The Narova, photographed here in Lyttelton Port, was built sometime in the 1910–20s and so would be around a century old today. Shown on board are the then owner Jack ‘Lucky’ Luxton with his son Pete, possibly preparing for another crayfishing expedition 6 hours north to Nape Nape. Word has it that oftentimes they were so successful they’d return with the wheelhouse knee deep in crays!
The Narova’s crayfishing career was nearly cut short in the 1950s, however, when it hit the harbour breakwater in a storm and the hull was breached. With a full load of crays on board it’s said that half had to be thrown back before the stricken craft could be lifted off the breakwater by a pile driver barge: as possibly shown in the second photograph of the pile driver lifting the Narova. Sent to Melbourne and patched up she resumed her fishing career and could be seen around the harbour for many more years to come.
Scrapped sometime in the last decade, the hull remained in storage until the Narova was resurrected for the next stage of her century-long journey – as the beautiful bar in Lyttelton’s Arbour Bar on Oxford Street. If you happen to visit at some point, maybe have a toast to Lucky and his fine old boat.