Major fundraiser generates $27,000 for Alma’s restoration 

Sean Car

The return of the Alma Doepel’s major fundraising gala luncheon after a two-year hiatus due to COVID was a resounding success as a further $27,000 was raised towards the ongoing restoration of the historic tall ship.

Function space The Promenade Docklands provided the perfect outlook across Victoria Harbour to the Alma Doepel’s home by the North Wharf boat sheds as 110 people gathered on October 7.

Hosted by Channel Nine’s Peter Hitchener, the event saw speeches given by Lord Mayor Sally Capp, former Alma Doepel youth training program participant Eliza Tipping and director of Sail and Adventure Ltd – Alma’s owner – Matt McDonald. 

The fundraising event saw the Alma Doepel launch its partnership with the Waypoint Foundation, which Mr McDonald said would run the tall ship’s “life-changing” youth training programs once the restoration was complete. 

“The Oxford Dictionary defines a waypoint as the point or place of a line of travel at which the course is changed. So, a waypoint when we’re navigating a ship, we put our course onto a chart or a map, and the waypoint is where that course is changed,” Mr McDonald said. 

“Many of the early explorers have gone into places where there is no map, they’ve made their own map and put their own waypoints on these voyages of discovery. These voyages were all about what lies beyond the horizon.” 


“Our life is a journey, and waypoints are part of our voyage and ultimately leads up to our final destination. So, it’s through this concept that we’ve developed the Waypoint Foundation to support our life voyagers and our life changing moments.” 


“We believe that through tall ship sailing, we can deliver life-changing experiences. It teaches us about teamwork, leadership, resilience, humility, empathy, passion and life skills – all these elements are critical to the waypoints in our lives.” 

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the City of Melbourne was “really proud” of the Alma Doepel’s place in Melbourne’s history, adding it was an important part of the Docklands precinct’s range of activities and activations. 

“We’re really proud of the Alma Doepel in the way that it has transformed people’s lives whether it was from trade early on, through to those youth training programs more recently, and that’s what the Alma Doepel will continue to do,” Cr Capp said.

Over the past decade, volunteers have raised more than $3.5 million to restore the 119-year-old Alma Doepel to its former glory as one of Australia’s oldest surviving tall ships. About two years and $1.4 million are still needed before it can set sail.

Built in 1903 by Fredrick Doepel and named for his youngest daughter Alma, the ship is the last surviving coastal trader from the early 1900s and originally sailed around the coast of Australia, carrying goods like timber, wheat, and jam. •

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Waterways team to the rescue

Waterways team to the rescue

November 29th, 2023 - Docklands News
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