Date of Event: NA

Vessel type: Ketch, previously Schooner

Location: South Australia

Suggested title: Mary and the Leillateah


This is a remarkable story of a lovely lady, Mary. now in her 90's reminiscing on her life and experiences as a Ketch Hand on the Leillateah.

The Leillateah was a Ketch within the Mosquito Fleet, coined from the hundreds of ketches and schooners which plied South Australia's trade, inter trading the shallow ports and gulf waters.

Well respected, it could be heard aboard other vessels "Hold it Lads, here comes the Leillateah" when foul mouth discussions were taking place.

Mary held her own, helping to unload cargo, but she was well regarded for her cooking. Mary and her husband Murray, who owned the ketch would hang on to their crew for a far greater time than other ketch owners. The boys were well fed. This is a story of triumph, challenges and love.

Interesting anecdote

Leillateah was named after the indigenous inhabitants of the Recherche Bay region, WA - the location of the vessels maiden voyage trading from Tasmania.


Please briefly note any objects (artefacts, images or other collection items) associated with the story

  • Photographs of the vessel as schooner and ketch are available.
  • Link to video has been provided, an interview with Mary and insight into the Mosquito Fleet. Images of early trading included in video

Name of person submitting the story

Steve Saville


AMMC Member Institution

Individual Member

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