The MV Goondooloo started its life as a pilot vessel in the Sydney Harbour and over the past 25 years it has performed countless rescue operations with Tamar Sea Rescue. However, for the past few months it has sat empty on the Tamar River.
After being retired as a rescue vessel the Goondooloo was sold with plans to turn the iconic piece of Australian maritime history into a recreational fishing boat.
But due to the death of its former owner, it has been left idle on the Tamar. Now a boating enthusiast from Sydney is hoping to restore it to its former glory.
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Mark Riley has loved boats for his entire life. As a child he restored an old wooden boat with his father and now he would like to do the same with the Goondooloo.
"This will be the sixth timber vessel that I have owned, and by far the largest," he said.
"My biggest concern is that Australia is losing all of its maritime heritage and once it is gone it is gone and we can't get it back. Especially with boats like the MV Goondooloo."
Mr Riley said the plan was to restore the boat to its original seaworthy condition, with some minor modifications to ensure it was safe for family use.
"We think the vessel is still at a stage where it can be restored. We want to take the boat back to absolute original condition with acceptances that it will be used as a pleasure vessel," he said.
"We'll be adding things like updated electronics, things for greater safety and easier navigation for the vessel .. but keeping the boat from a visual sense and interior layout sense exactly as it was originally built.
"So anyone can get on a vessel and see how this is how old boats were in 1960, 1970. We don't want the vessel to go to ruin."
Mr Riley hopes the planned restoration can take place in Tasmania with help from the community. He wants to provide a platform for young shipwrights to learn on the job.
"If I had my choice, I would like to create [this] as a youth project in Launceston, especially during times of COVID where some youth are finding it difficult to get employment - they could come and work on the boat and learn some trade," he said.
"[If there are] any community groups in Launceston who would be interested [we'd] work with you. If there is any retired shipwright would like to contribute and train these young people ... we'd love to go down that track.
"Obviously with us funding for all the materials et cetera, so it doesn't cost the community anything, it doesn't cost these charities anything."
Tamar Sea Rescue president Neville Grey said it was amazing to see someone committed to restoring the Goondooloo.
"We had it for close on 25 years, I reckon, and it serve us very well ... it was very important because it was very seaworthy. I personally had quite a few trips out into Bass Strait with it and would have gone anyway [on it]," Mr Grey said.
Mr Riley wanted to thanked Australian and New Zealand ships and boats register owner and coordinator Mori Flanpan for his help in researching the vessel.
He also thanked existing and former members of Tamar Sea Rescue and Rudi Dahms and his team for their help.
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