Following the successful junction Rally at Wentworth – which is held every three years – a Sunraysia riverboat family arranged to get the boats they have owned here at Mildura together for a special photo shoot.
The Pointon family began sending out emails to friends, family and other interested persons on Sunday night to advise of a special display of “Pointon” boats for Monday afternoon.
The Paddleboat Rothbury captained by Rob Bramley operated the 10.50am cruise but the Mildura Wharf signboard gave a message to potential customers that the 1.50pm trip was cancelled for “photographic purposes”.
But the faster flow of the Murray River delayed proceedings by half an hour because the Paddlesteamer Melbourne was making its way back from being at Wentworth over the weekend and was behind schedule.
Co-ordinator of the family gathering Lyn McKenzie (nee Pointon) said that the idea to get the boats together had been hatched some six weeks ago and the time schedule was put together based on the river flow at the time.
“The Melbourne had been at Wentworth on Sunday and its afternoon cruise was from Wentworth to Coomealla where it stopped overnight,” Mrs McKenzie said.
“It left on schedule at 9.30am but could not make it to Mildura by 1.30pm when it was scheduled to go through the Lock at Mildura.”
“I have to thank the Lock staff because they waited for her to arrive and as we had cancelled the afternoon cruise the Lock chamber remained at the lower level for the Melbourne which arrived just on 2pm”
“The flow also had some bearing on putting the boats in line and the Melbourne took more time to manoeuvre than the others,” Mrs McKenzie said.
“The idea was to have the boats all lined up side by side at the Mildura wharf with the latest addition to the Pointon fleet – the Paddle Vessel Mundoo at the wharf edge,”
“There were lots of photographers around and the way we had them lined up gave the opportunity to have the wharf in the photos and the Mildura Bridge in the back drop.”
In the photographs, from the left side, the first boat was the Pointon family owned – the Isabelle - now owned by renowned local diver and personality Tubby Ramsay (who skippered the boat).
The Isabelle was built at Collarenebri in 1934/35.
Next was the Mayflower which was converted by the late Captain Alby Pointon to a cruise boat which began its tourist run from Mildura around 1955.
The Mayflower has been re-fitted to its original look by a group of volunteers at Mannum and its skipper was Captain Rob Bowring.
The Mayflower was sold by the Pointon family when the Paddleboat Rothbury was purchased and re-fitted for passenger use from the Port of Mildura.
The Paddleboat Mundoo – which is used for special and night time cruises – was skippered by Captain Chris Pointon.
The pride of the fleet, the Paddlesteamer Melbourne, was sailed by Captain Andrew Cook, who recently returned to Mildura after being Lock Master at Lock Nine at Lake Cullulleraine for a number of years.
Mildura Rural City Council Portfolio Councillor for Tourism Cr Mark Eckel said that for the record the years the boats were built and launched were as follows – Isabelle 1934, Mayflower 1884, Melbourne 1912, Rothbury 1881 and Mundoo 1987.