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The 64 Club

Note that the 64 Club is work in progress and is not yet being offered.

The 64 Club is loosely based on the ancient practice of dividing a ship into 64 shares. There are many theories on how this started, from 64 ribs on ancient boats to 36 of 100 shares being taken by way of tax leaving 64 during the reign of either Queen Elizabeth 1 or Queen Victoria. Nobody really knows.

The practice of 64 shares in a boat is purported to have started in medieval Italy where 24 or 64 shares was common and used to  raise funds towards the construction and voyages of vessels. The practice continues today with many maritime nations requiring  the registration of a vessel be shown as having 64 shares. In France, always different, it is 24 shares.

In the United Kingdom, before 1800, ownership or division of shares was not formally noted. However, in 1823, the Shipowners  Society proposed this 64 shares division and this was later enshrined in the Merchant Shipping Act of 1854 and continues to  this day. In many countries, registration of a vessel and the ownership of the 64 shares can only happen if the individuals or  companies owning those shares are citizens of that country.* 

In the case of The 64 Club, the President & Committee of the Rebuild Independence Group Inc., are not concerned about your citizenship. They are concerned with raising funds to rebuild a vessel that was an integral part of American River, Kangaroo Island and indeed, South Australia. 

In 1803, some 30 years before the official arrival of settlers into South Australia, the Brig ‘Union’ and its Master Capt. Isaac  Pendleton from Stonington, Connecticut, USA, arrived in American River. Quite by chance, Capt. Pendleton had met Capt. Nicholas Baudin off the coast of Western Australia, who in turn had met Capt. Matthew Flinders previously in South Australia. Baudin handed Pendleton the details obtained from Flinders of the best seal colonies in and around Kangaroo Island. Armed with this  information, Pendleton made his way to American River. Named after this visit, it is the only town in Australia with ‘America’ in its name and arguably the first ‘settlement’ in South Australia. 

During their time in American River, Capt. Pendleton and his crew built the schooner ‘Independence’ of 35 tons and 45 feet in length. She was used locally for sealing but then travelled far and wide through into the Pacific and the Southern Ocean where she disappeared with all hands. 

As in the days of old, The 64 Club, will enable the re-building of the schooner ‘Independence’ at American River with the issuing of  64 ‘sponsorship shares’. During its building and after its launch the vessel will attract enormous interest from visitors to Kangaroo  Island and provide a boost to tourism and to local businesses.

Sponsors have an opportunity to provide much needed funds towards ‘the construction and voyages of this vessel’. Broken into  Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze ‘sponsorship shares’, these good folk will be honoured with exclusively numbered Certificates  and a Plaque secured permanently to the main bulkhead of the vessel. It goes without saying that a trip on the Independence will  always be free for 64 Club Members. 

Another idea is to form a ‘Collective’. For example, members of Yacht, Wooden Boat, Sporting or other Clubs can make small  donations to collectively assist their Club in becoming a 64 Club Member. Even though their Club will receive the main Certificate and a Plaque, each member will receive a ‘Mini Certificate’.


PLATINUM – 4 ‘SHARES’ @ $25,000

GOLD – 10 ‘SHARES’ @ $15,000

SILVER – 10 ‘SHARES’ @ $10,000

BRONZE – 40 ‘SHARES’ @ $2500

(This takes you to a secure form which asks for your details.)

Why do boats have 64 shares?, Kelly & Bancroft