Canopus replica

Boat's history reflects Peel's changing economic fortunes

This replica boat model showcases one of the oldest wooden boats in Mandurah. Scottish settler Bob Smart ordered the boat built in Fremantle in 1912 to transport produce from Mandurah to Fremantle. But it wasn’t long until rail and road transport provided faster transport alternatives. Smart then turned his hand to the fish canning and curing business but, when fish stock declined, he was again forced to rethink his business plans. This time Smart turned to tourism, transforming the Canopus into a charter fishing vessel and opening one of the first tourism businesses in the Peel region. He’d already installed an engine from a modified Model-T Ford, which exists to this very day. He played host to movers and shakers of the time, including Governor Sir James Mitchell and several State premiers on six-hour fishing trips which cost one crown per passenger. So much did he come to love the vessel that, as he reached retirement age, Smart sought just the right buyer for Canopus, even threatening to burn the boat if he failed to find a trustworthy person to take her on. He eventually found such a man in a Mr Harold Blakeley Snr who bought Canopus for 100 pounds in the mid 1930s. Blakeley continued to use Canopus for tourism for many years. After Blakeley retired, he moved the boat to his backyard, keeping his promise to Smart to ensure he would provide the Canopus with a good home. The boat lies restored in the heart of Mandurah even today, awaiting future display.

Available at:

Mandurah Museum

A march through history

Wandering through the carefully curated rooms of Mandurah Museum is like meandering back in time. You’ll start your journey in the time when Aboriginal people were the only inhabitants of the region...


3 Pinjarra Rd
Mandurah WA 6210

Open Hours

Tues to Fri 10am - 3pm; closed Sat to Mon.

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