What is the Wyola's history?

    SS Wyola was a steam tug built in 1912 in England for the Swan River Shipping Company of Western Australia. She was 38m long with a 7.5m beam, a depth of 4m and a draught of 4.3m. Her 1,200 horsepower triple-expansion engine gave Wyola a speed of 11.5 knots (21.3 km/h). She was fitted with a strong salvage pump, making her one of the most powerful tugs in Australia.

    Naval records show the Wyola tug was among 624 brought into service during World War One. Wyola was taken over by the Commonwealth Board of Shipping on 28 March 1918, and sailed to the Mediterranean on 13 April 1918 under the command of Captain Milner. The tug was based at Malta and its role was most likely clearing harbours and shipping lanes of wartime wreckage from the war. This continued until Wyola’s return to Fremantle on 25 January 1920. 

    The Wyola was given back to the Swan River Shipping Company in March 1920. Captain Carl Douglas of East Fremantle took command of the Wyola for 36 years.

    She completed some remarkable rescues over several decades:

    • While being delivered to Fremantle, Wyola was sent to rescue the barque Concordia, which had been grounded by a cyclone that hit Depuch Island in early 1912.

    • On 13 June 1920 Wyola sailed from Fremantle Harbour into a storm to rescue the steamship Kingsmere, which lost her rudder crossing the Great Australian Bight.

    • On 5 January 1921 Wyola arrived in Carnarvon to rescue the steamship Kwinana, which was on fire. The tug's crew sank Kwinana in shallow water at her moorings to extinguish the fire, and then raised her by pumping her out with the tug's pump.

    In 1933, Wyola underwent repairs on the Fremantle slips, when some of her plates were so worn that a hole was accidentally knocked through one. 

    In 1970, Wyola was sold to Goldfield Metal Traders for scrapping. They took the tug to Robb Jetty, where they moored a barge alongside and cut the vessel down. In the process, they moved Wyola up on to the shoreline for further work until only the keel, part of the sternpost and the stern frames remained. These features are still present today.