The replica fifteenth century caravel Notorious in Urangan harbour.
The replica fifteenth century caravel Notorious in Urangan harbour. Alistair Brightman

AHOY THERE: Notorious visitors are back in the Bay

TURNING heads at the Urangan Harbour is the Notorious pirate ship - a full-scale, all-wood replica of a 15th century Portuguese caravel.

Built by amateur boat-builder Graeme Wylie, it is the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and Fraser Coast residents will have the opportunity to walk on board during inspections days this month.

Graeme and his partner Felicite live on board the ship full-time and both say they are looking forward to opening it up to the public and sharing the history of its creation.

"Graeme was inspired to build Notorious after researching caravels, one of which was wrecked between Warrnambool and Port Fairy in south-western Victoria," Felicite said.

"The shipwreck is believed to have been a caravel from a secret voyage of discovery along the east coast of Australia in 1522.

"Graeme began salvaging Monterey cypress from bulldozed windbreaks in south-western Victoria, using this very stable and beautiful timber to make unique furniture.

"Eventually, with more than 300 tonnes of logs in his backyard, Graeme decided to build a boat."


Graeme Wylie on board his replica fifteenth century caravel Notorious in Urangan harbour.
Yearning for the freedom of the open seas, amateur boat-builder Graeme Wylie put his heart and soul into building the Notorious pirate ship. Alistair Brightman

As there was no archaeological evidence of a caravel ever found, Graeme spent two years researching the project.

Notorious's keel was laid in 2002 and she was launched in 2011, with her maiden voyage from the Southern Ocean through Bass Strait in January 2012.

Since then, Graeme and Felicite have called the Notorious home.

This is the couple's third visit to the region.

"Graeme and I are looking forward to catching up with old and new friends alike," Felicite said.

"During our second visit in 2018, we met many friendly and welcoming people and also the opportunity to see a little of the region, and really liked what we saw.

"This is also a great opportunity for the residents as well as visitors to the Fraser Coast, to climb the gangway and explore Notorious."

Sadly for those smitten with the caravel, there won't be an opportunity to sail.

"Notorious is our home and not a commercial vessel," Felicite said.

"We welcome all little, and not so little pirates to explore the Black Ship."

More details can be found at Facebook/notorious theship.


When: March 22, 23 and 24, from 9am to 3pm daily.

Where: Urangan Harbour. Admission is at the ship's gangway.

Cost: Adults $5, children $2. Children must be supervised at all times by an accompanying adult. All little (and the not so little) pirates welcome.