Magnetic Island North Queensland
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September 27th 2010
"Presto Breakwater" named and sculpture unveiled

Mandy Johnstone names the Presto Breakwater In front of a banner proclaiming, "Do the bright thing", Member for Townsville, Mandy Johnstone officially announced the new name for the Nelly Bay Harbour breakwater as the "Presto Breakwater" during a visit last Friday to the $630,000 entrance landscaping project which is due for completion at the end of the month.

The name is in keeping with what was the first breakwater at Nelly Bay - the scuttled hulk of the vessel "Presto" which was relocated to Nelly Bay after it was wrecked by Cyclone Sigma in 1896.

State Member for Townsville Mandy Johnstone officiated at the naming ceremony along with Cr Tony Parsons from Townsville City Council.

Cr Tony Parsons addressed those gathered for the unveiling

Mandy Johnstone said, "There is a lot of local pride at Nelly Bay and the community have expressed their desire to ensure its history is captured and honoured."

"The chosen name for the breakwater was put forward by Townsville Bulletin and Magnetic Times readers.

"Not much is left of the Presto shipwreck today and this official naming acknowledges the very important role the Presto played in keeping Nelly Bay safe many years ago."

The hulk of the Presto can be seen to the right off Bright Point
from this historical photo of Otto Bottiger's hut at Nelly Bay.

"Originally positioned at the mouth of Nelly Bay Harbour, the Presto shipwreck was described as an imposing 40 metre presence that helped to protect the timber jetty and small vessels that used Nelly Bay.

"There have been many local people involved in this project. I would like to recognise the contribution two people in particular. Magnetic Island History and Craft Centre's Zanita Davies for undertaking research on the Presto and Island resident Mr Charlie McColl for the countless hours he has spent restoring the remains of the Presto and preparing the exhibit. "

Later, Charlie McColl gave an informal talk about the Presto and its last vestiges - the ship's bow molded from cement and rock balast - which have been arranged at the end of the breakwater for public viewing.

Besides the naming of the breakwater,which was originally built amid vocal public opposition after the Bright Point headland was blown up to provide the rock for the breakwater in the late 1980s, Mandy Johnstone also unveiled Sydney artist, Graham Chalcroft's, Eye to the Sky - interactive sundial sculpture that will use solar and energy efficient technologies and was commissioned to celebrate Magnetic Island's ongoing participation in the Solar Cities project.

The Eye to the Skycommissioned with overall budget of $130,000, comprises a 4 metre high split dome with an 8 metre diameter that houses two sundials.

Artist Graham Chalcroft addressed the opening's audience

Graham Chalcroft said he was excited to be unveiling the artwork on the Nelly Bay breakwater and said its position would further strengthen the connection to the marine park.

"The artwork will be a great feature and point of interest to the park," he said.

"With so much community input we hope it will be embraced and owned by the community. The interpretive capacity will have greater resonance and context being in a park with native planting and aquatic connection points for both community and tourist visitors."

Referring to the Solar Cities project, Mandy Johnstone said, "Already, two out of every three homes and businesses on Magnetic Island are doing the bright thing and participating in this innovative solar project.

"They're showing how a switch to solar can help reduce energy consumption, save money on electricity bills and slash greenhouse gas emissions. "

Ms Johnstone also inspected the breakwater's landscaping project - underway since May to beautify the area.

"The landscaping works will also be more accommodating for native wildlife and has large areas of green space, trees for shade and footpaths. It can now be better utilised as a public space," she said.

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

September 27th 2010
Congrats and well done all concerned.
I am gladdened to see mangroves growing among the rocks of the breakwater and along the artificial "beach". I am equally depressed by the lack of solar panels at Pepper's and Mantra resorts. Is there any reason for their non-participation in the Solar Cities program?
Lindsay simpson
September 27th 2010
Yes the developer. The body corporate has been on board during discussions. develepors name is Eugene white and I have his email anyone is interested.
September 27th 2010
Shame no mention of the Landscaping company who have done the work on the eyesore that was Nelly Bay breakwater in speech by "Hollywood" Johnstone who seems to have her face pop up whenever there's a camera opportunity or was it edited out of the article?
September 28th 2010
You're right CGN, the landscapers were not mentioned, so let me be the first to congratulate Trevor Jochheim and his team from J-MAC. I think their outstanding work speaks for itself but I suppose there are a few rock wallabies down there who are wondering what happened to the room service that has made dining a pleasure for them this past couple of months.
J-MAC? Google it. They're all over the east coast.
September 28th 2010
...and who was the gentleman who welded it all together???...
September 28th 2010
Nan, I think the rock wallabies have just started a dating service. You could talk to them about Brian. We'll look the other way.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

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