Early birds to the weekend had to face strong winds that raised white caps even in the canals of Paynesville. Little wonder no boats were launched until the quiet of Friday morning. For those present on Friday there was some tootling around the canals, bearings to gather, ferries to dodge in McMillan Strait and a pleasant drop in from the water on David and Jan Gibson at their Raymond Island property. Winds were gradually abating by nightfall and, as the main contingent arrived, good weather was forecast for the weekend. Friday dinner was at the Paynesville pub, a good night in good company. The highlight of Saturday was a visit to the 15th century replica caravel, Notorious.

On the 9th September 2012, it was 100 years since the keel was laid for the PS Melbourne and a major celebration was held at Mildura to celebrate. Jenny and I with Penguin, Rob and Pat Ripley with Green Bean and Norm and Jen Boreham in my other boat Curlew all made the trip to Mildura.

It was the biggest gathering of paddles Steamers seen for many decades. The Adelaide made the 880 km trip from Echuca, taking 12 days to cover the distance. It has been 60 years since the Adelaide has left Echuca, and was a major undertaking for a boat that is 146 years old. In Echuca she does tours locally and never has to work hard. For this trip she steamed all day every day to make the distance in time. Lift up bridges had to be negotiated, many of which had not been lifted in years, as well as the locks. The river is still very high and in some places almost in minor flood, so at some bridges clearance was touch and go.

PS Curlip II was built in Orbost, and is based at Marlo (river mouth) to cruise on Snowy River and Brodribb River. The commissioning, in November 2008, was a major WBA event, with a large fleet gathering for the weekend.

The first survey 'slipping' (2010) was achieved by craning out of the water: expensive. With recent high water, the mouth has been scoured, and the 2012 slipping was at Paynesville. This made PS Curlip II the first Australian paddlesteamer to venture into open sea under steam since PS Weeroona was commandeered for WWII service.

River people like to rally; in the 1980s there were regular gatherings at Mildura for Signal Point races, with boats from both ends of the river meeting in the middle.

A 2001 'Source to Sea' event (to mark the centenary of Australian federation) was to be tinnies from Khancoban, then a fleet from Echuca to Goolwa.  Low water resulted in the tinnies being on trailers, and the fleet commencing at Mildura.

A 2003 'Randell Cadell' event (to mark the 150th anniversary of the first commercial navigation on the Murray-Darling system) did succeed in reaching Echuca from Goolwa.

This year Begonia took part in the re-enactment of the landing (177 years ago) for the founding of the village that became Melbourne.

Andrew and I collected Begonia at the APYC at 7.15 am on the 28/8 and towed her to Williamstown where she was launched at Seaworks. She was then taken in tow by our 'gaffer" for the trip up the river to South wharf and handed over to The Enterprize crew as their landing craft.

The East Gippsland Wooden Boat Association was recently treated to a presentation by the builder and owner of the Caravel Notorious, Mr Graeme Wylie. The event was held on the evening of 12 July at the Men’s Shed in Paynesville and was preceded by a BYO dinner with tea and coffee provided by the Men’s Shed.

As the guest speaker, Graeme enthralled the audience with his boat building history together with some associated successes and surprises. Graeme was accompanied by his wife Felicite and he acknowledged her support during the construction of Notorious.

Members of EGWBA enjoyed a pleasant meal at the Imperial Hotel in Bairnsdale at the social get-together on the June Club Night.

With a dire forecast for sailing day, an impromptu decision was taken at the club night that a warm lunch would be all the go on the sailing day. There is nothing like a prawn from the barbie and a hot sausage to keep winter chills at bay. One of the highlights of sailing day was the warm lunch put together by Andrew Cohen and Geoff Carroll. Geoff was seen in the kitchen sizzling sausages on his little galley stove from Kibbee rather than venturing out to the APYC barbeque in the cold wind. Andrew provided some warm finger food of marine origin. Another highlight was the rigging of the Port Philip 12 as members tried to evaluate what was still needed in the way of equipment for the rigging. While this was being thought through, Rob Ripley and Frank Raisin were exploring the possibilities of sculling from the stern of Lyndsay Symons.

