The story of Francois

In 1924, "Mac", engaged Norman Wright, a well-known Brisbane boat builder, to draw up plans for Francois, a 70 ft auxiliary schooner. 
Mr Wright, born at Bulimba in 1885, had become one of the most successful boat builders in Australiaís history. He had already built a number of luxury motor cruisers - Pathfinder, Stradbroke and Stradbroke II, and Juanita.
Francois had an exceptionally shallow draught of only 4ft 6in, and was the largest racing yacht to be built by Norman Wright up until that time.
General Dimensions 70' 0"
Beam 16' 0"
Waterline 15' 0"
She was a modern, luxurious yacht fitted out with all the comforts of home. The timber in the main saloon and the maidís quarters was French polished. The hull and floor were of hardwood - Maple, Blue Gum, Spotted Gum, White Beech, Pine and veneer were used in other areas. All of these timbers were supplied and prepared by Mac's own plywood mill at Woolloongabba.
Brass and copper fittings were used and she was laid with a lead keel with other ballast consisting of composite concrete cast in blocks.

Francois was given the honour of acting as the pilot vessel in April 1927 for the official visit by the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother). An excursion was taken up the Brisbane River with the Duke and Duchess on board the yacht Juanita. 

Juanita (front) carries the Duke and Duchess of York along the Brisbane River with Francois at rear. 1927.
Original photo in possession of my mother, Mrs M. Williams.

During the 1930ís Mac had sold Francois to Merton Holland Brown who renamed her White Swan. In February 1942 White Swan assisted in evacuating civilians from Singapore but was captured by a Japanese officer and last seen at Bantam Bay at Batavia.
There were rumours that White Swan returned to Australia, but sadly, despite intensive enquiries and research, this does not appear to be so. She most likely lies silently on the bottom of silt-covered Bantam Bay, maple and blue gum timber eaten away by worms, brass and copper fittings encrusted with coral, amidst the broken remains of her concrete and lead keel.

My mother has many photos taken by Mac during the late 1920's through to the late 1930's. These have been, until now, unpublished and I have identified most but need help with others. Can you help?

Drop a line to Julie: