MV Krait, moored next to the Church Point
General Store in 1966
Of all the boats that have
sailed on Pittwater, it’s hard to imagine one with more
varied a history than the ‘Krait’. Familiar to offshore
residents up until 1985, this vessel was involved in
fishing, international espionage, evacuating refugees, a
daring commando raid, the lumber industry, training,
search and rescue, charities, as well as film and
television, before finally becoming a museum
The Krait spent its declining years tied up at Church
Point. ‘It never seemed to go anywhere’, says John
Travers, who moved to Pittwater in 1982. Another
long-term island resident, Dick Hughes, also remembers
the Krait barely moving from its mooring next to the
general store. But the indolence of the vessel’s dotage
belied an adventurous past.
|The Krait in Broken
Bay during World War II. The Krait takes its
name from a small but highly venomous Asian
The Krait, a 21.33 metre teak boat, was built in Japan
around 1934. Based in Singapore, it ostensibly formed
part of Japan’s massive interwar fishing fleet. But from
the outset its story is mired in intrigue: it's believed
that the Japanese employed the boat as a subterfuge for
In 1941 Bill Reynolds, an Australian tin miner, used the
Krait to escape from Singapore in the face of advancing
Japanese forces. Picking up other evacuees, and
narrowly avoiding capture, the boat ended up in British
India. Already the Krait was a war hero, having rescued
over 1,500 refugees.
But a lot more was to come. Reynolds became convinced
that the Krait had evaded attack only because the
Japanese had mistaken it for one of their own. Spotting
the boat’s potential to slip behind enemy lines, a plot
was hatched to use the Krait in a daring commando raid,
returning it to Singapore to deliver a blow to Japanese
Operation Jaywick, as it came to be known, began in 1942
with the formation of a commando unit designated Z
Special Unit. For many months this group of men,
handpicked from Australian and British forces, trained
at Refuge Bay on the southern side of Broken Bay. Early
in 1943 they were joined by the Krait, which conveyed
the men north. After further preparations the Krait then
set sail for occupied Singapore.
||The Krait moored at
Church Point in 1982
The boat sailed to within 11 km of the city, whereupon
six men disembarked into three folding canoes. Under the
cover of darkness they paddled into Singapore harbour.
Then, gliding silently among Japanese tankers and
freighters, they attached limpet mines to seven ships.
The mines detonated and some 40,000 tons of Japanese
shipping was destroyed or damaged. Miraculously all six
men escaped interception and rendezvoused with the Krait
six days later.
Following Operation Jaywick the Krait was involved in
various espionage missions around Timor. Then, after the
war, the vessel was sold to a logging company in Borneo.
But in 1964 Australian veterans raised enough money for
its return to Sydney.
For the next 20 years The Krait became a familiar sight
on Pittwater. It was used to instruct boy scouts and sea
cadets in seamanship, to participate in rescues and to
assist in charity fundraising. It was during this period
that the Krait found a home at Church Point, right next
to the mini-mart.
The vessel was also hired out to the media, landing
parts in the ABC TV series Patrol Boat
and the 1981 film Gallipoli
. But by then the
hull had deteriorated and the boat was in danger of
|The Krait, restored
and on display in Darling Harbour
In 1982, after intense lobbying, the Australian War
Museum agreed to find a home for the boat, provided it
was restored to its wartime appearance. Originally the
Krait was to be transported to Canberra, but instead it
was put on display at the Australian National Maritime
Museum, where it has sat in Darling Harbour for the last
Operation Jaywick, the raid in which the Krait was so
instrumental, is generally considered a military
success. But our tale has a tragic ending. First, the
assault on Japanese shipping, although a morale booster
for Allied forces, led to reprisals against Singaporean
civilians, whom the Japanese wrongly blamed for the
And secondly, six of the 14 men involved in Operation
Jaywick attempted a second raid on Singapore in 1944.
Known as Operation Rimau, they were this time
intercepted by Japanese forces and condemned to death.
They were beheaded in the very last month of the
More about the Krait can be read here
. An episode of ABC TV’s Australian
, first broadcast in 2015 and dedicated to
the Krait, can be viewed here
is a photo of some money, which is what you
will not win by entering this quiz.
Feeling bored while trapped
at home during the current lockdown? Why not while away
the time by testing your knowledge of Pittwater and the
Access the quiz by clicking
Answer the 10 questions and then click 'done'. Your
score and the correct answers will be provided
immediately. Your personal answers and score will remain
confidential to you: even I can't see them.
Online, starting Tues 6
July, 7:00 - 7:50 pm
Shakespeare (a course to enliven
How is it that Shakespeare still speaks to us today,
and how may we listen? How to apply Shakespeare’s
wisdom in our day-to-day experience?
Island resident, and
director of Shakespeare-on-Scotland Island (The
Tempest and Hamlet), Paul Kininmonth
is again hosting his 8-week online series Living
The next series starts:
Tues 6 July - 7pm to 7:50pm – until Tues 24 August.
This is the fourth series of the course on Zoom – with
participants attending from Sydney and Indonesia, to
country Victoria – an open and inquisitive mind being
the only requirement (no prior Shakespeare experience
through sharing in Shakespeare’s work and his
insights, we aim to discover how to freely enjoy our
parts on the world's stage.
Look forward to Living
Shakespeare with you.
Sunday 11 July, 10:00 am
- 12:00 noon
Sunday 25 July, 10:00 am
- 12:00 noon
Sunday, 11 July:
newcomers' welcome and information session
Moved to the island recently, or have some questions
about offshore life? Here's a chance to get some
answers and meet other residents. An information
session will run from 10.30-11.30 am and newcomers to
the island will be shouted a coffee.
Please let anyone know who might benefit from the
session. Register your interest by calling Gail 0412
767687 or Rosemary 0410 500704, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
to see you there.
Saturday, 31 July, 7:00
- 9:00 pm
21 - 22 August, 10:00 am
- 3:00 pm
Link for additional
Saturday 18 September,
I am looking for a
- smallish boat hull to buy- 8-10 ft ( 2400-
Also looking to purchase a
- double bed base and mattress.
If anyone has one they would like to sell please
text or call Nicole 0426 162 843.
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