Twelve brave members attended the June club night. The weather was freezing but there was a warmth of interest for the various plans and books shared.

My affection for working boats and in particular Tug Boats, I suppose, can be explained by the fact that both my Grandfather and my great Grandfather were Tugboat Captains in Williamstown. As a boy and until I married and went overseas to live, I took every opportunity to be with Grandpa on the Tug. They were all steam power then and the enduring and indelible interest remained.

Now as a Grandfather myself I decided that I would build a Tugboat so that I could regain the experience and perhaps give my grandson the same happiness.

The annual AGM was held on the17th May in Paynesville at the home of Barry and Jenny North. A sumptuous casserole meal was hosted by Jenny and was enjoyed by all prior to the commencement of the meeting.

The most common aboriginal origin of the name is said to be ‘Mirring-gnai-birr-nong’ - ‘I can hear a ringtail possum’. This gives a lead to the area and the life style; the name is also given to the Yams that used to grow along the river.

This explanation sets the scene for our expedition up the river, which was third time lucky. After the rains on Friday and Saturday most were saying, “ah well, maybe next year”. Well, we were all caught out. Sunday morning dawned calm and just the day we wanted, with a little wind and not too chilly, so everyone started to appear - There was the OOD, followed by the president, and everyone else followed. A call from Leigh and Jo Hayley from Ballarat was just what we wanted. They are new members and rang to say they were on their way. Then it was 9.45am and all were ready.

Roderick Smith reports on the Diamond Jubilee Pageant at Echuca.

At the last minute we decided to go up to Lake Macquarie for this festival over Easter. Jenny had work commitments and could only fly up on Thursday after work, so I drove up on Wednesday with Penguin in tow, and met her at Newcastle airport.

On Friday morning we launched at Rathmines at the Catalina flying boat ramp, and with our friends Dave and Jenny Myers, we had a pleasant putt around to Toronto. Weather was calm and warm and we enjoyed morning tea on board along on the way. Plenty of boats were moored on the foreshore, including fellow travellers, Malcolm Mckay from Narooma with his launch Carmel J, and Jim and Pauline Fowles from Handorf in South Australia, in their Hartley designated Seas the Day.

Although the weather forecast had not been particularly brilliant the gods smiled on us and the sun shone for us. Our visitors from the Lake Illawarra Model Boat Club and friends brought a good selection of their models although the wind strength meant that only a few of the models were able to take to the water. In the full size category there was the relaunching and naming of the Linda J, Andrew Cohen’s work in progress early in the proceedings. The bubbly was duly poured over the bows of Linda J and with much ceremony she was launched to float proudly by the lake’s edge. Andrew had some interesting floatation devices aboard. It was found that there were a couple of places the boat needed to take up and when the floor boards floated Andrew knew it was time to start bailing! Nevertheless he has a done a fine job of restoration keeping the authentic touches to show that his boat has a working history.

The April Club night opened with apologies for a change of format as our Librarian, Allan Chinn, had found he was not as mobile as he had hoped in order to be able to set up the books as originally planned. Nevertheless in good WBA style, we changed tack and were treated to a video of the turning of Andrew Yen’s 25 footer on the previous Sunday.

East Gippsland members met for a pleasant sail and evening entertainment at the Nicholson River pub, on the weekend of 17 and 18 March. Some stayed overnight and moored in the river.

Rob Ripley had done a great job of keeping everyone informed about arrangements and so a goodly flotilla arrived for the Saturday. Boats were launched and sailed across Lake Wendouree to the display area. The organisers had supplied posters identifying each of the boats. The weather was fortunately fine and provided good sailing with winds that challenged the sailors from time to time. Your president had two attempts at getting to Ballarat. Well on the way in the morning, the transmission went on the car and so it was a tow back to Glen Waverley and a new start which finally saw Bluebelle sailing in to the show mid afternoon. Saturday night was a great social affair at the Black Hill Hotel, a highly recommended venue for a good meal.

