Mar­itime mu­seum push given a voice

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - PAUL MIL­TON BUT­LER

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

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