"Amy" designed and built by Lars Halvorsen.    Helle in Norway c 1910.

"Amy" designed and built by Lars Halvorsen.    Helle in Norway c 1910.

Helle Norway. Motor Cruiser designed and built by Lars Halvorsen for an owner in Bergen in 1916-17. Materials used Honduras Mahogany. Stem American Oak. All varnished. Harold remembers the boat being built. He was 6 years old.

Helle Norway. Motor Cruiser designed and built by Lars Halvorsen for an owner in Bergen in 1916-17. Materials used Honduras Mahogany. Stem American Oak. All varnished. Harold remembers the boat being built. He was 6 years old.

Harold 6 and 4 year old Carl Halvorsen.  Helle Norway 1916

Harold 6 and 4 year old Carl Halvorsen.  Helle Norway 1916

Harold Halvorsen awarded an OAM in October 2000. Age 90. This prestigious honour was awarded to him for his outstanding boat building contribution to the WWII war effort in which 247 craft were built and delivered at Lars Halvorsen Sons Pty Ltd Ryde for the US, Dutch and Australian Navy's from 1939 through to 1945 under his leadership. 

Harold Halvorsen awarded an OAM in October 2000. Age 90. This prestigious honour was awarded to him for his outstanding boat building contribution to the WWII war effort in which 247 craft were built and delivered at Lars Halvorsen Sons Pty Ltd Ryde for the US, Dutch and Australian Navy's from 1939 through to 1945 under his leadership. 

Careening Cove. Sydney Australia. 1926

Careening Cove. Sydney Australia. 1926

"White Heather" Designed and built by Lars Halvorsen for F.S Walton of Rose Bay and completed in December 1926. Original build price was 1,400 Pounds. 4 years later it was purchased by J.T Lang the then Premier of N.S.W. Job number 19.

"White Heather" Designed and built by Lars Halvorsen for F.S Walton of Rose Bay and completed in December 1926. Original build price was 1,400 Pounds. 4 years later it was purchased by J.T Lang the then Premier of N.S.W.

Job number 19.

Neutral Bay. Sydney Australia. 1928

Neutral Bay. Sydney Australia. 1928

"Iolanthe" 36' Bridge Deck Motor  Cruiser designed and built by L. Halvorsen for Mr. A.G Wilson and completed in June 1933. Photo taken in Macquarie Street on her way to the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Job number 103.

"Iolanthe" 36' Bridge Deck Motor  Cruiser designed and built by L. Halvorsen for Mr. A.G Wilson and completed in June 1933. Photo taken in Macquarie Street on her way to the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Job number 103.

Pollyanna II 42' Bridge Deck Cruiser built for Mr. R. Strelitz  and completed in April 1934. Job number 114.

Pollyanna II 42' Bridge Deck Cruiser built for Mr. R. Strelitz  and completed in April 1934.

Job number 114.

Halvorsen 38' built for the RAAF. 1945. Powered by twin Chrysler Royals.

Halvorsen 38' built for the RAAF. 1945. Powered by twin Chrysler Royals.

35' "Harbour Express" operated by Harbour Tours a division of Lars Halvorsen Sons. 1947. Could carry between 16 and 23 passengers for 30 mile cruises around Sydney Harbour. Operated by Carl Halvorsen. 1 Pound per passenger. Top speed 30 miles per hour.  

35' "Harbour Express" operated by Harbour Tours a division of Lars Halvorsen Sons. 1947. Could carry between 16 and 23 passengers for 30 mile cruises around Sydney Harbour. Operated by Carl Halvorsen. 1 Pound per passenger. Top speed 30 miles per hour.

 

Bobbin Head. 1947

Bobbin Head. 1947

Neutral Bay. 1948

Neutral Bay. 1948

Bobbin Head. 1949. Carl Halvorsen at the bow of a LH-G a Standard 25' Hire Cruiser.

Bobbin Head. 1949. Carl Halvorsen at the bow of a LH-G a Standard 25' Hire Cruiser.

Lars Halvorsen Sons Pty Ltd Ryde 1954

Lars Halvorsen Sons Pty Ltd Ryde 1954

Silver Cloud II 65' V hull Motor Yacht originally named Kanahoee and built for L.J O'Neill. Designed by Harvey Halvorsen. Launched in September 1967. Job number 1251

Silver Cloud II 65' V hull Motor Yacht originally named Kanahoee and built for L.J O'Neill. Designed by Harvey Halvorsen. Launched in September 1967.

