffiths Point (San Remo)

1871-1909 Coal mining Kilcunda

C 1872 - Timber milling Grantville

C 1872 - Timber milling Bass River Sawmill (Queensferry)

1880s Timber milling Woolamai

1890s-1951 Stony Point base for crayfish ketches

1891-1893 Granite quarrying, Cape Woolamai



Captn John Barnard Loch -

Born 18 December 1833, Middle Barton, Oxfordshire, England.

Five of the family of eleven children migrated to Australia.

Married 6 May 1857 Christ Church, Geelong

Employed to transport oysters from Western Port to Geelong in the cutter “Gannet”.

Had settled at Rhyll as daughter Martha born there in 1861, the first white girl born on Phillip Island

Moved to Melbourne soon after and returned to Rhyll when Island was opened up for settlement.

Died 8th August 1908.


Captn Alexander McLachlan

Ketch “Clara” built at Sandridge by Henry Warneke in 1870 for Alexander McLachlan of Williamstown.  Sold to Thomas Thompson in 1872 with McLachlan staying as master.

Schooner “Martha” built by John Legg at Williamstown in 1877 for Alexander McLachlan of Williamstowm. 

Trading to Western Port and Gippsland Lakes.

Marries his third wife Flora McLean 14 October 1882 and they moved to a farm on French Island.

Schooner “Martha” sold to W. Cowper and Partner June 1885.

McLachlan died at the Alfred Hospital 16 Oct 1890 from injuries he received from a young bull he was transporting to his property on French Island.



Alexander Stewart

Born 1832

Commenced sawmilling operations at Glen Forbes early 1870‘s.

Built jetty at Queensferry and completed tramline to mill in 1876.

Built the schooner “Tyro” at Queensferry 1876-77

Captain Lawrence Henderson employed to run “Tyro” from 1877.

Owned the French Island Salt Company.

Stewart’s Bass River Sawmill closed in 1886 as it had not been making money for some time.

Building 15 ton steamer to trade in Western Port in 1887.

Died 13 April 1888 at Mornington.


John showed photos of many of the ketches and schooners in service in Western Port and also some photos of crew members. See Collections - trading vessels. His talk was interspersed with newspaper articles from the times, such as:


Argus, 22 April 1922

COWES. - On Monday Captain Lawrence Henderson died at his residence, "The Landing," Bass.  For nearly 40 years Captain Henderson had been associated with the shipping of Westernport, having been at one time the owner of three schooners trading here.  One, the Tyro, was wrecked on the Island at McHaffie's beach, where her remains are still visible. The Angelina, renamed the Woolamai, still trades in Port Phillip bay, while the Kermandie was lost with all hands during a gale while on her way to Melbourne with a cargo of red granite from Cape Woolamai for the Equitable Life Building at the corner of Collins and Elizabeth streets, Melbourne.  Captain Henderson had other business interests in the bay, having being proprietor of the salt works on French Island, as well as owning a sawmill and store at the Bass River.


Frankston & Somerville Standard, 30 November 1928



Capt. J. A. Jansson, Rhyll.

 "On Sunday afternoon last an In Memoriam service for the late Captain J. A. Jansson was conducted in the Public Hall, Rhyll, by Rev. Jas. Raff, of St. John's Presbyterian Church, Cowes.  Hymns were sung suitable to the occasion.  The preacher based his sermon on Heb. 6.19: "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul," and during the address referred to the faithful life of their departed friend, who, at the age of 66 years, entered into the "Haven of Rest."

"The late Captain Jansson had been associated for more than 40 years with the maritime life of Phillip Island, serving first as a young man under the late Captain J. B. Lock, who owned and sailed a number of craft in the early days of settlement in Westernport Bay.  Later Captain Jansson acquired vessels of his own, trading between Phillip Island and Melbourne.  The late Captain Jansson was respected by all who knew him.  He showed great consideration and thought for others, and exercised a personal supervision of any goods entrusted to his care. The sickness he suffered from in his last days was born with Christian fortitude and patience, and his end was peace.  The preacher extended the sympathy of the congregation to the bereaved widow and family. "Abide With Me" was sung as a closing hymn."