TRAGEDY will turn to triumph when the Golden City Paddle Steamer finally returns to Lake Wendouree next month.
The paddle steamer will be launched by Premier Denis Napthine on Thursday, November 7, after the original was destroyed by fire in March 2006.
Golden City Paddle Steamer Society president Bob Wuestewald said it had taken about 20 volunteers seven years of mainly weekend work to recreate the traditional-style steamer.
“It is totally brand new but it is in the same sort of style as the old one,” Mr Wuestewald said.
However, while the original paddle steamer could carry 150 passengers, the new one is only licensed to hold up to 40.
It will be launched at View Point at 1.30pm, with Mr Napthine cutting the ribbon and long-serving society member Pat Weightman cracking a bottle of champagne on its hull.
“If any other boats wish to join in the launch that would be great,” Mr Wuestewald said.
The Sing Australia Choir will also perform on the day.
After the launch, the paddle steamer will operate every Sunday from 11am until 4pm and some Saturdays.
It will be available for hire for weddings, funerals and parties, while sunset and moonlight cruises are also planned, complete with jazz music.
The vessel has been undergoing marine surveys since March this year to ensure its seaworthiness.
Its launch will also herald the reopening of the society’s museum, which displays the history of both the society and Lake Wendouree, under curator George Brookes.
Anyone wishing to help Mr Brookes at the museum, located in the society’s boatshed on Wendouree Parade, can contact him on 5339 2755.