Job number 1251

EARLY HISTORY. FIVE GENERATIONS

Halvorsen Boats traces its roots to 1887 when Halvor Andersen a farmer launched his first wooden craft near Arendal in the south of Norway. His son Lars followed in his father's footsteps and became a boat builder. After Lars lost his fortune in the sinking of an uninsured sailing ship Nidelv on its maiden voyage, Lars moved from Norway to Cape Town, South Africa in 1922 to start over. Lars built a successful business repairing lifeboats damaged on the voyage to Cape Town, but with five sons, realized there would not be enough business there to support them all.

HISTORY

Lars and his eldest son Harold settled in Sydney in 1924, and the rest of the family arrived in 1925. From 1925 through 1980 the family enterprise built over 1500 craft "[making] the Halvorsen name an Australian byword for quality and style."[2]

During World War II, the Halvorsens built more than 250 boats for the American, Netherlands, and Australian armed forces employing a staff of 350 tradesmen at a shipyard in Ryde, New South Wales.[2] During World War 2, 178 air-sea rescue Halvorsen craft defended Sydney Harbour and Australia.[1] Halvorsen also built 11 110 foot "Fairmile B" cruisers for the war effort. These saw active service in the north of Australia and in New Guinea area. When Lars died in 1936, his eldest son Harold took over as managing director of the newly formed company, Lars Halvorsen Sons, Pty. Ltd. and continued as designer for most of the wartime vessels as well as commercial and pleasure boats. In recognition of his contribution to the war effort Harold was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2000,[3] while previously Carl Halvorsen had been made a Knight First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit by King Harald in 1991.[2]

After World War II the company acquired a lease at Bobbin Head located north of Sydney in the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park. The family built a fleet of approximately two hundred hire boats. The hire boat operation was the world's largest privately owned fleet of its time.[3] In 2000, ninety of their classic boats held a regatta on the Hawkesbury River to mark the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the family in Australia and Harold Halvorsen's ninetieth birthday.[1]

AMERICA'S CUP

In 1962, Lars Halvorsen Sons, Pty. Ltd. built Gretel the first Australian challenger for the America's Cup. This was the beginning of an era which eventually resulted in the wrestling of the "Auld Mug" from the New York Yacht Club by Australia, after 132 years by Australia II.

SYDNEY TO HOBART

In 1963, 1964, and 1965, Lars' sons Trygve and Magnus Halvorsen won three Sydney to Hobart races while sailing Freya designed by Trygve and built by Lars Halvorsen Sons, Pty. Ltd. They still hold the record for three consecutive Sydney to Hobart wins.

HALVORSEN BOATS GOES GLOBAL

In the 1960s Harold's son Harvey Halvorsen became the company designer, and in 1975 he formed a joint venture between Lars Halvorsen Sons Pty. Ltd. and Joseph Kong, former General Manager of American Marine Company, in Hong Kong to design, build and market a new range of pleasure boats worldwide. The company was called Kong & Halvorsen Marine & Engineering Company, Ltd. and over the next two decades, hundreds of craft ranging from 30 to 134 ft (9.1 to 40.8 m) were built under the Kong & Halvorsen, Island Gypsy, and Halvorsen brand names. At present over 900 Halvorsen Boats have been built in China and exported worldwide. In 2000, Kong & Halvorsen Marine's 20 year contract with the Chinese government expired, and the factory was closed. However, Harvey and his son Mark Halvorsen continued to build boats by contracting to approved yards where they launched two additional new models, the Gourmet Cruiser and the Solo, a passage maker.

PRESENT DAY 

In 2004-05, the Australian National Maritime Museum held an exhibition on Halvorsen Boats entitled Dream Boats and Work Boats - The Halvorsen Story.[4] 

Mark Halvorsen has been in the business since 1980 when he sold his first second hand Halvorsen 30' Viking in Sydney. He lived in the USA from 1985 to 1988 where he worked in San Francisco at Halvorsen Yachts and then in Newport Beach . He then moved to Hong Kong where he has been living and working since. He owns Halvorsen Boat Sales in Australia and Halvorsen Marine Limited in Hong Kong. All Halvorsen boats are built under contract for Mark in Southern China and then imported into Australia. He also specializes in the restoration of vintage Halvorsen Boats.

APPEARANCE IN POP CULTURE

A 134 ft (41 m) Kong & Halvorsen Motor yacht called Yecats appeared in the 1987 film Overboard starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. The same boat renamed Attessa appeared in the movie Indecent Proposal starring Woody Harrelson, Robert Redford, and Demi Moore.