The Valiant was apparently commissioned in 1945 by the Ministery of Munitions. The tug was 22.5 metres long, 5.4 metres wide and displaced 72 tons. A sistership, the Fury, was built at the same time. The Valiant was powered by a Crosley HR4 diesel engine giving a top speed of only 8 knots.

After the end of World War II, ownership of the Valiant passed to the Melbourne Harbour Trust Commissioners. It appears that the ship was modified at this time, with water tanks added, the foredeck lowered and equipment added to suit her new role as a fireboat. It appears to have operated out of Melbourne. I do not know much more about its history but in 1975 it was still registered to the Commissioners.


Vigorous Valiant
The tug Vigorous, said to be identical to the Valiant
but it appears to me to be larger and different

Photo provided by Tom Binns
A diagram of the Valiant
By unknown person - dated about 1989

Index to diagram above right


  1. Mooring
  2. Sand Level
  3. Remainder of port bulwarks
  4. Engine room entrances
  5. Toilet entrance
  6. Galley entrance
  7. Remainder of forward bulwarks
  8. Anchor winch
  9. Steering pedestal
  10. Wheelhouse
  11. Engine room skylights
  12. Access hole cut in deck
  13. Towing hook
  14. Towing beam
  15. Aft accommodation entrance
  16. Steering compartment access
I have read that it was purchased in 1978 by a Sydney company and taken to Pittwater on the northern side of Sydney for conversion to a fishing vessel (presumably as a charter vessel to take people out fishing). The Valiant was reported to have failed to pass the Maritime Services Board (now NSW Maritime) survey.

Another report, says that the vessel was sold in 1980 to David Jackson and taken to Sydney. On the way, there was a fire on board. On arriving in Pittwater, the northern boundary of Sydney, there was work done in an attempt to get her in a condition to make the vessel usuable. However, this was beyond Mr Jackson's abilities and it was decided to strip the vessel.

Yet one more report says that in 1981 after a complicated series of events while under tow to be scuttled, the tow ropes broke and the Valiant sank approximately one kilometre east of Barrenjoey Head. However, a fourth reports says it sank in 1982 "...about 0.5 km off Palm Beach.....while being towed to its burial at sea.....was a 25m former firefloat......". Yet another report says that when an explosive device was used to remove the prop, the ship started coming apart at the seams. The ship was quickly towed out to sea to be scuttled in deep water but she sank well before reaching the target area. I am not sure what year this was, but I expect that it was 1981.

From Michael McFadyen