All aboard for the regatta
A major celebration of Melbourne’s heritage will highlight Docklands’ waterways this month.
The Melbourne Regatta and Blessing of the Fleet will see a flotilla of private and commercial vessels fill Victoria Harbour on Saturday, August 30.
Organised by the Melbourne Passenger Boating Association and the Mission to Seafarers, the regatta will see a range of activities on and off the water.
According to Mission to Seafarers operations manager Bill Reid the regatta has a variety of purposes.
“We’re recognising Melbourne’s maritime heritage, activating the waterways and celebrating Melbourne Day,” Mr Reid said.
Held on August 30 each year, Melbourne Day marks the anniversary of the arrival of Melbourne’s settlers in 1835 onboard the Enterprize.
The regatta will see a mass gathering of boats in the southern basin of Victoria Harbour, a blessing of the fleet by Father Bob Maguire, blasting of ships’ whistles and flares and a cruise into the Port of Melbourne.
Alma Doepel volunteers will sail their recently restored traditional naval four-oared captain’s gig, a Port of Melbourne vessel will be open to the public, tug boats will display water cannons and a Metropolitan Fire Brigade vessel will also join the fleet.
Businesses have been invited to hire a boat for staff and guests to enjoy, or sponsor a vessel to provide free cruises for the public, with proceeds donated to the Mission to Seafarers.
“It will be a real spectacle on the water,” Mr Reid said.
But those on dry land won’t miss out either, according to Mr Reid, with a range of activities happening around the waterfront.
Shakespearean actors will perform live theatre, a storyteller will share stories of Melbourne’s maritime history at the library and the First Fleet Fellowship will showcase historical memorabilia and ancestry information.
The crew from the Enterprize will also perform a re-enactment of the arrival of Melbourne’s first settlers in period costume.
A free ferry service will run across the harbour, from NewQuay to Victoria Harbour, allowing visitors to get around easily.
The day begins at 11 am with the boarding of boats in Docklands. Activities will continue throughout the day, finishing at 5pm.