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sea fox

In 1959 en-route from South East Asia to Sydney and after a refuelling stopover in Darwin, distress calls were heard from the 120ft luxury yacht Sea Fox. This followed a controversial air and sea search, but the yacht ran aground on Elcho Island, in the remote north-eastern area of the Northern Territory.

On board its exotic crew included owner and famous magician and actor, John Calvert, his girlfriend a young Filipino singer, Pilita Corrales, a bevy of beautiful assistants and Jimmy the chimpanzee, who was also better know as Cheetah of the Tarzan movies. It was rumoured that Jimmy escaped the stranded vessel to terrorise the Aboriginal residents of Elcho Island who had never seen a chimpanzee before!

John Calvert held a flamboyant lifestyle and was a well known celebrity at that time. The Darwin media enjoyed a field day, reporting many conflicting stories surrounding the sequence of the events and damage suffered by the yacht, which was lapped up by the international media.

Then owner of Doctors Gully, Carl Atkinson sailed the badly damaged Sea Fox back to Darwin where it was blown to the shore from its moorings at Doctors Gully and deemed beyond repair.

A bitter salvage battle followed over ownership rights, which ended when Atkinson sold the once luxurious yacht. The new owner promptly burnt it… all they wanted was the lead ballast from its keel!

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