October 9, 2019 by admin
THE iconic Wangi Queen left Lake Macquarie yesterday bound for its new home on Sydney Harbour.
The timber vessel was on the lake as a party boat for almost 40 years, but will return to the harbour where it worked from the 1940s to ’70s.
Marmong Point Marina owner Les Binkin said he sold the vessel to Sydney Harbour Tall Ships.
“The operator will renovate and recondition it,” Mr Binkin said.
Mr Binkin said it would have cost him up to $700,000 to “bring it back to new condition”.
“We wanted to keep the boat operating, but it became tired and needs a rebuild,” Mr Binkin said.
He was pleased the new owners had said they would retain the vessel’s name and heritage.
The boat was listed for sale for $115,000, but the sale price was confidential.
“Sydney Harbour Tall Ships have the shipwrights and finance and they charter timber boat cruises,” he said.
The new owners said yesterday the Wangi Queen would be berthed at Campbell’s Cove, The Rocks, and used for ‘Convict Castles and Champagne’ tours to Goat Island.
Mr Binkin said he was planning to invest up to $800,000 in a 70-seat floating restaurant on the pontoon where the Wangi Queen was moored at his marina.
“It will be very unique to NSW and great for Lake Macquarie,” he said.
Speers Point resident Graham Burgess named the Wangi Queen when he brought the vessel to Lake Macquarie in 1974.
“I had her for 30 years,” Mr Burgess said.
“We did more than 900 weddings onboard and we think we carried our millionth tourist just prior to selling it.”
Mr Burgess said his vessel became an icon, especially on Christmas Eve.
“Up to 25,000 people would gather on the shore to see Christmas lights and Santa onboard,” he said.
“It’s the end of an era and a sad day.”
The vessel was built at Empire Bay on the Central Coast in 1922 and initially was named “Ettalong”.
GOODBYE: The iconic Wangi Queen leaves Lake Macquarie.
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