Monday, October 19th, 2015

A non-profit community of nautical enthusiasts called the Rebuild Independence Group, or RIG, has today launched a crowdfunding campaign on Australian platform to build a replica of the first vessel constructed in South Australia.


The project will require some 10,000 linear feet of hull planks, which donors can purchase at $20 a foot. As a donor, your name will be listed in perpetuity in the Independence Boathouse at American River, Kangaroo Island, and as the organisers point out, is purely in recognition of your donation, and therefore tax deductible. Among many interesting perks on offer, you’ll also receive a very fetching sailing pennant to adorn your boat, deck or den.


RIG committee member Alan Noble said that all South Australians learn in school that the colony was founded in 1836 with the arrival of a fleet of ships from England.


“What they often don’t realise is that the first vessel ever built in our local waters predates the founding of South Australia by over 30 years, and it was American, not English,” Mr Noble says.


In 1802, American Captain Isaac Pendleton set sail in the brig Union for Australia from Stonington, Connecticut, in the USA, in search of seals. Arriving in 1803 at what is now known as Eastern Cove on the north coast of Kangaroo Island, Pendleton made the decision to winter there on the shores near what is now the township of American River.


To increase the number of seals that could be caught, he decided to build a small schooner that could operate close to shore. Thus was born the Schooner Independence, as well as the “American” in American River. The Independence had a short but productive life, until being lost at sea two years later.


Fast forward two centuries to 2013 and the Rebuild Independence Group, or RIG, incorporated as a non-profit organisation with the mission of rebuilding a replica of the Independence.


“We have successfully raised funds to construct our boathouse, but now we need to raise funds to build the boat,” Mr Noble says.


“On Monday October 19, we’re launching our first crowdfunding campaign to raise our next $20,000. We’re using, an Australian crowdfunding platform the specialises in nonprofits.”


Supporters have a choice of making a tax-deductible donation or purchasing some unique nautical gifts. There’s even a circumnavigation of Kangaroo Island by sailing yacht on offer.


Go to to support the campaign.


Also, the next time you visit Kangaroo Island, please visit the Independence Boathouse located on the Wharf in American River.





  1. Sailing at Cape Willoughby
  2. (Pennant): Perfect for any nautical enthusiast, fly the bright orange Rebuild Independence pennant on your boat or dock, or adorn your den, shed or garage (Details: The pennant shown at left is full sized, ~315mm x 570mm, and two-sided. $45, shipping included. Estimated delivery, 31 December 2015.)
  3. Artist's impression of Schooner Independence
  4. The Independence Boathouse on Kangaroo Island



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Alan Noble

M: 0423 825 129


South Australian history, historic ships, Independence



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