After eight years and 80,000 hours of restorative works, Australia's oldest surviving and tallest wooden tall ship, the Alma Doepel, returns to Melbourne waterways.
Held Saturday, October 16, the event captured the hearts of everyone involved, with onlookers watching from the pier and over 3,900 viewers tuned into the five and a half hour livestream. It attracted strong interest and attendance from TV, radio and print media, capturing this momentous milestone.
The Alma Doepel was carefully steered by CEO Matt McDonald and supported by a crew of over 20 volunteers. It took over seven hours to manoeuvre the ship from it's barge at Victoria Harbour before she was lifted into the water by a crane ship. She then taxied back under the Bolte Bridge at sunset and took her place back at the wharf where she'll settle in for another two years of restoration.
Melbourne's Lord Mayor Sally Capp showed her support of the event, attending for over four hours and watching the voyage from the middle of the harbour.
Once fully restored, Melbourne's oldest ship will recommence operating its Youth Development Sail Training Program, aimed at providing an opportunity for 36 young people to build positive life skills around resilience, leadership and teamwork over nine days at they experience how to learn to sail a traditional tall ship.
The Alma Doepel importance to Victoria Harbour's waterways, and in turn, the youth programs which are to recommence really talks to the exciting future Victoria Harbour has ahead.
You can see the live restoration process of Alma Doepel and speak to the team behind this incredible journey most days at Victoria Harbour, simply walk west along the wharf past Library at the Dock.