De­coy full steam ahead

NEW LEASE OF LIFE FOR VES­SEL

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Front Page - Tim Mayne

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.

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