GLENN MacMillan from the Thirroul Bowling Club found an old surf boat called Friendship in a backyard paddock in Bulli.
Despite being in a poor condition – weathered with rotting timbers – he also discovered the boat had a history.
Mr MacMillan said: “The surf boat was donated to the Thirroul Surf Life Saving Club by well-known local identity Russell Morrisey. Russell was made Patron of Thirroul SLSC back in 1991 and the boat he donated gave 21 years of great service to the community.”
Mr MacMillan wanted to do something with the old boat. He was keen to preserve it and maintain the historical links between it and Thirroul.
“I knew the Thirroul Men’s Shed was on the look-out for new projects, so I approached them. I suggested it’d be great if they could turn the old boat into a unique piece of furniture for the Bowlo.”
The Men’s Shed set to work, first constructing two purpose built wooden cradles to support the boat while it was worked on. Over a period of six months it was stripped, gutted then rebuilt using Jarrah and Tasmanian Oak and finally fitted-out with a new kneel.
With the help of local businesses, such as Bulli Smash Repairs and Aspiration Graphics, the Thirroul men oiled, lacquered and spray-painted the new timbers.
Despite all the re-building, the surf boat will maintain its identity as the original name, Friendship, will stay.
“Keeping the name is important because of what the word signifies. Here at the Bowlo, friendship and bringing people together, is what we’re all about and at the Men’s Shed – bringing the men together – is what they’re all about.”
However, the public is going to have to wait until March to see the Friendship surf boat at the Thirroul Bowlo.
“The 1.7 metre wide and 7.9 metre long boat will be a huge talking point when it arrives, as it’ll be our feature bar with seating and standing room for around 30 people. It just goes to show what great work the men at the Shed can do and will continue to do to help the community.”
The men have been looking for a permanent home for some time, having their inaugural meetings at the Bowlo in the Green-Keeper’s shed and now in a member’s back-shed.
“Their membership and their capacity for projects have grown; what they need now is a new home – just like they’ve built here for the Friendship. If anyone has ideas for a new location for the Thirroul Men’s Shed, we’d love to hear from them.”