The Loftsman
Leith Shipyards

A history of the Ships built at the Henry Robb Shipyard in Leith, Scotland. Also a testimony to the men who built the Ships and to all who sailed in them.
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Home Ships Built in Leith 1946 to 1984 KOONYA - Yard No 461 - Diesel Cargo Vessel - Union Steamship Co N.Zealand - Built 1957

Leith Shipyards

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KOONYA - Yard No 461 - Diesel Cargo Vessel - Union Steamship Co N.Zealand - Built 1957



 The M.V.KOONYA Ship No 461

(Photo credit unknown)


Owners    Union Steam Ship Co. of NZ Ltd (Melbourne)
Registered    Hobart Keel Laid    
Type of Ship    Cargo Ship Launched    16/10/1957
      Handed Over    
Ship Details          
Length Overall     Launch Details    
Length B.P.    235' 0" Weather    
Beam    45' 0" Time to Water    
Depth Mld     15' 3"      
Draught    14' 0"      
G.R.T.    1,946 tons      
Props    1      
Speed    10 knots      
Other known names   1971-King Star    
Current Status   Broken up for scrap 1985    
Content on KOONYA will be added as and when available. 

The M.V.KOONYA was it seems named after a penal colony in Tasmania

Koonya being part of what was then a large colony of convicts



The M.V.KOONYA loaded and underway

(photo from Jan at the oceania shipping)


Ships History


Once a ship had been built and launched she then had to be out-fitted, and then complete sea trials
before being handed over to her new owners, who would look to have that ship at sea, as long as possible to pay for her build costs and of course to make the company good profits.

To this end one company may have had no requirement for a particular ship after a time and would then sell her on just like any other disposable commodity.
Hence a ship may have had a few owners and would go through many changes and names during what was hoped for a long and successful working life.

The M.V.KOONYA was another order from the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand, she was part of a 3 ship order from the company to be built at the Leith Shipyards of Henry Robb.

The M.V.KOONYA was the final one of the order to be built and launched.

KOONYA and KUMALLA were sisters except for a different hatch arrangement.
The M.V.KOONYA was the second ship in the USSCo of New Zealand to carry this name, and she was to continue on trade with the company for 13 years, primarily doing the cross Tasman run from the port of Strahan with minerals mined from this very out of the way place on the western coast of Tasmania before being sold on to Singapore shipping interests where she was employed for a further 14 years.



The lonely but magical port of Strahan, Western Tasmania, now a tourist hot spot with boat trips booked out to see this wild and almost forgotten part of the world.

We try here to give as full an account of her history as time and research permits, if you know of missing info or you have any photographs of her, then please get in touch and we shall update her story as we go along.



M.V.KOONYA as the King Star

(photo credit unknown)


Tales from the Ship

Here you will find the stories from the men and women who sailed on the ships, what was it really like to be working on a ship in a raging sea and in the pitch dark of night, the real stories some funny some sad, some good and some bad.

Dedicated to all the brave men and women who sailed the vessels from the Leith Shipyards.

We now have some great photographs sent into the Leithshipyards website from Mike Gostt, and we thank him for permission to used them on the site. The 3 photographs below are all from Mike.





Should you know of anyone who may have sailed on her, then please feel free to get in touch so that we can add the story here.



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0 #1 Mike Gostt 2012-08-16 18:44
Very interested to discover this site particularly having spent my first employment with Union SS Co in Hobart during which time signed on MV 'Koonya' in May 1959 bound for Burnie in ballast then to Melbourne with a cargo of newsprint, timber & general. It was a real education and experience for a lad of 16. During the voyage up Port Philip Bay to our berth in the Yarra, we passed sister ship 'Kumalla' proceeding south. During my 4 years with the Company I got the know numbers of these fine ships when delivering mail and manifests etc during the course of my duties as office junior! I still remember the smell of everything new when boarding both 'Pateena' & 'Poolta' at the start of their working lives on the weekly Sydney/Hobart run. Thanks for a wonderful piece of nostalgia. I have a few Kodachromes that I can send digitally if you are interested.

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