September 27th 2010
"Presto Breakwater" named and sculpture unveiled
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.
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