Wednesday, October 28, 2009

History of Busselton Jetty

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Busselton Jetty

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

At 1841 metres, the jetty is said to be the longest wooden structure in the southern hemisphere
Busselton Jetty is the longest wooden jetty (pier) in the southern hemisphere,[citation needed] stretching almost 2 km out to sea from the town of Busselton, Western Australia. Because the shallow waters of Geographe Bay restricted ship movement, a long jetty was required so that the cut timber could be transported to the ships. In 1839 Governor Hutt appointed "the place in Geographe Bay opposite the Settlement at The Vasse to be the legal place for the loading and unloading of goods". The jetty commenced construction in 1853 after persistent pressure by settlers. In 1865 the first section of the jetty became available for ships to moor. In 1875 an additional 131 metres was added to the original structure, as over 10 years of drift sands had made the depth of the water too shallow for mooring. The jetty was continually extended until the 1960s when it reached its current length of 1841 metres.
Busselton Jetty, as viewed from the top of the Jetty Point Lighthouse
The jetty also features a rail line along its length, which operated commercially as part of the railway line into Busselton from Bunbury. The last commercial ship visited the Jetty on 17 October 1971. On 21 July 1972, the Jetty was closed to shipping by Governor's Proclamation in the WA Gazette after more than a century of use. Once closed, Government maintenance of the Jetty ceased and it began to deteriorate, suffering attack by wood borers, rot and the occasional fire. On 4 April 1978, Cyclone Alby swept south down the Western Australian coast from the North-West (a rare occurrence) and destroyed a large part of the shore end of the Jetty. Subsequently, townspeople banded together to try to save the Jetty and eventually persuaded the State Government and the Shire Council to provide some much needed funds for repair.
Busselton Jetty from the air
However, rebuilding the timber jetty proved expensive and funds soon ran out. The Jetty Preservation Society, formed in 1987, resorted to community fund-raising. Over the past 15 years, in excess of AUD $9 million has been committed to Jetty restoration and development projects. A small tourist train operated following repairs in the 1980s and 1990s, but ceased in early 2005 due to concerns over the jetty's aging structure.
In December 1999, a devastating fire burnt 65 metres of jetty to the water line incurring $900,000 damage in the process [1].

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