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The colourful history of Goolwa's landmark riverside Armfield Slip and Boatshed and its characters was presented at the Port Elliot and Middleton Probus club by Goolwa man Gary Coombes.
As chairman of the Boatshed he gave an insight of its early establishment over 140 years ago on the banks of the Murray, a short distance from the Goolwa Wharf precinct.
Riverboat captain Sam Armfield set up the boatshed repairing boats even when boats were laid up during the drought years. In 1920 it was sold and continued operating until the 1980s when it was abandoned. Rather than let it languish, the Port Elliot and Goolwa Council of the time purchased it for the use of volunteer boat restoration enthusiasts. In recent years, Alexandrina Council handed over the facility to the group and assisted in forming it as an incorporated independent body.
It has been the birthplace of many interesting historic boats. Many are over 100 years old and still sailing today thanks to the volunteer group that meets every week to work with wood in building many prizewinning boats and restoring vintage boats. It has prepared the boats for both Storm Boy movies. Every year a new small sailing boat is built and raffled together with the sale of paddle steamer model boats in raising funds for ongoing operations.
Next month's speaker is Chester the Police Dog with his 'assistant' Peter Crouch of SA Police. Visitors are welcome at Port Elliot Uniting Church Hall at 10am on Monday, June 24.