PHOTOS

Laurieton's Poole family speaks in support of a proposal to restore historic Pacific Venture fishing trawler

REVIVAL: Pacific Venture in Laurieton. Photo: Supplied by Port Macquarie Museum.
REVIVAL: Pacific Venture in Laurieton. Photo: Supplied by Port Macquarie Museum.

The Poole family has spoken in support of a proposal to restore the Mid-North Coast fishing trawler Pacific Venture in Laurieton.

Australian film director Damien Lay has previously announced intentions to restore the historic trawler and make it the subject of an international documentary.

The vessel was built by residents and became a key boat in the extensive Camden Haven fishing fleet during the 1960s and 1970s. It is now the only remaining vessel intact in the area.

Former owner Kim Poole, 65, the son of original boat owner Donald 'Jock' Poole, said he began working on the boat when he was 13-years-old.

"I'd really like to see it become a museum piece or floating museum. I was very pleased to hear that was being considered because I didn't have the funds to do that in my time," he said.

"It wasn't the last boat built in Laurieton, but it supplied the fish coop for many years in the 1970s and 1990s, and there were some record catches made onboard.

"Ron and Eddie Dobson were the boat builders with my dad. The design was my dad's choice and they just built it out of (ideas in) his head, there wasn't much of a plan at all.

"My brother Ian and I painted every plank on it when it was being built and it was the main money earner for us while we working."

FORMER GLORY: The Pacific Venture at the blessing of the fleet in Laurieton. Photo: Jenny Kaberry.

FORMER GLORY: The Pacific Venture at the blessing of the fleet in Laurieton. Photo: Jenny Kaberry.

Mr Poole said he fondly remembers doing a Christmas supply run to Lord Howe Island with his brother and father in 1974.

"Lord Howe Island hadn't had a supply ship for nine months so us and another boat took on the task. We took supplies like gas bottles, household provisions and a lot of toilet paper as a mercy run," he said.

"That was a real experience with the roughest seas I've ever been in. There were 60 to 70 knot winds with waves twice as high as the length of the trawler.

"The waves were so big, the wind so strong that it was blowing squid and flying fish out of the water into the windows. We were doing about 24 knots down the bloody face of these huge waves.

"The three of us got back three days before Christmas and I was never so glad to be home as on that day."

HISTORIC FISHING BOAT: The Pacific Venture in 1989. Photo: Lyn Workman and Ian Goulding.

HISTORIC FISHING BOAT: The Pacific Venture in 1989. Photo: Lyn Workman and Ian Goulding.

Not all memories of the Pacific Venture were good ones including an accident onboard which claimed the life of his father.

"Dad died on the boat in an accident with the propeller shaft in 1979 and I couldn't get him out in time," Mr Poole said.

"He bleed out virtually before I could get him outside. Ian and I tried to resuscitate him until we were told to stop.

"I was 23 (years old) and one of the first on scene. It was a hard time and will give me nightmares for the rest of my life."

Newcastle divers raised the Pacific Venture from the depths of the Camden Haven Inlet at Dunbogan on July 7, after it sank during the March floods.

Mr Poole said seeing the trawler sit underwater had been deeply upsetting.

"We sold it in November 2019 and when it sank earlier this year I cried because it was a part of my life for about 50 odd years. I'd fished the cod ground all my life on it," he said.

"The day of the flood I went down past it and it wasn't there. All I could see was the radar, it was very upsetting."

ON THE MEND: Pacific Venture in Laurieton. Photo: Supplied by Port Macquarie Museum.

ON THE MEND: Pacific Venture in Laurieton. Photo: Supplied by Port Macquarie Museum.