Tai Koo Dockyard makes a ship on wheels

IDJ has sent the following article.

HF: I have retyped the original article to improve clarity and aid searches

Thanks to SCT for proofreading the retyped script.

Now Taikoo Makes A Ship On Wheels China Mail 26th September 1958 From IDJ

This is the galleon which will be taking part in the Festival of the Arts Pageant at the Government Stadium on October 30. It was designed and built by Taikoo Docks from old drawings and represents a galleon which sailed the high seas between the 16th and 17th centuries – China Mail Photo.


Ships made in Hongkong have been in the news during the last few weeks. But the latest vessel to be completed in a Colony shipyard will never float – in fact it has four wheels!

A 16th Century galleon built around a lorry was recently completed to take part in the forthcoming Festival of the Arts Pageant. The Pageant will be held in the Government Stadium on October 30.

During the Pageant the galleon will be used to represent three stages in the growth and history of Hongkong since the first Portuguese sailors arrived in this part of the world in 1512.

The galleon makes its first appearance on the Stadium turf in the guise of a Portuguese man-o-war. With cannon blazing, and sailors scurrying across her decks, the galleon aids the Imperial Chinese Navy in beating off a band of pirate junks.

The grateful Emperor of the age rewards the Portuguese by giving them Macao. The galleon then makes its exit from the scene.

The galleon is next seen in Dutch colours. Behind the scene the vessel’s flags are changed, before she “sails” back into the Stadium.

The Dutch hearing that the Portuguese had been given territory decided to try and bargain with them for part of it.


The Portuguese politely but firmly refuse to part with their land. The battle which followed will be re-enacted in the Stadium with the galleon “attacking” an Island in the middle of the pitch representing Macao.

Cannon flashes  will light up the stadium once again as the pitched battle is “fought”. However, the Dutch were repulsed and so sailed off in the galleon for Formosa where they settled down.

The galleon makes her last appearance to bring the pageant to a fitting climax, as a Royal Naval ship-of-the-line of 1750.

The 28-foot long replica with towering 17-foot mainmast, was completely designed and built by Taikoo Docks from old drawings. It is constructed of Masonite boards.

To date, the 14-gun vessel is unnamed, mainly because it has to represent three different nationalities, but no doubt somebody will think up a suitable one to keep the three parties happy.


HF: What’s Masonite board?: Masonite is a type of hardboard, a kind of engineered wood, which is made of steam-cooked and pressure-molded wood fibers in a process patented by William H. Mason. It is also called Quartrboard,  Isorel, hernit, karlit, torex, treetex, and pressboard.

A product resembling masonite (hardboard) was first made in England in 1898 by hot-pressing waste paper. Masonite was patented in 1924 in Laurel, Mississippi, by William H. Mason, who was a friend and protégé of Thomas Edison. Mass production started in 1929. In the 1930s and 1940s, Masonite was used for applications including doors, roofing, walls, desktops, and canoes. It was sometimes used for house siding. (Wikipedia)

Source: The China Mail 26th September 1958.

This article was first posted on 31st January 2022.

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