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