Earls’s Anchorage, The Story
Jack Beaumont Earl, born in Durban, South Africa, 1908. Jack arrived in Australia with his family in 1911. Most of his childhood was spent on remote Darnley Island in the Torres Straight where his father was appointed administrator/schoolteacher. He learnt to sail with the Islander children in dugout canoes.
After returning to Sydney for schooling, Jack became an artist by profession & a sailor by inclination. He saved every penny he could to buy a succession of boats including the famous Kathleen Gillette, a 44-foot gaff cutter built at Gladesville Sydney by Charlie Larsen in 1939, now a floating exhibit at Sydney’s Australian Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour.
Jack & the Kathleen Gillette were an amazing duo; they were responsible for the birth of our greatest ocean classic – the Sydney to Hobart in 1945. They competed in the inaugural race & were 3rd to cross the finishing line. In 1945 with no weather forecasting, radio, autopilot, GPS, winches or sophisticated survival gear. The media of the day called it suicide, but all yachts made it safely to Hobart.
In 1947 & 1948 Jack sailed the Kathleen Gillette around the world, becoming the first Australian yacht to complete the circumnavigation. Jack left Sydney with $28 (in today’s currency) and yet they completed the circumnavigation in grand style with many great adventures. In Jacks words when funds got tight “I painted a picture or two”.
The log of that circumnavigation is filled with magnificent art and beautifully handwritten entries recording every detail of the voyage. That document is now regarded as one of the finest records of a yachting voyage. In the 1950’s Jack became a full time marine artist and in years following, Jack went on to become one of the most distinguished of the 20th century.
His works are widely sought after; they capture the moods of the oceans & are meticulously accurate in a vessels line & rig.
One of your host’s, John Green – a sixth generation Lord Howe Islander, born and raised on the Island property that is now Earl’s Anchorage learned of the Kathleen Gillette’s voyage as a small boy in the 1950’s from his grandfather, Frank Payten who along with his sailing mate Trevor Nixon had saved a series of articles from yachting magazines of the day covering the voyage.
John recalls they were diligently stowed in a shoebox & he was spellbound upon hearing of such daring adventures. He was first introduced to Jack by his grandfather on Constitution dock Hobart after Maris had competed in the 1961 Sydney to Hobart and his boyhood hero did not disappoint, in an age where children were seen & not heard Jack went to great lengths to relate the Sydney / Hobart passage to an eager youngster & did a quick sketch of his beautiful yawl under full sail.
John pursued life away from Lord Howe Island for 10 years – however as the locals say, the call of Lord Howe Island is never far from one’s mind and John returned to his Island home and pursued several business ventures. John raised two children on the Island and has now retired to the quiet corner of Old Settlement Beach with his partner, Kath.
For John and Kath, building Anchorage Restaurant was a natural progression – John, the forward thinking business man saw a gap in Lord Howe’s offering and Kath, having owned and operated many successful Cafe’s off Lord Howe Island. This combined, John and Kath make an amazing duo and have successfully owned and operated Earl’s Anchorage and Anchorage Restaurant now for over 10 years and you will no doubt get to know them during your stay.
As fate would have it, John in later life would co-own Maris with Jack’s Granddaughter, Tiare Tomaszewski. Maris spends her time, when not at sea, in Mosman Bay directly underneath Jack’s Mosman family home ‘Landfall’ or moored in the Lord Howe Island lagoon. In John’s downtime, he indulges in his passion for aircraft, guitars, wooden boats and of course, as Jimmy Buffet would say, boat drinks. Kath has a passion for travel and regularly visits her family – 3 children and 6 grandchildren- in Ireland, Central Coast and the South Coast of New South Wales.
In John’s words: Earl’s Anchorage, Lord Howe Island is dedicated to Jacks memory; a free spirit adventurer, pioneer of Australian bluewater yacht racing & cruising, gifted seaman & navigator, distinguished marine artist and the finest mate anyone could wish for.