Waimarie paddle steamer
The morning of the interview with The Shed, Ian had been working on the Waimarie paddle steamer boiler, crawling inside to fit the faceplate and putting bolts and new castings inside. “Last week we pulled the paddles off to rebush it all and see how far the engineering firm had got with it.” He has been involved with maintenance of the historic paddle steamer for the past five years. “The skipper says, ‘Ian, come here, I want you to have a look at this.’ In other words he wants me to do something for him.” Last year Ian set up the cradle to get the
Waimarie out of the river for its five-yearly survey. He had a cost-effective idea about getting it out sideways. “They said, ‘Oh you can’t do it that way.’ Then they came back to me and adopted my idea. They got all the experts in, which ended up costing a lot more. We had to make a slip over by Dublin Street Bridge and one bloke came up with the idea of getting two traction engines to pull it out. We laid railway lines down and it came out quite easily.” Instead of pulling it out bow first, the way it was previously set up, Ian changed the cradle so that the boat could be pulled out sideways. He called on engineering mates to lend him a workshop for a couple of months to do the work. “I had to turn all the wheels around and reinforce it — two sets of railway lines turned sideways and two sets of bogeys for it to sit on. It took me about four weeks to change it all around.” But there were delays with floods and council permits, and the sandbank kept shifting. “Then someone had the bright idea of making it an event. That made the permit easier to get. So we pulled it out, cleaned everything up, and it was done.” There were crowds of onlookers and the event was filmed and televised. See this youtube clip: youtube.com/watch?v=PRPq25Iia3Q.