The profiles listed in this Register have been documented from the stories and photos contributed by custodians and others who willingly shared information. Readers who have additional information about the history of any Couta Boat are invited to forward it to so that it can be added to the Register.


Boat Details

Sail Number:
No sail number
Boat Location:
Queenscliff Lonsdale Yacht Club, Victoria.
Current Custodian:
Richard Murphy.
Year Built:
Late 1940s
Designer & Builder:

Ken Lacco, Rosebud, Victoria.

Timbers Used:

Hull: New Zealand Kauri
Deck: Celery Top Pine

Length: 19 ft.


Early Years
Wendy was built at 19 foot by Ken Lacco in Rosebud, Victoria in the late 1940s.

At the time, Ken had been in partnership with professional fisherman Noel Freeman. Together, they operated a 54 foot shark boat called Rosebud, catching shark for its oil to meet the demand for a local replacement for cod liver oil. However, when the market failed, the partnership dissolved. As part of the settlement, Ken built Wendy for Noel Freeman to go ‘hooking’ and longline fishing on Port Phillip. The timbers used had originally been set aside for the construction of more shark boats.

She was gunter-rigged and built with a shallow draft and centre-case, making her suitable for fishing in the southern end of Port Phillip.

It is known that Noel Freeman operated Wendy as a fishing boat out of Rosebud, but during the next two decades it is possible she worked out of Hastings on Western Port. It was at Hastings that an apple orchardist from Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula became her new custodian. It is believed that she was used as a recreational boat on Western Port.

Wendy’s next custodian was a family from St Leonards on the Bellarine Peninsula that also used her as a recreational boat. In the summer she was moored off St Leonards’ foreshore, then for the winter months she was motored across Port Phillip to the Maribyrnong River in Melbourne for annual maintenance.

Current Custodian: Richard Murphy; 1975 – Present
In the mid 1970s, Wendy was acquired by her current custodian Richard Murphy.

Richard grew up enjoying holidays on the Mornington Peninsula, in the era when the Burnhams’ Lacco-built fishing boats lined the foreshore at Rosebud. Since then he has taken a keen interest in wooden fishing boats.

In 1975, Richard cruised the waters of Port Phillip looking to purchase his own wooden boat, and came across Wendy moored in the shallows at St Leonards. He settled with her custodian at the time, to purchase her.

After the acquisition, Wendy was lifted out of the water on a crane, placed on a trailer and taken to an industrial shed in Burwood, a suburb of Melbourne where Richard stripped her and discovered that her structure was still in reasonable condition, noting her ‘tongue and groove’ laid deck and a thick Red Gum keel.

For over 45 years, Richard has used Wendy regularly for recreational fishing and occasional sailing out of Queenscliff. He has the original cotton canvas sails that were fitted on the boat when she was built, and which still are in working condition. Richard says that one of his favourite pastimes has been trolling for pike around Swan Island, close by Queenscliff, ensuring that the heritage of this Lacco-built boat fishing boat is preserved.

In about 2015, Wendy underwent a rebuild including: a new centre-case, ribs and deck, and a new Yanmar engine. The works were done by Bryon Miller of Peninsula Wooden Boats.

Wendy remains berthed, fore and aft, at Number 12 pile in front of Queenscliff Lonsdale Yacht Club.

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