Decoy full steam ahead
NEW LEASE OF LIFE FOR VESSEL
ONE of South Perth’s landmarks will open to the public at Mends Street Jetty once again in June.
The paddle steamer Decoy, or PS Decoy, has undergone a facelift after sitting idle for more than three years when its former owner retired.
Henderson resident Manus Higgins could not stand to see the Perth icon sitting idle and after negotiations with the former owner, bought the vessel in January this year.
Mr Higgins has since spent $135,000 to make sure it will be ready to take passengers on tours of the Swan River from the South Perth foreshore in a month’s time.
He said he was excited to be relaunching the historic vessel and wanted as many people as possible to experience it after all the hard work that had gone into her refurbishment.
“The PS Decoy is a special boat, being the only oceangoing paddle steamer in the southern hemisphere, so I wanted to share her with the public, rather than use her as a commercial vessel,” Mr Higgins said.
“After the relaunch, I plan to use her to host Fridaynight music cruises, weddings, corporate functions and general community events, where people can have coffee, locally made brews and listen to music.
“This will be a rare opportunity to view and experience an operating piece of West Australian history.”
Australian Shipbuilding Industries built the Decoy in Fremantle in 1986 and Mr Higgins said the vessel had been very well maintained, so there was no major reconstruction required.
“The most significant pieces of work to date have been an overhaul to the electricity generator, and a thorough examination and repainting of the hull,” Mr Higgins said. “I am happy to report that she passed the test and is in excellent condition.”
The PS Decoy is a replica of a Scottish-built vessel, which was constructed in 1878 and sent to Australia, seeing service in Western and South Australia.
Unlike the old wood-fired steam engine, the modern PS Decoy is environmentally friendly, using eight solar water heaters located on the top of the vessel to avoid nuisance smoke in the city.
The PS Decoy will soon be making the journey from its current mooring in Henderson Shipyards to the Mends Street Jetty in South Perth, ready for an official relaunch next month.
Decoy’s new owner Manus Higgins. Inset: The PS Decoy undergoing a hull examination.