Fremantle Sardine fisherman

I was down at Fremantle this morning and happened to see an old Drago Sambralio wooden Sardine Fishing boat offloading.

It was like going back in time. The gear and the boat looked as old as the Italian Fisherman and the unloading process looked like it was just second nature to them. A lady walking her dog stopped by for what appeared to be a regular event.

It looked to me like they had done pretty well with the mornings catch and I couldn’t help but ping off a shot.

For those interested, Drago and Marko Sambralio were the last wooden boat builders in Fremantle and their slipways used to be where the Kailis and Cicerello’s fish and chips shops are now. Their boats are still legendary for their sea keeping ability and now that Marko has passed on and Drago has retired the wooden boat building trade has gone by the wayside for good. I used to call on Marco and Drago back in the late 70’s as a diesel engine salesman for Cummins Diesel!

Time moves on for sure, but it is good to take a step back now and then and see how things used to be, especially when they are locked in a ‘ground hog day’ situation like these guys!

23 thoughts on “Fremantle Sardine fisherman

    1. Could be mate…the older I get the better I was! 🙂 I guess it shows how long I have been on the planet for already mate as I can remember when boats like that were state of the art! 🙂

  1. I love old wooden boats. They just have so much character. Its one of the reasons why I love cruising around Sydney Harbour. There are just so many of them tucked away in little bays, waiting for their day in the sun again.

  2. please can you tell me when then Sardine Festival in Freo is going to be held in 2012. I cannot find any info on the web thanks. happy new year

  3. Marko and Drago’s slipways were never where Kailias fish and chips are. Warren Mews had his yard there, Marko’s was on the northen side of Beacon Marine, Pacific Fishing then Markos yard. Dragos was on the southern side where Stivzer old yard is. The mulie boat I believe you were looking at is the Mar Trieno which was built by Colman Brothers in North Fremantle just up river from pier 21

    1. Hi Turo,

      I do believe that you are 100% correct in this instance and I stand corrected! Thanks for the informed response.

      It is that long ago when all the old shipyards were operating in and around where the Kailis operation is and down at Pier 21, that it all blurs into oblivion with time!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      1. No worries mate, I was an apprentice there when Marko moved from Riverside drive East Fremantle to Mews rd, the good old days. Drago has now passed away, just about the end of an eara. You were rigth about the quality of the boats they built though they were bomb proof.

        Regards Turo.

        1. Hi Turo, that is so cool that were involved as an apprentice!

          Those days were legendary and as you say the era has passed and it will never return as the skills have now been lost all together now…such a shame!

          I used to door know old Marko and Drago as an engine salesman for Cummins diesel and I did manage to sell a few engines to the Deceglie boys…that seems like an eon ago now though!

          1. Yeah the old cummins were not big sellers in the early days I think John Deceglie was the first to have one in the new St Gerard, With Marko it was either a Gardner in the plank boats or a Volvo in the bondwood ones. Took a lot to change his mind, it was either his way or get someone else to build the boat.

            Regards Turo

  4. hi, hoping you can help me. have just bought an old ex cray boat. was told it was built in fremantle by back bros. in 1968 for marko sambrailo. named nazare ex rindiness ex napolis. hoping you or someone can help with history and photos. cheers..

    1. Hi there, I knew Marco Sambralio and his brother Drago well and when I was a lad sold them a few engines for their crayboats.

      I do not have any photos though unfortunately!


      True North Mark

  5. G’day Guff, I think the boat you are talking about was built by Coleman brothers (if its a plankie). We put a new wheelhouse on it when I worked for Marko, it belonged to Steve Del Roso in those days. He sold it and a Portuguese bloke bought it, he fished it for a while then we built him a bond wood replacement. I dont know his name, we always called him “The Postman” that was his job in Portugal. Marko always gave people a nickname.

    Hope that helps.

    Regards Turo.

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