Lady Margaret

Formerly TSMV Tanda, Esmeralda & Ralda, The Lady Margaret

Built 1927 for Mr Reginald A. Prevost of the Royal Motor Yacht Club of NSW based at Rose Bay, Sydney.

Sold to a fellow member of the Royal Motor Yacht Squadron in 1935 and was lost to historians from this time until November 2015.

Tireless searching by historians has discovered that the Tanda became "The Esmeralda" and was requisitioned by the Australian Navy in about 1940 and saw service in Northern Australia and PNG during WW2. 

After the war she was sold as war surplus, now known as "Ralda" bought by Mr. L. Coleman of Mackay Qld. and used as a tourist vessel to cruise the Whitsunday Islands.

She was sold to a Mr Markwell in Sydney in about 1956. He fitted her with Perkins diesels.

Sold on some years later, she returned to Brisbane and gradually deteriorated until she was sold to Simon Kyle-Little of Arafura Safaris in Darwin and used to take international big game hunters to Arnhem Land from Darwin to shoot buffalo.

In 1996 the current owner, Mal Howarth of Raymond Island purchased the vessel, in very poor shape, transported her overland from Darwin to Paynesville and despite not knowing her history undertook a total restoration to the condition she is in today.

Recently rediscovered The Tanda, Esmeralda, Ralda, Lady Margaret is creating a lot of interest in classic timber boat circles and is a great example of dedicated enthusiasts keeping these important historical vessels alive.

FINDING THE TANDA. (Lady Margaret)

Extract. The Hobart Mercury 1st August 1927:

" A Magnificent Craft. 45Ft Motor Boat for Sydney. Credit to Tasmania."
"Designed by Tasmanian's, built by Tasmanian's of Tasmanian Material, the 45Ft Motor Boat Tanda which is ready for launching on Mr Coverdale's slip at Battery Point is a credit to her designer, her builders, and the State. A fine vessel in every way she is the smartest Motor Boat yet launched on the Derwent and will be equal to the best on Sydney Harbour. "

The TSMV TANDA was designed by Alfred Blore and built by Percy Coverdale at Battery Point in 1927, she was built to the order of Reginald A. Prevost, a prominent architect of Sydney and member of the Royal Motor Yacht Club of New South Wales based at Rose Bay, Sydney.

TANDA left Hobart on Friday 12th of August 1927 and arrived in Sydney on the 18th of August 1927. Under the command of Commander Lowther R.N. Mr R.A Prevost (Owner) 
Mr A.C Jephson. Mr D. J. Robertson (Engineer) Mr A Yarrow.

In October 1935 the TANDA was sold to Claude Carter also a Member of the Royal Motor Yacht Squadron.

This is the point in time is where the TANDA disappeared, until now she remained lost to Tasmania and Maritime Historians.


A search of the newspapers around the time Reginald Prevost sold the TANDA to Claude Carter, with the hope that she was sold to a fellow member of the RMYC, revealed a large launch registered to C. Carter by the name of ESMERALDA.

Claude Carter renamed TANDA, the ESMERALDA. 
ESMERALDA is last mentioned attending a rally for the RMYC in 1937.

ESMERALDA disappears again in the years before WW2.

ESMERALDA was requisitioned by the Navy for WW2 around 1940. Said to be used as an “Air Force Rescue Boat”.

June 1946 ESMERALDA was sold as war surplus and acquired by L. Coleman of Mackay QLD then used as a tourist vessel to cruise the Whitsunday Islands.

Q. Was the ESMERALDA was still in Queensland?

A. Face Book post to the Moreton Bay Cruisers Group QLD about the Tanda and her story so far, was responded to by Helena Baddiley of Brisbane who wrote:

"Roy Markwell RIP had a vessel named Esmeralda that looked very much like the vessel in the photos. It was twin screw with 6cyl Perkins diesels and a good turn of speed. It was moored at Roy's riverfront home at McConnel St Bulimba just upstream from Roy's engineering business Markwell Bros. This would have been in the 1950s and 1960s from memory"
The phone directory still listed a Markwell Bros Engineering at Bulimba, Brisbane.
Answering the phone for Markwell Bros was Roy's nephew Stuart Markwell.
Stuart remembered ESMERALDA, but recollected a larger boat that the Tanda's measurements?
"My cousin Lonnie has a better memory; I will contact her"
Lonnie Newbery became an excited participant in the search for her father’s boat and while her pictures of the boat were lost in the 1974 Brisbane Floods, Lonnie was gracious enough to contact her big sister Robbyn Forster in Mornington Vic. 
Robbyn emailed two wonderful pictures of the ESMERALDA. One in 1957 and again in 1961.
Lonnie Newbery remembrances of ESMERALDA:
"I remember that Dad bought her from Vic Johnson who used to live on the riverside at Fairfield about 1956. He sold her in the '61.
Dad put a P6 and S6 Perkins in her. He added more rake to her bow and when this was finished she was waterline length of 49'6", thus remaining under 50' to avoid heftier rules and regs of the era
As far as I can recall, she was taken up north, renamed Ralda. At the time I saw her, 
I recognized the bevelled glass in the wheelhouse. Mind you I could have been mistaken but the fact that the vessel was named Ralda sort of clinched it for me.
That was back in the late eighties at Hamilton Island when I was game fishing"
Armed with Robbyn's picture of ESMERALDA and the knowledge that she may well be in Queensland waters, another post to the FB Morton Bay Cruisers Group was posted.
Written late at night and thinking that it would be amazing luck to receive another response as quickly and as helpful as Helena Baddiley's, low and behold the next morning at 7.43 this response from Peter Medling, with a rather grainy picture attached, Peter wrote:
"I know she is hard to see. A very similar Boat moored on Raymond Island on the Gippsland Lakes. Never seen her move. Not sure of her name. But will get a better pic on the Weekend"
Pictured amongst a group of boats, taken from the mainland looking across to Raymond Island was the unmistakable profile of the TANDA / ESMERALDA.
Renamed the LADY MARGARET the TSMV TANDA now resides in the Gippsland Lakes, berthed at Raymond Island.
After speaking to the owner of LADY MARGARET, there is a whole new chapter of her history yet to be discovered.
The TANDA left Hobart in Aug 1927, went missing for 80 years, found again in 2015.

The Curator of the Australian Maritime Museum in Hobart unearthed this wonderful news clipping of a wedding ceremony and Honeymoon held on board Tanda in 1934

David Payne
Curator ARHV
Australian National Maritime Museum
Darling Harbour
2 Murray StreetNSW2000