Ro­tary floats Mast idea

Southern Telegraph - - Telegraph News - David Sal­vaire

A Palm Beach Ro­tar­ian is hop­ing to reignite an am­bi­tious ar­chi­tec­ture pro­ject high­light­ing the rich his­tory of Rock­ing­ham’s port.

The Mast pro­ject would see six or seven ex­act replica masts of the most im­por­tant sail­ing ships, which took lum­ber from Port Rock­ing­ham in the 1800s, raised along the fore­shore and Rail­way Ter­race. It would also in­clude the mast of the Amer­i­can whaler Catalpa which was re­spon­si­ble for the res­cue of Ir­ish Fe­nian pris­on­ers.

The masts would stand 34m tall and would be made from solid steel. The pro­ject was first floated in 2002 when Bruce Cairns and Lau­rie Smith sought the help of marine artist Ross Shard­low to de­sign the plan.

But Mr Smith said the coun­cil at the time was ap­pre­hen­sive.

“We weren’t get­ting good vibes back from them and no one could vi­su­alise the pro­ject,” he said.

“I think we hit them at a bad time.”

Mr Smith said he had ad­vised the City he would be rais­ing the idea with the lo­cal res­i­den­tial and busi­ness com­mu­nity.

The masts are es­ti­mated to cost between $40,000 and $80,000 each, with funds sought from lo­cal busi­nesses.

“I think this area should be called Port Rock­ing­ham and a fea­ture like this will be the first of its kind in the world,” Mr Smith said.

“What it would do for our self-es­teem and the pro­file of this City is in­cal­cu­la­ble. It’s not just an­other jetty like Bus­sel­ton, the mo­ment peo­ple see this they’ll want to know what hap­pened in our his­tory.

“There’s a lot of that in­for­ma­tion in the mu­seum but I’d say less than 5 per cent of Rock­ing­ham peo­ple know about our his­tory.

“The con­cept is mag­nif­i­cent and pro­vid­ing we can get the pub­lic to sup­port it, I think we can make this hap­pen.”

City of Rock­ing­ham Mayor Barry Sam­mels said the Mast pro­ject was not raised by the com­mu­nity dur­ing con­sul­ta­tion for the Fore­shore Re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion pro­ject.

But he said he was open to hold­ing dis­cus­sions on the pro­ject.

“I re­cently met with mem­bers of the Palm Beach Ro­tary Club to dis­cuss the pro­posal and ad­vised them to con­sult with busi­nesses in the fore­shore area to see if there was sup­port for the pro­ject,” he said.

“I am happy to have fur­ther dis­cus­sions with them as their pro­ject pro­gresses.”

Pic­ture: David Sal­vaire

Lau­rie Smith from the Ro­tary Club of Palm Beach hopes the once-for­got­ten Mast project can stand up.

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