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Gather around the harbour

04 Aug 2016

Gather around the harbour Image

Docklands waterways will be on show this month with the annual Melbourne Regatta and Blessing of the Fleet just around the corner.

Organised by the Melbourne Passenger Boating Association (MPBA), the regatta on Sunday, August 28 promises to be plenty of fun.

According to MPBA president and Docklands charter boat operator Jeff Gordon, the first Melbourne regatta was held on the Yarra River in 1838 and saw people gathering and celebrating on the riverbanks.

“That’s what we’re trying to recreate in the modern day,” Mr Gordon said.

“We’re celebrating Docklands and the waterways, including users of the waterways such as commercial operators and seafarers.”

Mr Gordon said this year’s celebrations would be centred on three key themes, based on Docklands’ history.

The regatta will highlight Docklands’ original natural landscape as a marshland and recognise the aboriginal culture of the area’s original inhabitants.

It will also focus on the immigration story of Melbourne and the people who arrived in Victoria by water in the post-war era of the 1950s and ’60s.

“So many people arrived by boat, often with just a suitcase and a young family. Many of these people were key to creating the city we know today,” Mr Gordon said.

“Different communities of people have made a huge success of living here and have made the city itself a huge success.”

The regatta will also celebrate modern-day Docklands and the waterways we have come to know and love in recent years.

Kicking off at 11.00am, the celebrations will include a free ferry service, a blessing of the fleet ceremony by Father Bob Maguire, a welcome to country ceremony and the Docklands Sunday Market.

A flotilla of more than 50 boats, led by the Enterprize will sail out of Victoria Harbour and into the Port of Melbourne and local vessels will be offering cruises throughout the day.

You can also visit the Alma Doepel and Steam Tug Wattle, with a free carnival train leaving from the Library at the Dock and travelling down to the historic boats along North Wharf Rd.

The Docklands Community Hub will host sessions on immigration, indigenous and cultural themes, while you can also take guided heritage walks around Docklands.

Afternoon entertainment will include reggae and blues bands, along with Normie Rowe & The Playboys.

According to Mr Gordon, last year the Melbourne Regatta and Blessing of the Fleet attached around 12,000 people and that number is tipped to grow this year.

Event organisers encourage visitors to consider travelling to Docklands via bike or public transport on the day due to limited parking.

The Melbourne Regatta and Blessing of the Fleet will be held on Sunday, August 28 from 11am to 5pm. Visit http://www.melbourneregatta.com.au for more information.

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