© Copyright 2011  Julianne Dodds Rescue yacht White Swan World War II Francois - From Brisbane to Singapore 1924 to 1932 In 1924, John McGinnis (Mac) Williams engaged Norman Wright, a well-known Brisbane boat builder to build a 70 ft. yacht. Completed in 1926, Francois was a modern, luxurious gaff rigged schooner built with the finest timber from Mac’s plywood and veneer mill - Maple, Blue Gum, Spotted Gum, White Beech - and fitted out with all the comforts of home.  In 1931 Mac sold Francois to Merton Holland Brown. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1890, [2] Brown managed a Thornycroft sales and service centre which had been set up in 1925 to handle sales in Malaya and other markets.  Thornycroft was a British shipbuilding firm started by John Isaac Thornycroft in the 19th century. [3]  Brown employed Captain Paul R.N.V.R., a rubber planter, to sail the yacht to Singapore along with a crew of nine Malay seamen. [4] On the way they called into Cairns and Thursday Island, and then sailed through the Dutch East Indies, called into Batavia, and finally arrived in Singapore.  She had covered the 4,000 miles to Singapore in 35 days, nearly all the way being under canvas. [5]  Apart from any fair dealings for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the publisher. Personified by elegance, she sailed the seas, entertained the elite and proved her courage and durability by a heroic rescue during World War II.  At the age of sixteen she was lost at sea. Francois moored in the Brisbane River c. 1928 [1] Captain Paul and Malay seamen  departing for Singapore. [6]