Vale Captain Trevor Haworth

Thursday, 01 May 2014


    Captain Trevor Haworth AM FAICDLife, master mariner and Captain Cooks Cruises’ founder, lived a life full of adventure, accomplishment and altruism before his passing on 1 March 2014, aged 82 years.

    Born in Blackburn, Lancashire, on 8 June 1931, to father Frank Haworth, a naval deck officer, and mother Gladys, Trevor followed in his father’s footsteps by securing a place at HMS Conway in 1946, a boarding school for aspiring cadets in the Royal and Merchant Navies.

    After graduating in 1947, Captain Haworth “cut his teeth” as a cadet with South American Saint Line. He worked for six years delivering cargo across the world, from the Persian Gulf to South America and it was on these ships, surrounded by hard working and physically robust men, where he learnt the craft of seamanship.

    Captain Haworth relocated to Australia in 1954 and, after a trip to New York City, was inspired to start a business similar to Manhattan’s Circle Line cruise. On Australia Day in 1970, he established Captain Cook Cruises from No.6 Jetty in Circular Quay and oversaw the company’s ascent to what became known as “the leading small cruise ship line of Australia and the Pacific”.

    The business expanded from one boat to over 25 ships in four destinations - the Murray River, the Great Barrier Reef and Fiji. The latter became a great passion for Captain Haworth and he continued to invest in the Fijian market through three military coups. To this day, the Haworth family still owns and operates the Fijian operation with five vessels and an island.

    Haworth, hailed by his contemporaries as a “pioneer of Australian tourism”, tirelessly promoted Australia on the international stage and helped to shape the industry as it is known today. John King OAM, Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) chairman, describes him as “one of the first to bring a level of professionalism and a sense of ‘industry’ into tourism”.

    “He understood that the development of a tourism business required the synonymous development of an industry to develop and sustain the business he was creating... The Haworths introduced to tourism in Australia a sense of style to underpin this professionalism and sense of experience – a sense of occasion perhaps not seen generally in tourism in Australia at that time.”

    Over his 40-year career, Haworth held several committee and tourism board positions including: vice chairman of Sydney Convention and Visitors Bureau; chairman and vice chairman of Inbound Tourism Organisation of Australia (now known as ATEC); Commissioner of both the Australian Tourism Commission and NSW Tourism Commission; deputy chairman of Australian Tourism Industry Association; and board member and Life Member of Pacific Asia Travel Association.

    A Life Fellow member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, he served as a NSW state councillor from 1991 to 1999 and was the chairman of the Industrial Relations Committee when the “Code of Good Working Practice” was published. Ian Mackay FAICD, who joined Company Directors as NSW State Manager in 1992, remembers Haworth as a great supporter of the Institute’s push for gender diversity on boards and highlights the “Women as Leaders” breakfast — sponsored by Captain Cooks Cruises and entitled “Turning the Ship Around” held at No.6 Jetty in Circular Quay and attended by 250 members — as a memorable occasion.

    Haworth received several accolades, most notably the Australian Tourism Award for Outstanding Contribution by an Individual in 1994 and Member of the Order of Australia on 5 June 1985.

    The stalwart of the tourism industry was widely known for the gracious way he treated staff and colleagues and was a staunch supporter of many charities, most notably Rotary. A founding member of the Sydney Cove Rotary Group in 1978, Haworth was acknowledged for his contributions and awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship Medal. He was also a trustee of the Lizard Island Research Foundation.

    Retired IBM executive, former shipmate and life-long friend Ian Robertson, offers a personal insight: “Such was the extent of his involvement in the maritime and tourist industries that [he] touched the lives of literally thousands and his passing has left a void in many of them. He had a talent to turn acquaintances into friends and to earn the respect and admiration of even those whose interests were not always aligned to his.”

    Managing director and CEO of SeaLink Travel Group, Jeff Ellison FAICD, remembers Haworth “for his pioneering spirit, his considered and entrepreneurial approach, but moreover as a statesman and icon in the founding and development of bringing international tourism to Australia. Trevor was a true gentleman of the industry who has left a remarkable legacy”.

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