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A celebration of Docklands

31 Aug 2016

A celebration of Docklands Image

Boats in the harbour, music in the air and crowds of people gathered around the waterfront – the annual Melbourne Regatta once again proved to be a true celebration of Docklands.

The August 28 regatta saw around 6000 people gather in Docklands to take in the sights, atmosphere and experiences.

Organised by the Melbourne Passenger Boat Association, the event celebrated Docklands’ waterways – our original natural landscape – and its role in Melbourne’s immigration story.

According to event organiser Jeff Gordon, the regatta was a great success.

“There were so many elements both on the water and around the harbour,” Mr Gordon said.

“People absolutely loved it. It was lovely to see cafes and restaurants busy and people riding ferries.”

“It was just great to see the water activated. That’s what Docklands is all about.”

Celebrations included a blessing of the fleet by Father Bob Maguire and a flotilla of vessels, led by the schooner Enterprize, sailing out of Victoria Harbour to join the SV Tenacious.

A recent arrival to Docklands, the British tall-ship SV Tenacious is the tallest wooden sailing ship in the world and was designed to accommodate people with a disability.

This ship is owned and operated by the Jubilee Sailing Trust and was launched in 2000. The ship will remain in Australia for the next nine months and will embark on a number of voyages between Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Sydney and Geelong.

Crowds browsed market stalls along the harbour, enjoyed free ferry rides, visits to Docklands heritage vessels, an Immigration Museum panel discussion, indigenous performances and storytelling and heritage walks.

Visitors of all ages were kept entertained, with Lindy Jane and her puppets putting on a show for the kids and Normie Rowe and the Playboys performing on stage.

Places Victoria also used the regatta to launch its new heritage walking tour app. For more details see our story on page 5.

Local resident Chris Silcock said the regatta was “a wonderful day” and in particular enjoyed Normie Rowe’s performance.

“A big thumbs up for all the boats on the harbour too,” Mr Silcock said.

“It’s the best day I’ve had in a long time.”

Mr Gordon said the regatta would be a major event on Docklands’ calendar once again next year.

“Its onwards and upwards from here, with next year’s regatta to be bigger and better,” Mr Gordon said.

He said he hoped the Melbourne Day committee would decide to hold its celebrations on the same day as the Melbourne Regatta in future years.

Melbourne Day falls on August 30 and in previous years has coincided with the Melbourne Regatta, culminating in a joint celebration.

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