Barge bearing gifts
A BARGE that has serviced the Whitsundays for many years is preparing to depart the area, bound for remote Papua New Guinea bearing gifts.
Major Dundee is a 90ft barge with a long history of ferrying supplies and fuel between the Whitsunday islands and coast.
Earlier this year Major Dundee's owner Gary Dayman put the boat up for sale and listed it with local brokerage MDBS, run by Neville Brooks.
Enter Michael and Christine Boko, who live on Buka Island in Papua New Guinea. Mr and Mrs Boko, who are the mobile fuel distributors for the PNG islands in the Bougainville chain, were looking for a barge capable of carrying 120 tonnes of fuel and found Major Dundee online. The couple and their consultants flew to Australia, inspected the barge and decided she was perfect for the role.
Meanwhile Neville Brooks saw an opportunity to use Major Dundee to transport much-needed supplies to her new home.
"I've been to PNG twice on fishing trips and I've seen how the locals need things," Mr Brooks said.
"Michael mentioned to me he'd just built a library and they needed books. I also know they need clothing and steel-capped work boots," he said.
Now Mr Brooks is calling on the community to assist. He is asking for donations of goods, including library or school books, writing materials, clothes, sporting equipment and work boots, but not perishables or sweets.
Major Dundee will leave the Whitsundays between June 29-July 6 so donations must be in by June 28. For more information or to organise a donation phone Neville Brooks on 4946 5883.