The MV Cape Don
1963 - 1990 - present
Ralph Meakins Collection
Photo by Ralph Meakins
Built in Newcastle, NSW, the Cape Don was specifically
designed as a Lighthouse Tender, to cater for the technician's specialised work
as well as the transporting of supplies to outlying Lighthouses and to transport
Lighthouse Keepers and their families to their new positions. Her sister ships
the Cape Moreton and the Cape Pillar have sadly already met their watery
Following photos by Pauline O'Brien
A small display in the new WA Maritime
Museum acknowledges the role of Lighthouses and her role as a Lighthouse
Tender on the coast of WA. I have heard of
some other artefacts which have been given to the maritime Museum, but
which are currently not on display.
The details on the Departure Board are
Destination: South Brook Time: 14.00 Date: (20/28?) or
26/8/1996 Day: Thursday. As this is not a WA location that I know of, I am
assuming it may be a destination she had in another of her roles following her
decommissioning in Newcastle in August 1990. Does anyone have any more details
on the board details? I would like to think it actually was her last trip and not
just sone random details that have been added by a well meaning soul.
A hardy group of volunteers were inspired by the
call from Frank Alliss in Mt Tom Price, WA, to do whatever could be done to save
the Cape Don from a similar fate. The good news is that the Save
MV Cape Don Society is actively promoting the dream that the Cape Don will
sail again under her own power, firstly by volunteers who gather each weekend at
Ball's Head in
Waverton, Sydney to basically work minor miracles to restore her pride and sea
cleaning, chipping and painting any and every surface that can be reached.
What a difference helping out for two days can make!! Interested in helping?
Specific skills such as electrical engineering are always of enormous benefit,
but for the less skilled yet equally enthusiastic there is always the cleaning,
chipping and painting which seems to be an almost endless job onboard. There's a
lot of square metres to cover!
Too far away and unable even to help in that
capacity? You can always join up as a member, join the
discussion group and
actively promote her importance as a part of our Maritime Heritage. There is a continually
growing album of photos showing the progress by volunteers to restore the Cape
Don to her former glory. Any suggestions re
funding opportunities are always
welcomed by the Management Committee of the SMVD Society.
The Cape Don was officially decommissioned
in 1990. To see more of her operating in her heyday check out the Cape
Don Crew at Work
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