Roland Briene, Damen Regional Sales Director - Asia Pacific, has been visiting Australia and the Sydney Heritage Fleet regularly for the last six years and earlier this year he accompanied chairman, Kommer Damen on a tour of the fleet.
“Mr Damen is always interested in the heritage fleet of maritime nations and he was keen to support the organisation. Australia has an extensive maritime history and it is great to have an opportunity to take part and breathe new life into these fantastic vessels, which are all restored using traditional materials,” Roland says.
“The Australian maritime industry is also treating Damen very well, we have been awarded several contracts, with 50 vessels sold there in the last eight years. So it is very nice to support this special fleet and play a role in bringing it back to life.”
Damen’s donation is going to be used to replace the steel hulls plates of the John Oxley, which was built in 1927 by Bow McLachlan of Paisley, Scotland. She was built for the Queensland Harbours and Rivers Board and steamed under her own power as a pilot vessel in Moreton Bay and as a buoy and lighthouse tender along the Queensland coast.
John Oxley was built in riveted steel with teak decks. She is a typical coastal steamship with raised forecastle, well deck, machinery and navigation midships and accommodation aft. She has two boilers and a triple expansion steam engine. She was also taken over by the RAN during WW II for use as an examination vessel. John Oxley was officially donated to the Sydney Heritage Fleet in 1970.
Sydney Heritage Fleet, which has its roots dating back to 1965, has a group of 650 volunteers and currently has a 10-strong historical fleet. This includes tugboats, a 138-year-old tall ship, coal fired steamship and an Edwardian steam launch.
Photo – (L–R)
Pictured: Roland Briene, Damen Regional Sales Director - Asia Pacific and Ross Muir, General Manager of the Sydney Heritage Fleet.