Keeping Victoria’s Polly Woodside Shipshape

28 September 2016

The Andrews Labor Government is restoring one of Melbourne’s most-loved historic tourist attractions, 1885 former cargo vessel Polly Woodside.

Planning Richard Wynne has announced the vessel will receive $500,000 from the Living Heritage Program.

The 1885 three-masted English iron barque operated as a cargo vessel carrying coal, nitrate and wheat across the globe for about 40 years before it was dismantled to serve as a coal hulk around 1923.

Following a decade of restoration, it was opened to the public in 1978 at the Duke’s and Orr’s Dry Dock at South Wharf by the National Trust.

The funding will be used for conservation works identified in a recent audit by Heritage Victoria, including urgent specialist repairs to deteriorating timbers such as degraded margin boards, pin rails and timber masts.

Although the hull is watertight, the vessel’s survival as an accessible museum and education resource requires ongoing safety works.

The Living Heritage grant funding will secure the future of the ship, supporting the many hours of volunteer labour put into its restoration and maintenance.

Today, the Polly Woodside is a popular destination for visitors of all ages with regular pirate days and other opportunities to take on the role of an early sailor.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Richard Wynne

“Victoria is lucky to have a ship like Polly Woodside which they can explore and even mop its decks and restoration funding means it will be a well-maintained and accessible attraction for years to come.”

“Heritage sites draw huge tourist numbers and with the right support and maintenance we can preserve Victoria’s rich history for more people to experience.”

Quotes attributable to Chairman of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Kristin Stegley OAM

“This exciting announcement will enable the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) to undertake some much-needed conservation work on a rare surviving example of a nineteenth century barque.”

“Polly Woodside has welcomed many visitors since it opened in 1978, and as the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) celebrates its 60th anniversary, this grant will help to ensure the long-term sustainability of the tall ship for future generations.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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