Punting on Barmahs heritage

17 May 2017 Numurkah Leader, Numurkah VIC (General News) BARMAHS historic Murray River cable punt is getting a $200,000 restoration, thanks to a State Government living heritage grant. Northern Victoria MP Jaclyn Symes was in Barmah on Monday to announce the funding as part of this months state budget. The punt will be lifted from its current location in Jack Edwards Park, and placed on a new cradle structure to allow for improved public access. Restoration will include removing rotten wood, assessing its structural condition and building a strong support base. Ms Symes said she was impressed with the amount of local support for the project, which helped sway the successful funding application. Its not until you get into a community and hear the stories of the Barmah Punt, that you really appreciate how much it means to support this application, she said. Ms Symes said the punt is of historical significance for its role in facilitating intercolonial trade between Victoria and New South Wales. It was built by the New South Wales Department of Main Roads in Euston and remained in use until 1966. Its also recognised as one of Victorias earliest motorised timber cable punts, replacing an earlier punt which had been in use since the 1860s. It played a vital role to make this town what it is today, and as we can see, it is in some serious need of conservation, she said. Clarice Stack-Cliffords father Jimmy Clifford was the punts manager between 1921 and 1941. Ms Stack-Cifford said she was pleased with the funding announcement. I feel very good about it. My dad would be rapt to see it come back to life again, it was his passion. I have lots of early memories, the punt was our livelihood. We had to learn to wind it over manually. It took around 25 minutes to get cross, she said. Barmahs Sharon and Jill Gallaway were part of the community push for the restoration. Sharon said the project would have both short and long term benefits. It will create work in the area and it will be great for schools to come for excursions to see different parts of the restoration, and learn about Barmahs heritage. The long term benefits will be tourism, because people will come to see this, as its the only one left in Victoria. The project is being delivered in partnership with Moira Shire Council, which also contributed $29,000. Moira Shire Mayor Gary Cleveland said the punt was an important part of Western Moira tourism, along with the nearby Barmah muster yards. Council is pleased to be partnering with the Victorian Government through the Living Heritage grant program to protect the punt, he said. Thank you to the community for their leadership in bringing the potential for this project to councils attention. I look forward to seeing the end result. Caption Text: Preserving history Moira Shire mayor Gary Cleveland, Sharon and Jill Gallaway, Clarice Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.