Call to return lifeboat to public view
Daring rescue part of historyAL WILLIAMS
Tony Heath wants a slice of South Canterbury history back on display, and has asked Timaru mayor Damon Odey to help the cause.
Mr Heath has suggested to Mr Odey that Timaru's historic lifeboat, the Alexandra, be moved back to the Landing Service Building, where it was previously on display, or to a new location so it can again be seen by the public.
In 1997 the boat was moved from Caroline Bay to the Landing Service Building but was shifted to a shed at the council's service centre in the Botanic Gardens to make way for the Ngai Tahu Te Ana Rock Art Centre, which opened in 2010.
"Would it not be possible to make room for the lifeboat back in its original and natural home on the launching rails in the Land Service Building?" Mr Heath asked.
"I have canvassed some of my acquaintances and friends on this subject, and have been surprised at the depth of feeling at the apparent disappearance of this icon."
"I want to see them make better use of it than being stored in a shed."
Mr Odey is overseas but said in a letter to Mr Heath that he would "see what I can do about bringing the Alexandra back into the light of day".
"This is a project I am more than interested in, having worked on her restoration some years ago," he said.
Records show the Alexandra was built for Timaru in 1864. Its first use as a lifeboat was on "Black Sunday", May 14, 1882, when the City of Perth and the Benvenue were wrecked on the Benvenue cliffs. During rescue attempts, the Alexandra capsized four times and 10 lives were lost.
The Alexandra was placed on Caroline Bay in 1932 on the 50th anniversary of "Black Sunday" at a ceremony attended by surviving rescuers.
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