News

Raft of options for piece of sailing history

PRESERVE THE RAFT: Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum volunteers Robert Jones and John Colville with the Las Balsas raft on display in the museum. Photo Graham Broadhead / Ballina Shire Advocate
PRESERVE THE RAFT: Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum volunteers Robert Jones and John Colville with the Las Balsas raft on display in the museum. Photo Graham Broadhead / Ballina Shire Advocate Graham Broadhead

RON Creber has no doubt the raft from the 1973 Las Balsas expedition needs to be preserved because it is part of Ballina's history.

He is the curator of the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum, where the raft is prominently on display.

He was reacting to a decision by Ballina Shire Council last week to visit the museum and hold a workshop following a report presented to the councillors.

In that report - primarily about the preservation of two council-owned vessels in the museum, the historic river boat MV Florrie and the former pilot vessel PV Richmond - staff presented an option to remove the raft from the museum.

The raft is a combination of two of the three balsa wood rafts which, crewed by 12 men of various nationalities, sailed with the prevailing winds and currents from Ecuador across the Pacific Ocean and arrived in Ballina in November 1973.

Two of the rafts were towed into Ballina by the Royal Australian Navy vessel HMAS Labuan and a local trawler. The third raft, which was in poor condition, was set adrift and ended up on a beach north of Newcastle.

Staff reported to council that the raft, "gifted to the people of Ballina" by the crew, didn't meet any of the seven criteria under the NSW Assessing Significance guidelines, so "the raft is not considered to have significant heritage values".

It was also reported that the roof of the council-owned museum needed to be replaced - at an estimated cost of $200,000 - and the tall mast of the raft added to the expense because of the high roof.

One of the options given to councillors was "de-accession" or removal of the raft to reduce the re-roofing costs of the museum, and allow the Richmond to be moved inside. Another option is to keep the raft as a "curiosity".

Mr Creber said the raft had been very much undersold as a tourist attraction in Ballina.

He also said it was a former council decision to build the high roof at the museum to allow the mast of the raft to stand upright.



Circus comes to town

BUDDING STARS: Student provides a preview of what to expect

Cream of local circus crop on display after months of preparation.

Prepare and know your bushfire survival plan: RFS

Rural Fire Service NSW has asked that locals be prepared in case fire threatens their home.

Fires have become a real danger on a dry Coffs Coast.

Gold Cup draws strong interest from in-form runners

POSSIBLE RUNNER: Plateau Gold, trained by Coffs Harbour's Jim Jarvis, may get a run at the Coffs Harbour Gold Cup Carnival on Friday.

Friday's Coffs Harbour Gold Cup promises to be a top class meeting.

Local Partners

Christmas cheer for courageous family

NEW arrivals in Coffs Harbour Afghanistan benefit from young neighbours act of kindness and Christmas spirit.


Man builds playground entirely out of packing tape

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

VIDEO:And here's where you can play on it.

Countdown to Woodford Folk Festival begins

ECONOMIC BOON: Woodford Folk Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.  Photo Contributed

The first larger-than-life inhabitants have stepped into Woodfordia

'I need to do what I can': 65km walk for cancer patient

Karlee Robinson is walking from Caloundra to Noosa for her cousin Aaron Parker, who has terminal brain cancer.

What do you do when someone you love has terminal brain cancer?

David Attenborough on facing his mortality

Sir David Attenborough in a scene from the TV special The Death of the Oceans.

Life without Sir David Attenborough is hard to imagine

Circus comes to town

BUDDING STARS: Student provides a preview of what to expect

Cream of local circus crop on display after months of preparation.

Goooodbye Hamish and Andy (from our radios)

Hamish and Andy

The pair have been on air since 2006

Saying "I do" changed Shia's outlook on marriage

Shia LaBeouf has a new outlook on marriage since he tied the knot.

Singer tunes in to first movie role

Tori Kelly voices the character Meena in the movie Sing.

Musician Tori Kelly voices Meena the teenage elephant in Sing

Cricketing greats bring Aussie mateship to commentary box

Cricket commentator Adam Gilchrist.

ADAM Gilchrist enjoys the fun of calling the Big Bash League.

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Elegant coastal living in Corindi

BEACH IN THE BACKYARD: Meander 110m from the back door to the beach.

Elegant coastal living in Corindi

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

How your home can earn you big $$$$ this Christmas

This luxury Twin Waters home rents out over Christmas for more than $6000 a week.

Home owners earning thousands renting out their homes this Christmas

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!