The Mystery and the Badcock Family – An afternoon event at the Boathouse on Sunday 20th May 2018

The photograph shows the Badcock family in front of a model of the Mystery in the Boathouse, the home of the Archive. Linda Holmes, third from left, and David Badcock, second from left, and his family are descended from William Badcock who sailed on the Mystery to Australia in 1854.

The making of the Mystery model.

In 1988 Len Scott was appointed Superintendent of the Fishermen’s Mission in Newlyn and learned of the story of the Mystery. There have been many accounts of the voyage written and a model had been made which was kept in the Truro Museum. The model was borrowed for the Mission’s Exhibition in 1989 and put on display.

Whilst visiting the 1989 Exhibition, Ted George, a model maker from Penberth, commented to Supt. Scott that the model was far from accurate. He was familiar with the boats of the day and had sailed in the waters of Australia. Linda Holmes remembers that the model had been made by Capt. Joseph Carter, her great grandfather. It was never intended to be a scale model, but a toy boat for his grandson, Wilfred Carter, Linda’s uncle, to play with as a boy in about 1910.

Ted agreed to make an accurate model of the Mystery. However, it was conditional on his being able to find either a set of plans or a half-mould. This was to ensure that the model would be as accurate as possible. The local media was approached and after a great deal of publicity and enquiries, much information about the voyage and the crew was acquired, but there were no plans or a half-mould. Eventually, Mr Peake of Newlyn mentioned to Ted that he had a half-mould of a Mount’s Bay Lugger, dated 1854. Although not the one the Mystery was made from, it was certainly of the period and style. With this, Ted was able to start to build the model you now see in the photograph. The model was given to the Archive by the Fishermen’s Mission in March to keep on permanent display in the Boathouse.

It took Ted about 2,000 hours to complete the model and it is built exactly as if it were the real boat. Each piece of timber, which itself is over 100 years old, is cut and shaped as if for the original Mystery. Other than the chains and the red duster (or red ensign, which was flown when the Mystery carried the Royal Mail from Cape Town to Melbourne), everything on the model was hand made by Ted.

On completion in July 1992, Ted donated the Model to the Mission where it remained on permanent display.

The afternoon was also a special time for the Badcock family. David Badcock’s cousin Wally Calvert recently died. He was a benefactor of the archive and a plaque, engraved by Malcolm Pilcher, had been erected in his honour together with one in memory of his wife. The photograph shows David unveiling the plaques. A cream tea was enjoyed by everyone.