Maritime museum push given a voice
A CONSORTIUM of allied groups and individuals was officially formed this month to raise funds for a maritime heritage precinct in Port Douglas at the Sugar Wharf.
The Sea Change consortium’s aim is to establish an interpretive maritime display in harmony with the existing Sugar Wharf functions and incorporate a heritage-style working waterfront attracting local and visiting historical vessels and in turn earn valuable tourist dollars.
The group will apply for government grant applications to fund the maritime heritage precinct after conducting a feasibility study to determine what can be achieved at the Sugar Wharf and what repairs need to be done.
Captains Jon Burnett and Iris Bom, who own and live aboard one of the last remaining seagoing pearl luggers, believe it is vital to keep the interest alive in the maritime history of Port Douglas.
Mr Burnett said Port Douglas’s rich link to the sea was worthy of keeping alive and teaching the new generations about where they live and what once took place here.
“Once this very rich fabric of our history is gone - it’s lost forever,” he said.
“And the real buried treasure that we have living right here on our doorstep is The Great Barrier Reef and it is vital that this be preserved and to have sustainable tourism.
“But to do this properly we need a place that people will happily go to, to learn about the sea and all the rich history associated with it.
“My boat, the HB ( named after its builder Harry Bowden) is a perfect example of what is being lost if we do not restore and maintain the last remaining luggers around the country.
“We have a shipwright right here in Port and this skill is also a dying art but if we can preserve this skill by passing it on to the younger men and women coming through it will not only help save it but they will thoroughly enjoy it once they are exposed to it and learn the ways of the sea.”
Worth preserving: Olivier Mori, Hepzibah Campbell, Jon Burnett, Iris Bom and Scuppers the goose hard at work on the pearl lugger