The story behind Shark Bay Pearl Lugger “The Galla”
This is the story of the mighty Galli-Cuci – a Shark Bay pearling lugger. The vessel was built by Tommy Rann (senior) in 1929 for Mac Hoult from Shark Bay designed specifically for dredge-pearling and fishing and was known locally as ‘The Galla’ – named after Amelita Galli-Curci, the Italian soprano who toured Australia in the early 1920s.
The design of the vessel was unique to Shark Bay due to its expansive counter-stern – a distinctive feature of the dredge pearling luggers. The Galla contained a large counter to increase the work area on board, a large centreplate midships which could be raised and lowered as required and a small cabin at the front and rear of the centre case.
The vessel has had a multitude of owners – changing careers and bosses more often than not. It also had the opportunity to be made over, and under – being refitted numerous times throughout its life.
In 1933 it became purely a fishing boat (out of Denham) and then in 1943 was used by General T.A. Blamey from the Australian Imperial Force for sailing and fishing. The vessel had a sole owner during 1949 then in 1954 had its hull replanked by its new owner. 1969 was the year it where it went to Safety Bay to be restored and have a new rig fitted and 1982 it was extensively refitted under the ownership of Paul Coote.
1992 was when Denham residents George and Edna Botica donated $20,000 to the WA Maritime Museum for the purchase of The Galla and its return to Denham.