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Volunteers needed to restore former Navy vessel

fast motor boat restoration

The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has put the call out for shipwright volunteers to help overhaul the historic Fast Motor Boat, a former Australian Navy vessel now displayed at Cockatoo Island.

The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust has put the call out for shipwright volunteers to help overhaul the historic Fast Motor Boat, a former Australian Navy vessel now displayed at Cockatoo Island.

The ‘Fast Motor Boat 45802’, or Captain's Launch, is the only remaining cabined example of this type of vessel in Australia. The 36-foot long timber boat was originally built in 1945 by Vospers in England. It is one of two vessels acquired by the Australian Navy in 1947 to serve as the Captains’ launches to the aircraft carriers, HMAS Sydney (1948-73) and HMAS Melbourne (1955-83). 

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The boat has an innovative construction involving double diagonal mahogany planks, copper nailed with a linseed oiled canvas layer between, resulting in a strong vessel that is relatively light in weight.

The Harbour Trust volunteer team restored and launched the vessel in 2010, including installing a new engine, overhaul of the propeller shaft and steering, re-finishing of the original woodwork, a complete overhaul of the electrical system and a fresh coat of paint.

It is now time to overhaul this historic vessel again and the Harbour Trust is looking for volunteers with shipwright or boat building skills to join the team.

"Regular restoration of the Fast Motor Boat ensures its preservation and make this historic vessel available for everyone to enjoy," said Harbour Trust chief executive Mary Darwell.

"Joining the restoration team is a unique and rewarding experience, with volunteers based at the extraordinary Cockatoo Island location."

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Harbour Trust volunteers, who all work within their own teams and also become part of the 250 strong Harbour Trust volunteer team, are given a uniform and enjoy social opportunities, information sessions and other benefits. The role would particularly suit a local to the area. 

To apply, visit the Harbour Trust websiteThe workshop is based at Cockatoo Island with volunteers generally attending one day a week. All equipment and tools are provided.

Volunteers needed to restore former Navy vessel
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