Pat on the bottom: Cumberoona works

LONG-awaited repairs to Albury’s paddle steamer Cumberoona are well under way.

Contractors are nearing completion on restoring the boat’s hull, stripping rusted and worn plates and welding on brand new ones.

The 25-metre-long vessel is undergoing the detailed transformation on the banks of Wodonga Creek, after being in dry dock since 2006 due to low water levels which made it difficult to operate.

Albury Council decided a year ago to outlay $186,000 to replace 90 per cent of the paddle steamer’s damaged hull with the work being done by DTD Engineering.

The council’s parks and recreation chief David Armstrong said while he couldn’t give an exact date of completion for the project, the outlook was positive.

“We’d like to get it done as soon as we can, but there are still a few things that we need to do in terms of assessments in working with the NSW maritime authorities,” he said.

“It’s been an interesting project in that there are so many factors out of our control, such as water levels to be able to dock the boat.

“We could’ve done only the bits that we needed to, but it’s better to start from scratch and work out how we can minimise corrosion later on.”

Mr Armstrong said while the boat has not been running for a number of years, constant works had continued to keep it well maintained.

“We had a period of time where work couldn’t be done because we couldn’t move it here,” he said.

“It’s good to see things actually happening.”

In order to access the hull of the large paddle steamer, it has been stranded in dry dock with an artificial sandbag wall preventing the flow of water from the nearby creek.

After completing the restructuring of the hull, there are further plans to repaint and restore other parts of the vessel that need attention before putting it back on the water.

About $18,000 has been budgeted for by the council for spending on testing and engine upgrades.

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