Port Stephens Community Woodworkers restore first class timber chairs from the Queen Elizabeth

TICKLED PINK: The Woodies workshop manager Geoff McClelland and fellow member Charlie Kuhn have restored two deck chairs for John Flannagan. Picture: Sam Norris
TICKLED PINK: The Woodies workshop manager Geoff McClelland and fellow member Charlie Kuhn have restored two deck chairs for John Flannagan. Picture: Sam Norris

As far as rare finds go they don’t come much rarer.

Pictured is one of two deck chairs from the Queen Elizabeth ocean liner that sank off Hong Kong in 1972.

The fortunate owner, John Flannagan of Nelson Bay, has done the right thing and had them restored.

“There wouldn’t be too many of them, especially not with the “first class” stamp,” he said.

“I’ve had them for about five years and they were in need of some attention.”

Mr Flannagan spoke to the Port Stephens Community Woodworkers  – affectionately known as The Woodies.

“It’s not too often a job like this comes along, and that’s it, ‘it’s ours’,” Charlie Kuhn said.

The teak chairs with their cast brass fitting were disassembled where possible so the varnish could be stripped. The pieces were mostly hand sanded.

Adding to the authenticity, the chairs are quite uniform, hinting at their construction prior WWII.

“The bloke who built this one probably got the sack,” workshop manager Geoff McClelland joked. 

RMS Queen Elizabeth was launched in 1938. The timing meant she was enlisted in the war effort as a troop carrier.

Her war duties lasted six years before she was returned to passenger services, where she remained until December 1967 when retired.

A Hong Kong businessman came to own her. She was to become a floating university but caught fire and sank. Under suspect circumstances, some say.

“The Woodies have done a fantastic job,” Mr Flannagan said.