Wyuna heading for Melbourne retirement

THE former Port Phillip pilot vessel MV Wyuna, which has been moored in Launceston for nearly a decade, will soon be sailing for Melbourne's Docklands where it will go on display.

Donated to the Western Port Oberon Association by WA businesswoman Gillian Swaby in July last year, Wyuna will become a floating museum in Victoria.

Work on preparing the Wyuna for sea has been undertaken by local volunteers.

Association spokesman Max Bryant said there was a lot of love in Tasmanian for Wyuna which was used as a training vessel by the  Australian Maritime College until 2004.

``There's ex-engineers and seamen from  Wyuna who are working to get her ready,'' Mr Bryant said.

``They're all excited she will have a new role and not just be left to rot.''

 ``We owe these people a massive debt of thanks as it is no longer a pipe dream and there is now a real possibility that Wyuna will come home under her own power.''

Wyuna was built in the UK in 1953 for the Port Phillip pilot service and is a similar design to the former royal yacht Britannia.

It was advertised for sale in 2009 at more than $2 million as candidate for conversion to a luxury super yacht.

Mr Bryant said it was costing more than a $1000 a week to keep Wyuna tied up to Kings Wharf although Ms Swaby is covering some of the cost as apart of a sponsorship package that expires in June.

``Without her support we just would have been able to do it,'' Mr Bryant said.

The association is waiting on a paint sponsor to return Wyuna  to its Port Phillip pilot ship colours.

``She'll go on to the synchrolift (at Kings Wharf) for painting to make her look pretty and then we'll be ready to leave.

``It is essential that Wyuna is looking her best when she leaves Tasmania and arrives in Port Phillip Bay as she represents the maritime history of both Tasmania and Victoria. 

``Her Tasmanian heritage is just as important as her Victorian history and it will be portrayed as such when the ship takes up the role as a school camp and museum ship.'' 

Mr Bryant said Wyuna's engines were recently started for the first time since in 2004 and worked well.

Former captain Bill Brooks has offered to skipper the ship on the voyage across Bass Strait.

 Wyuna is 63 metres long and in its heyday could cruise at 13.5 knots.

Former Port Phillip pilot vessel MV Wyuna at dock in Launceston in preparation for the trip to Melbourne. Photo: Paul Scambler

Former Port Phillip pilot vessel MV Wyuna at dock in Launceston in preparation for the trip to Melbourne. Photo: Paul Scambler


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