Gary Plumley is the President of the Gippsland Lakes Classic Boat Club and a regular attendee at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival. Gary writes:
I am the Chairman of Paddle Steamer Curlip Inc, a not-for-profit community association based at Paynesville on the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria. Our members elected last year to assist the community of East Gippsland to rebuild and restore the Paddle Steamer Curlip.
After many months of protracted negotiations with government instrumentalities, including AMSA, we gained permission to make an epic open ocean voyage from the Snowy River estuary at Marlo and steamed Curlip along Bass Strait and into The Gippsland Lakes system at Lakes Entrance.
This voyage made P.S Curlip the first paddle steamer to make an open ocean voyage since P.S.Werroona during World War II. Our website www.curlip.com.au outlines her rich history as a replica of the original Curlip that opened up and pioneered supply to settlers in the river systems of East Gippsland during the 1800s. That vessel was built by Samuel Richardson and his sons near Orbost. Our Paddle Steamer Curlip was rebuilt at Orbost under the management and direction of Gil Richardson, a descendant of the Richardson family.
She was built to engender hope and goodwill for the people of remote East Gippsland, after the closure of their timber felling and milling industry.
Paddle Steamer Curlip is now on a waterfont hardstand at Paynesville. Once back in the water she will work the Rivers and Lakes systems of the Gippsland Lakes, between the heritage Port of Bairnsdale on the Mitchell River to Paynesville and beyond.
Our volunteers have raised and expended more than $70,000.00 in cash and kind since November 2016. We have begun the process of removing the Blue Gum Planks under her waterline and now need to raise another $85,000.00 to purchase replacement planking and to employ qualified shipwrights to manage and oversee the re-planking to meet our survey status and AMSA requirements. We have stated that when she returns to service with volunteer and paid skippers, that all proceeds from her operations will go to those in need in our local and extended communities.
We are about to begin a crowd funding campaign, via Chuffed.org.
Our social media on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/curlip.com.au/ is a critical component to ensure our message gets out to interested people, people who recognise the value of traditional wooden boats, the people who built them and their connection to our rich heritage.
Our members from East Gippsland are all regular visitors and boat owner attendees at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival. We love our visits to Hobart and Tasmania. Friends of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival, if so inclined after viewing our pages, would be a fantastic referral and growth for our cause. Once we have increased our critical mass we will launch or crowd funding and other initiatives.
Many of our members are also instrumental in the running of the inaugural Paynesville Classic Boat Rally in March 2016, and your festival’s inspiration is giving great direction for the upcoming Paynesville Classic Boat Rally in March 2018.
Once again for those interested in volunteering, donating, or becoming a Friend of Curlip visit our store www.curlip.com.au
Happy to help, Gary. Good luck with your campaign.
Shipwright Cody on left with the new students Andrew, Sarah, dinghy owner Jean Pierre, Neil and Mitchel, as they commence the lofting process of the French designed 4.4m ILUR sailing dinghy. Image supplied by Kelvin Aldred.