MV Nelcebee
Name: MV Nelcebee
Namesake: Nelcebee after the Aboriginal name for a spring at Port Pirie
Owner: Captain Williams of Port Adelaide (1983-unknown), unknown (-1962), R Fricker and Company (1962-1982)
Builder: Thomas Seath at Rutherglen, Scotland
Cost: £7,000
Commissioned: 1883
Decommissioned: 1982
Fate: To South Australian Maritime Museum
Status: Museum Ship
General characteristics
Type: Steam tug and lighter (1883-1927) Motor ketch (1927-)
Length: 32.61 metres
Beam: 5.69 metres
Draft: 2.79 metres
Installed power: Steam (1883-1827) Diesel (1927-)
Sail plan: Ketch (1927-)

The MV Nelcebee is an auxiliary schooner that served the South Australian coastal trade from 1883 to 1982.[1]

Operational history

Nelcebee was built in at Rutherglen in Scotland by Thomas Seath. It was assembled and tested before being broken into parts and shipped to South Australia where it was reassembled by Thomas Cruickshank in Port Adelaide.[1]

Nelcebee commenced service as a tug and lighter at Port Pirie, gradually being replaced in its tug role with improved designs, until it was sold in 1927.[1]

Nelcebee was then refitted with a diesel engine, and given two masts. It commenced operation in the South Australian coastal trade from 1928 serving Spencer Gulf and Gulf St Vincent ports and carrying loads such as wheat, gypsum, and minerals. In 1962 the vessel was sold to R Fricker and Company and commenced working to supply Kangaroo Island until it was retired in 1982.[1]

Nelcebee was the second to last ketch operating in the South Australian coastal trade along with Falie. Upon retirement, it was the third oldest vessel on Lloyds Register of Shipping.[1] It is now held by the South Australian Maritime Museum.

In 2017, Nelcebee was one of the ships considered in a study funded by Renewal SA about "a strategy for berthing or locating historic ships and vessels within the inner harbour of Port Adelaide."[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e History SA > Nelcebee Archived 6 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 6 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Port Adelaide Renewal Project, Historic Ships and Boats Strategy" (PDF). Prepared by Mulloway Studio for Renewal SA. 15 March 2017. pp. 17–18. Retrieved 18 February 2019.