AFTER sitting for 25 years at Mount Gambier, the replica Lady Nelson brig will be docked in Warrnambool for a major reconstruction, which could herald the start of a new boat building industry.
Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village has won its biggest outsourcing contract to give the South Australian tourism drawcard a new lease of life.
Ropes, masts and other fittings have been trucked to Warrnambool and the hull will be brought over in April.
“It’s a substantial and complex job,” maritime village manager Peter Abbott told The Standard.
“Our team will spend a good three months working on it.
“Wooden boat building is a very rare trade now and we’d like to bring more boats onto Flagstaff Hill for rebuilding or repair work.
“We’ve had experience in working on tall ships.”
A proposed master plan expected to start next year could involve setting aside a larger area for boat building.
“We would make this craft an active component of our attraction,” Mr Abbott said.
Mount Gambier City Council received $124,000 in government funds last year to reconstruct the Lady Nelson, which was built in 1986 to commemorate the state’s 150th anniversary.
It is a feature of the city’s visitor information centre.
Last year the council allocated $250,000 for the project, which was expected to be completed by mid to late this year.
However, there were troubles in finding suitably experienced craftsmen.
Flagstaff Hill was approached and sent its master boat builder Jeff McMurrich to complete a detailed assessment and quotes, before a tender was submitted for the contract.
Mr McMurrich, an apprentice and assistants will salvage some parts of the rigging and form new timber work.
A fibreglass shell for the hull will be made by a Warrnambool contractor.