Lifestyle

Wreck creates a life passion

BOAT BUILDING: Don Parke working on his replica version of the famous yacht America which won the America’s Cup in 1851.
BOAT BUILDING: Don Parke working on his replica version of the famous yacht America which won the America’s Cup in 1851. Rob Williams

SOMETHING special happened to Don Parke when he first laid a hand on the wreck of the SS Maheno.

Mr Parke was just a boy when the Maheno washed up on Fraser Island in 1935, but the effect the experience had on him lives on after 77 years.

It was after seeing the giant ship wreck that Mr Parke's father built a couple of canoes for him, and his fascination with boats began.

He started building small sailboats from the age of 14, gradually working his way up to much bigger powered cruisers and sailing catamarans.

Rheumatoid arthritis has slowed him down over the last couple of decades - but it hasn't stopped him and he has now hand built more than 50 boats.

With wife of 30 years Trisha joining in the fun, Mr Parke is rebuilding some classic boats - the latest based on an America's Cup winner. He plans to dedicate it to his home town. The 10m schooner - currently under construction in the Parke family's backyard - is a replica of the vessel that took out the inaugural America's Cup.

"We are going to call this one, The Hammer of Ipswich," Mr Parke said. "She is going to represent the city of Ipswich wherever she goes."

While building the sail boat by hand will be a labour of love for Mr and Mrs Parke that will take several months, its completion will represent a ticket to freedom.

They plan to sail the vessel around Moreton Bay, living on board for several days at a time.

"I hate the word, 'retire'," the 84-year-old said. "I detest anything that stops me trying to achieve what I want to achieve."

Mrs Parke, a talented wood worker in her own right, is currently recovering from illness in hospital, but will play an important role in the completion of the schooner, as she has done on previous projects.

In recent years, the couple has also completed a replica of a 5m canoe made from plywood and teak that is based on a classic design by American builder Rushton Ugo in 1890.

The canoe was placed on display in the Ipswich Library four years ago, where it won an award in the DIY Dream competition.

Best of all, Mr Parke said the Ugo was a dream to travel in.

"As far as I know there is nothing like the Ugo anywhere in the southern hemisphere," he said.



Last-gasp goal saves Ipswich team's Pride

Western Pride goal scorer Dylan Wenzel-Halls.

Substitute stars for draw specialists

Crash debris shut down motorway

Police say vehicle was travelling wrong way

10 jobs you can apply for right now

Job seekers read the job advertisements on large boards at the Ipswich Showgrounds where the Australian Government Jobs and Skills Expo was held today (140613). Photo: Claudia Baxter / The Queensland Times

Plenty on offer from across the region

Local Partners

Shot at the live shows slips through Sally's fingers

SUNSHINE Coast singer's dramatic elimination from The Voice nearly saw her form a duo with her battle round opponent.

Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor split after 17 years

They were married in May 2000 and have two children, who they said will remain their priority.

Ben Stiller and his wife Christine Taylor have called it a day

Why The Voice hasn't produced a star

Boy George responds to Brittania Clifford-Pugh's heart-warming message.

It's the industry, not the show, says Boy George

These actors hated their movies and didn’t mind admitting it

Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans in a scene from GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

Every year, Hollywood blesses us with plenty of God awful movies.

Miranda Kerr and fiance hang up backyard tent for wedding

The decorators and caterers are arriving for the final preparations for the wedding of Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel. Pictures: Splash

Evan Spiegel and Miranda Kerr are set to marry today

Book review: Mia Freedman's book meets her critics head on

I appreciated Freedman's blunt honesty in the book

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Lost dough leaves sour taste after company collapse

Kathleen and John Mahoney from Sugar and Spice Bakery were stung after the collapse of Cantro Pty Ltd and are still owed money.

Supermarket operator collapse leaves sour taste for bakery

'Ridiculous': Council refuses renovation at heritage home

NOT FAIR: Karen Solomon of Newtown is angry with Ipswich City Council for refusing her plans to build a colonial style double car port at her Newtown home.

Council rejected development application

Council refusal of 'high density' development ends in court

Ipswich City Council first meeting with the new 2016 council.

Developer took the matter to the Queensland Planning Court

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!