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.




REVEALED: The Lismore group behind highway sign stunt

Greens mayoral candidate Vanessa Grindon-Ekins at Lismore and Villages sign at Hinterland Way

"This is only the beginning", the group has warned

CCTV footage opens new leads in Sabrina Bremer murder case

Leaked CCTV footage shows a man getting out of the car Logan woman Sabrina Bremer was last seen alive in.

Leaked footage shows a man abandoning a white sedan

LATEST: Minor flood warning issued as rain sets in

RAIN RADAR: The latest rain radar from the Bureau of Meteorology shows further rain is on its way to Northern NSW throughout the coming hours.

UPDATE: Areas close to the border copping the most rain.

Latest deals and offers

MOVIE REVIEW: War Dogs tells a fascinating true story

Miles Teller and Jonah Hill in a scene from the movie War Dogs.

DARKLY funny film examines the business side of the war on terror.

Marvel-ous: Thor actors visit sick kids at Lady Cilento

Stars of Thor: Ragnarok dropped in on patients at the hospital

Folk singer looking forward to her Gympie Muster debut

Alternative country folk singer Fanny Lumsden will perform at the Gympie Muster.

FANNY Lumsden to serenade new fans with her country hall-style show.

Patti Smith confirmed for Bluesfest 2017

CONFIRMED: US singer Patti Smith performing in Switzerland last year.

Find out who else in the first line up announcement

Angie and Yvie ready to toast The Bachelor on Gogglebox

Angie and Yvie in a scene from the TV series Gogglebox.

ALL the regulars return in TV show about people watching TV.

Local teen actor to star in cult horror

Nicholas Hamilton.

Nicholas Hamilton, 16, has cemented his Hollywood career

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m

Guess which Sunshine Coast suburb cracked the million dollar list?

This four-bedroom home at 26 McAnally Dr, Sunshine Beach was for sale for $7 million.

List of Australia's five most-expensive suburbs

Does it get any better than this? Check out this $2M home

LUXURY LIVING: The Coral Cove home built by Steve Coates Constructions that took out the best home over $2 million and the Wide Bay Burnett House of the Year at the Master Builders Wide Bay Burnett Housing and Construction Awards.

Wide Bay's best home is right on our doorstep