The cruise of the Francois 1928 Luxurious motor yachts on the Brisbane River During the 1920’s In 1924, John McGinnis (Mac) Williams engaged Norman Reginald Wright, a well-known Brisbane boat builder, to draw up plans for a 70 foot auxiliary schooner. Mr Wright, born at Bulimba in 1885, had become one of the most successful boat builders in Australia’s history. He had already built a number of luxury motor cruisers - Pathfinder, Stradbroke and Stradbroke II, and Juanita. Stradbroke was designed and built for George Whatmore. When she was launched in 1925 Stradbroke was the largest privately owned motor yacht in Australia, registered 55 tons and having a length of 76 feet with a 16 foot beam and a draught of 4 feet. Her interior was beautifully upholstered. Francois was a modern, luxurious yacht fitted out with all the comforts of home. Mac had already decided upon a trip to North Queensland with friends so he insisted on every indulgence to make the journey comfortable. The after cabin was the ladies’ cabin. Forward of this was the engine room and engineer’s quarters which were located immediately aft of the main state room and dining saloon. Right forward was the forecastle, in which were located the crew’s quarters. It carried a ample ice chest and a full-sized cooking galley.  With a bathroom and shower bath, it was as good as a First Class hotel.  The timber in the main saloon and the maid’s quarters was French polished. The hull and floor were of hardwood - Maple, Blue Gum, Spotted Gum and White Beech; Pine and veneer were used in other areas. All of these timbers were supplied and prepared by Mac’s own timber mill at Woolloongabba in Brisbane. She had a carvel hull planked with 2 inch Spotted Gum, topsides were Maple and New Zealand Kauri and the deck was laid with 2 inch Beech. Her overall length was 70 feet, with a beam of 16 feet and a draft of 4 feet 6 inches with centreboard raised. All fittings were brass and copper and she was laid with a 3 ton lead ballast in a cast false keel with additional composite concrete block ballast. Up until that time Francois was the largest racing yacht to be built by Norman Wright. Francois was launched in August 1926 from the boatbuilding works at Newstead on the Brisbane River. Mac had already begun to make plans to sail his new yacht on a trip up the Queensland coast. Mac Williams was an active member of the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and Vice-Commodore of The Motor Yacht Club. Although Francois was built as a racing yacht, it appears that Mac raced her only a couple of times - almost as a social entertainment. Francois was given the honour of acting as the pilot vessel on 6th 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.  All hands on Francois were handsomely decked out in blazers and nautical attire.  As she preceded Juanita up the Brisbane River, thousands of people lined the banks to catch a glimpse of the royal couple. On board Francois was a celebrated 25 year old Queensland Middleweight champion boxer, Merv Williams. Merv stood at the bow of Francois doffing his cap to the crowd. A huge cheer went up like a wave from the excited onlookers along the riverside when Francois went past. As Merv continued his charade, it was obvious that the spectators were mistaking this boxer for the Duke of York. As the smaller vessel, Juanita, followed in the wake of Francois carrying the Duke and Duchess, the cheering and applause had ceased. Plans for Mac Williams’ 70 foot schooner Francois. Courtesy Bill Wright. George Whatmore’s Stradbroke. Williams Collection. The Royal Procession up the Brisbane River in 1927. The larger yacht is Francois and The Duke and Duchess of York are on Juanita in the foreground. Williams Collection © Copyright 2011  Julianne Dodds Did You Know? Francois moored in front of the Williams residence at Kangaroo Point on the Brisbane River. The largest building in the background, Mineral House at the corner of Alice and Edward Streets, is today dwarfed by city skyscrapers. Williams collection. Brisbane River... In 1823 John Oxley, who was  Surveyor General of New South  Wales, was sent to Moreton Bay to  find a suitable place for a convict  settlement. He entered the river and  sailed upstream impressed by the  unspoiled natural beauty.    The river was named after Sir Thomas   Brisbane, the then Governor of New  South Wales and a settlement was  established in 1824. Wikipedia Brisbane Convict buildings  The Commissariat Store in William  Street and the Old Windmill in  Wickham Terrace are the only  remaining convict-built structures in  Queensland.  The Commissariat Store was erected   by convict labour on the orders of  Moreton Bay penal colony commandant  Patrick Logan. Using stone quarried  from the Kangaroo Point cliffs, the  building was completed in 1829. It was  built close to the river as most goods  and people arrived by ships.   Wikipedia The Old Windmill was built by  convicts for grinding grains such as  wheat and maize for the Moreton Bay  Penal Settlement. The windmill had  wind-powered sails and a treadmill,  the latter being also used as  punishment for the convicts. Wikipedia