It is not often that an ambitious dream becomes a reality, but a network of energetic and committed people are currently on track in bringing a significant part of Eden’s history back to life.
These “dreamers” have undertaken the massive project of building a full scale replica of Ben Boyd’s luxury schooner “Wanderer”, built in 1837.
In a relatively short space of time, and with some valuable assistance and kind donations from the local community, they have achieved a great amount and hope to see the tall ship docked in Eden in the near future.
The project will not only keep alive ship building skills in Eden and the surrounding region, but once completed, will provide ongoing work and add another tourist attraction to Twofold Bay.
The idea of building a replica of the “Wanderer” started with David Brown of Merimbula and with the support of Resilience Inc. and South East Nautical Services of Eden, the project took shape.
Stephanie McDonald from Resilience and Morrie Lynch from South East Nautical Services researched the physical dimensions of the “Wanderer”, and with information and help from many, plus hours of work, Mr Lynch has built a half-model from which estimates and plans were drawn.
Then an overwhelming show of local interest in the project at a public meeting in late April paved the way for further scoping of the project.
A committee was formed from a second public meeting at the end of June and in July the Wanderer Replica Project Committee was officially established.
The committee consists of Clare Whiter as secretary/community liaison officer, Morrie Lynch as head shipwright, David Brown as procurement and requisition officer, Bob Sykes - historical research, Cr Liz Seckold - BVSC liaison, Roger Ubrihien - helmsman, Ian Whiter – leading hand, Allan Drummond as purser, Jeff Hope – management, Jim Morris – cabin boy, photographer/music and Stephanie McDonald from Resilience Inc.
More recently, one of the project’s greatest obstacles has been overcome thanks to the great philanthropic gesture of Boydtown and Seahorse Inn owner, Bruce Lyons.
Mr Lyons has generously offered land at the back of Boydtown for storage and the ship’s construction.
Currently a draft lease agreement to secure the site and draft DA to submit to BVSC is in progress.
If that wasn’t enough to keep the committee busy, details and measurements to produce a ship’s plan for the Roads and Maritime Services are being gathered, with contacts from England being drawn into the process.
Naval architects Peter Lowe Design have been engaged in the project and in order to obtain the correct measurements from the original schooner, a London contact of the firm has travelled to Cornwall for this purpose.
Ms McDonald said the committee hopes to have a preliminary general arrangement of plans drawn by Peter Lowe Design, in collaboration with Mr Lynch by early next year.
“Things have moved very quickly,” Ms McDonald said.
Unfazed by the seemingly enormous task in front of the committee, Ms McDonald believes “where there’s a will there’s a way”.
The financial side of the project is another major concern, but several fundraising activities are in the pipeline.
One of the committee’s major schemes to raise money was launched at the Eden Whale Festival last month.
At a cost of $50 per plank, members of the public can select a plank of their choice off the replica’s blue print, which will be used in the construction of the ship.
They will receive a certificate with the exact plank name from the “planking plan” and will also be invited to various activities/functions relating to the project, including as special guests on launch day.
Those interested in buying a plank can do so by contacting Clare Whiter at Eden Community Access Centre 6496 3970 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The timber for the vessel is from the Paulownia tree grown in Queensland, a beautiful, light timber according to Ms McDonald.
“At 26 metres at the waterline, it’s quite a large yacht.
“More local supplies of wood are being sought and help with cutting and carting is also needed.
“The community, both individual and businesses, has already been very supportive with donations and offers of assistance.
“Everyone is encouraged to get involved with this project; we will also be seeking engagement with local schools.”
Ms McDonald said as soon as the formal project schedule is known, the committee will contact local community groups/schools/businesses and individuals for their input.
“We feel that building the Wanderer replica will be an additional draw card to Twofold Bay, particularly over summer.
“It will be a source of community pride and through its construction will hand on ship building skills to the younger generation.”
So why not get on board?
The excitement of the project is infectious and it’s not hard to picture such a stately vessel taking pride of place in beautiful Twofold Bay.