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Alma Doepel is still water bound

30 Oct 2009

More funding is being sought to get the Alma Doepel out of Victoria Harbour so work can begin on her rotting hull.

She is Australia’s last surviving coastal trader from the early 1900s and has just celebrated her 106th year with a fund raiser at the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Williamstown.

The ship’s owner Sail and Adventure Limited, is seeking major funding to raise her at her Docklands home at No 2 shed Victoria Dock where people can see the work as it’s done or volunteer to help out.

Sail and Adventure Director, Peter Harris, said there were two options. “Using a ship-lift is our first choice, but it’s expensive. It looks do-able but it’s a matter of getting a sponsor. The other option is to use the Western Port Slipway which is cheaper, but it means moving her out of Docklands,” Mr Harris said.

According to Mr Harris, the company has been having some fruitful discussions with the YMCA. “They are becoming a major player in the area and have good connections with companies which we hope will help open doors. They really like the idea of this becoming a community activity centre,”
Mr Harris said.

Mr Harris said that there had been a lot of interest in the Alma Doepel with the ABC about to do a documentary on her for its Asian audience and The Age also taking an interest.

“Recently, we just had a bloke from Bahrain who came and did some volunteer work. Apparently he had just one day in Melbourne and was looking for something to do, so he found us on the web and came down. Which is fantastic,” Mr Harris said.

Mr Harris said other interesting things were also happening. “Lend Lease has just done a nice historical report, which talks about the Alma Doepel working out of Docklands. She used to ply up to ‘Little Dock’, where the World Trade Centre is today, fill up with sauce bottles and jams, then go to the ACI factory in Spotswood and load wheat in Williamstown, then onto Point Wilson for explosives, which were then taken to Hobart to use for mining and quarrying,” he said.

If you’d like to provide funding support, volunteer or want to know more about the Alma Doepel, call either Peter Harris on 0427 829 134 or Chris Coghlan on 0407 860 296.

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