The QM II, the largest model built in Victoria by a non-professional model boat builder, Nigel Allom, was a highlight.

Model Boat Exhibition at Queenscliffe Maritime Museum

It was all hands on deck at the Queenscliffe Maritime Museum’s Model Boat Exhibition where proud owners of model yachts, naval vessels and cruise ships were on display. Model boat enthusiasts came from across the state to share stories about their model boats that collectively have taken thousands of hours to create. Displays and remote controlled model demonstrations were held outside in a temporary shed.

Retired local boat builder, Gil Allbutt, had his bosuns, son Darren and grandson Liam, assisted in the early planning stages of the exhibition to ensure everything was ship-shape. Gil’s pride and joy, Metani, strip planked western red cedar over ply frames then glassed was on show. The fully operational model was built by Dean Jones who sailed on Metani after its launch and in the Tall Ships event in Sydney in1988.

Nigel Allom gave a talk about his model the Queen Mary II that he’s been working on since August 2010. To date Nigel has spent over $4,000 and estimates it will come in on budget at $10,000. “My friend the late Gary Allbutt designed the hull frame. Using a plastic model of the ship and photos he ascertained the hull form and dimensions and translated it onto a computer with extraordinary accuracy,” said Nigel. “I sent the design to a laser cutting manufacturer and it was done in a day saving me around 6-8 months of work.”

The frame is made up of 12mm thick laminated wood that took 4.8kgs of nail glue to bind it together and 190 screws to bind the stringers into the recess of the transverse bulk heads. Shell plating for the hull is 3mm thick laminate and took 1 litre of per-bond glue. The model is a fully working radio controlled ship and to date he’s spent 3,650 hours on it. A true labour of love!

She is powered by 10×6 volt, 10 amp batteries. Propulsion is 4 Azipods driven by electric motors. The aft are rotational pods for steering in normal conditions and stern thrusters for berthing. In other words the model doesn’t have a rudder, just like the real ship. When empty the model weights 50kg and 107kgs for correct floatation.

Nigel and all the other model boat enthusiasts were delighted to display their boats at the Maritime Museum. “The dangerous Port Phillip Heads saw Melbourne’s first settlers heading for Melbourne and the passenger liner models here today are still passing Queenscliff.”

Friends of MV Wyuna

Rosey Kendall and Brian Wastell, volunteers with the Victorian Maritime Centre at Crib Point, own the ex pilot ship Wyuna and the sub Otama. “MV Wyuna is one of Australia’s most historically valuable examples of early post-war shipping,” says Rosey. “This ship is invaluable, she is the last of her line. Similar ships to the Wyuna have long since made their final journey to the breakers yard and unless steps are taken to ensure Wyuna is preserved then the same fate may await her”

“During the years 1952-84 the first sighting of any ship laying off the entrance to Port Phillip Bay was the trusty little ship Wyuna with the pilot aboard. Later she became a training vessel for the Australian Maritime College in Launceston, Tasmania where thousands of seamen learnt their trade. This beautiful little ship served this country well throughout her career and deserves the title of an Australian Historical Maritime Asset.”

“We want to bring the Wyuna back to Melbourne and plan to restore her into a school camp and conference centre, but finding a berth is difficult. We have started a ‘Friends of Wyuna’ project to raise funds to get the project up and running.”

To help preserve a piece of our maritime history join the Western Port Oberon Association and the Victorian Maritime Centre to help restore MV Wyuna. Contact Rosey 0423 569 662 or Brian 0417 522 234 who will provide you with more information.