Our History



David with his father

Visitors to Sydney Fish Markets may have admired the intricate craftsmanship of a model boat on the stairway leading up to our level one reception.

The model, a scale version of prawn trawler Little River, was built in the late 1980’s by then 19-year-old David Saul, son of former SFM chairman Jim Saul. The original Little River was built by well-known Bob McLaren at his Ballina boat yard in 1974.

David has recently completed a new model boat project in tribute to his late father and a trawler with a remarkable story!


The trawler South Pacific was built by Roy Lavender in 1957 on the banks of the Macleay Riverin in Jerseyville. Evans Head became the South Pacific’s home port and it was owned and operated by the Saul family until 1975. It was on sold and eventually met its fate in a collision with a larger trawler (the Memphis Belle) near the Ballina Bar in 1976. Fortunately the skipper and his daughter who were on-board escaped without injury but the South Pacific sunk in a matter of minutes.

A week later the Saul family were called down to their local beach at Evans Head by the police to inspect a piece of wreckage that had washed ashore. Remarkably, it was half of the hull from the South Pacific which had travelled some 40kms to ‘come home to rest’ at the port from which it had worked for the majority of its 20-year history.

Despite not having any boat-building plans from which to base the model on, David was able to craft a true-to-life model of the South Pacific using photographs and some rough measurements provided to him by his father Jim from his death bed.

After two to three years of working on the South Pacific model in his spare time, David has completed his project and has kindly offered to loan the model to SFM while he does some repair work on SFM’s model of the Little River.

We will be swapping the boats over for a limited time as of next month. So if you are visiting SFM in the coming months, be sure to take a moment to admire David’s craftsmanship and reflect on a little piece of maritime history!