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Local wharves to live on through Alma

26 Apr 2016

Local wharves to live on through Alma Image

If you’ve spent any time at all in Docklands then you’ve probably heard of the Alma Doepel.

The historic tall-ship is currently being restored by a committed team of volunteers at Shed 2 on North Wharf Rd.

But did you know that some of the timber being used to restore the ship was sourced from Docklands’ own wharves?

According to restoration director Peter Harris, the Alma has received donations of timber following demolition works to various wharves around Docklands.

Most recently it received a donation of timber from the “Australian Wharf” site located on the southern side of North Wharf Rd.

“The Australian Wharf was built, as far as I can gather, in 1918, and Alma first worked up and down the river here in 1916,” Mr Harris said.

“The wharf wasn’t built until two years after Alma began working here so there’s a certain irony I suppose that the wharf’s been knocked down but the ship’s still going.”

The Alma also received a pack of timber following the demolition of the wharves west of New Quay, adjacent to where Ron Barassi Snr Park now sits. Interestingly, when Mr Harris first began working on the ship in 1984 the Alma was based at the sheds that used to sit upon those wharves.

According to Mr Harris, despite being around 100-years-old, much of the timber is still in good condition.

“It’s got good bits and bad bits, we have to cut around some parts and there are a lot of bolts and nails and rusty bits we need to remove,” Mr Harris explained.

The donation of timber from Docklands’ wharves means the restoration team can replace deteriorated timber with material of a similar age and species.

“The way we’re refitting Alma is not to make a classic yacht out of her,” Mr Harris said. “She’s a working vessel, more than one hundred years old and she was a training ship. The trainees and the public who sail on her will see, if not the original pieces of timber, something similar, which will have had a similar sort of colourful history.”

Places Victoria general manager Simon Wilson said the organisation had gifted around 12 six-metre lengths of reclaimed timber to be used in the restoration of the Alma Doepel.

“The timber was reclaimed during the removal of the wharf on the southern side of Collins Wharf last year,” Mr Wilson said.

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