John Andrew Tennant Mortlock (1894 - 1950) commissioned R T Searles & Sons boatbuilders of Birkenhead South Australia to build Martindale. The Mortlock family were wealthy South Australian pastoralists who owned Martindale Hall, the family’s grand home near Mintaro, South Australia. J T Mortlock, as he was known, also owned property in Victoria and Western Australia as well as several other properties in South Australia. He sailed on Martindale to visit many of his properties.
Martindale, launched on 19 July 1932, is an auxiliary ketch rigged motor yacht, 66ft in length, with a beam of 14ft 2in, a draft of 5ft 10in and a weight of 56 tonnes. Her hull is made of jarrah and her deck is teak. Due to deterioriation causing leaks below, beech decking installed over the teak has been replaced. Fiddleback blackwood is used for the fittings and more than 30 knees of natural grown myall timber, sourced from the Mortlock property, have been used. The rooms are panelled in mahogany.
Martindale was built for comfort, with a large saloon seating 14 for meals and room for 4 to sleep, a fully equipped galley, 2 single state rooms with ample storage, bathrooms and crew quarters. She has a spacious deck and enclosed wheel house with seating.
During WWII Martindale was loaned to the Royal Australian Navy free of charge. HMAS Martindale sailed to Sydney for a refit including installing an anti aircraft gun on the aft deck. After the refit she sailed to New Guinea waters where she served in an air and sea rescue role as well as carrying out general duties. On her return to Sydney she was refitted before being returned to her owner. For further information see HMAS Martindale in Navy History.
In 1984 seven members of the original HMAS Martindale crew of 8 attended a reunion in Sydney. Their departure from Rushcutters Bay at 10am on Sunday 15 July 1984 was exactly forty years since their wartime departure from the same wharf.
The First Martindale
The current Martindale was the second boat of the same name commissioned by J T Mortlock. The first Martindale, built in 1924, was a 2 mast motor vessel of 32 tons built by Benjamin Weir, Birkenhead, South Australia. She was 60ft long, with a beam of 12ft. Her hull suffered timber failure off the coast of Victoria in 1930.