Peter Doyle, the Hon Sec of the Anglesea Recreation and Sports Club reports that the club has now become a member of the WBA. The ARSC is a club in name only, formed by some lads from Anglesea and Airey’s Inlet in 1911 around a regatta. Two of their four 1912-built rowing “shells” were at the Geelong WBF on the Labour Day weekend. It was a fantastic success. They were flat-out talking to people about our boats and our new Years Day regatta. Stuart did an outstanding job of arranging and managing the Festival.

Under Brian Flewell-Smith’s supervision and guidance we set up the WBA Marquee at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club early Saturday morning amidst hundreds of Classic Yachts, modern and many well loved wooden boats and a few plastic hangers-on and many wooden boat groupies.

For the weekend of 13, 14 January a number of boats met at Holland’s Landing for a very pleasant weekend. The weather was kind with no rain and a sea breeze to limit the heat. Bernard and John O’Kelly sailed there in Nelly. With the pleasant weather Bernard demonstrated how to enter the water while doing the splits between “ittle Nellie and the jetty. A new boat and crew to join the WBA was the tug Ticketyboo crewed by Garry and Margaret Stewart. The other two boats present were Doug & Marion Gullickson in Jabiru and Colin McArthur in Ibis. There was some pleasant fishing.

Does it really exist? No-one has sighted Andrew Cohen and Chris Kelly’s gaffer yet. We were told that it was berthed at Blairgowrie but the conditions were such that we couldn’t sail down to see it. At present all is hearsay!

The demise of Green PeaWhen the man of the house stated that he was going to cut Green Pea in half, what could I do but shrug the shoulders and walk inside without comment.

Then there it was in two pieces!

STEP 1: Find desirable boat.

We were very sorry to read Alan Chinn.s report of the death of Jim Whiting, and embarrassed that we had not known. Thank you Alan and it indicates how few of the East Gippsland Branch have been around. Jim was a respected and loyal member of our branch. Jim was a quiet member, but with interesting comments to make. During my time he attended almost every meeting. In fact at the last AGM the Helmsman gave Jim an award recognising him for continuous support and attendance at activities.

Jenny and I attended this event a couple of years ago and decided to go to Narooma again this year and to spend some time afterwards on this wonderful coast. Narooma is located 700 Kms from Melbourne between Bermagui and Batemans bay. It has a lovely waterway called Wogonga inlet and an excellent caravan park right on the water within walking distance of everything.

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Membership is open to all wooden boat enthusiasts. Many members own boats, others do not, but all enjoy the chance to get together and "muck about with boats". Their boats include rowing boats, putt-putts, radio controlled models, pond yachts, canoes, kayaks, steam-powered boats, sailing dinghies, dayboats and ocean-going yachts.

The Wooden Boat Association is based in Melbourne, with regular sailing days scheduled on Albert Park Lake, as well as other venues around Melbourne, and at least one weekend each year elsewhere in the state.

Especially welcome is the first-time wooden boat builder or restorer, who can expect to receive ample advice and assistance in getting their dream onto the water.

Wooden Boat Association Membership Benefits

  • Shavings, a monthly newsletter bringing timely news about events and activities in Victoria.
  • Monthly meetings with a wide range of interesting speakers. Our usual venue is the Albert Park Yacht Club.
  • Monthly sailing days, on Albert Park Lake and other locations close to Melbourne.
  • Use of the Association's own boats, two traditional sailing boats, Begonia and Lindsay Symons, our canoe Stringybark, and our extremely rare Port Philip 12.
  • Access to the Association's extensive library of boatbuilding and other nautical books.
  • Companionship with sister associations in other states

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