The Haldane brothers and the beginning of tuna fishing in Port Lincoln

Tuna fishing in Port Lincoln, where it all began. This is a story about three young men who had a dream — not a little dream, but a big dream — and being young and fearless, they made their dream happen.

The Haldane boys, three brothers, built an eight-tonne blue-gum vessel over 60 years ago, with the intent of catching salmon and tuna. They had seen boats in magazines; they were ambitious. They approached Western Boatbuilding Company in Tacoma in the United States of America for blueprints — a rather bold request — and the company sent them prints.

On Creek to Coast, we met Ross Haldane, son of the eldest of the Haldane boys. His description of the story is that it is ‘a rollicking yarn’. You, too, can meet Ross, who is happy to show you around the historic vessel that launched the tuna industry in Port Lincoln, and tell tales for hours.

The Tacoma still goes out to fish twice a year – a men’s trip and a women’s trip. The girls catch more tuna than the boys – just saying.

Jenna, the deck boss, also trains guest on how to pole for tuna, which is not as easy as it looks, but is very addictive once mastered.

The Tacoma has been donated by the Haldane family to the people of Australia and is well cared for by the Tacoma Preservation Society. Visit the site to find out when the next cruise or trips are being held, and to learn more about the extraordinary history of the “Big T”.

Or just have a good old yarn with Ross; it really is worth a visit.

The boat can be found at the end of Sandy Point Drive, off Laguana Drive in stage two of the Port Lincoln Marina.

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