News

At 84, keen to set sail

Don Parke is working on a replica of the first America's Cup winner.
Don Parke is working on a replica of the first America's Cup winner. Rob Williams

HIGH SEAS: Don Parke works on his replica version of the famous yacht America which won the America's Cup in 1851. Rob Williams

SOMETHING special happened to Don Parke when he first laid a hand on the wreck of the SS Maheno.

Mr Parke was just a boy when the Maheno washed up on Fraser Island in 1935, but the effect the experience had on him lives on after 77 years.

It was after seeing the wreck that Mr Parke's father built a couple of canoes for him, and his fascination with boats began.

He started building small sailboats from the age of 14, gradually working his way up to bigger power cruisers and sailing catamarans.

Rheumatoid arthritis has slowed him down over the last couple of decades - but it hasn't stopped him and he has now hand built more than 50 boats.

With wife of 30 years, Trisha, joining in the fun, Mr Parke is rebuilding some classic boats - the latest of which is based on an America's Cup winner, which he plans to dedicate to his home town.

The 10m schooner - currently under construction in the Parke family's backyard - is a replica of the vessel that took out the inaugural America's Cup.

"We are going to call this one, The Hammer of Ipswich," Mr Parke said.

"She is going to represent the city wherever she goes."

While building the boat by hand will be a labour of love for Mr and Mrs Parke, its completion will represent a ticket to freedom.

They plan to sail the vessel around Moreton Bay, living on board for several days at a time.

"I hate the word 'retire'," the 84-year-old said.

"I detest anything that stops me trying to achieve what I want to achieve."

Mrs Parke, a talented wood worker in her own right, is currently recovering from illness in hospital, but will play an important role in the completion of the schooner, as she has done on previous projects.

In recent years, the couple has also completed a replica of a 5m canoe that is based on a classic design by American builder Rushton Ugo in 1890.

Best of all, Mr Parke said the Ugo was a dream to travel in.


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

VIDEO: Cameras catch driver speeding through Ipswich

The driver was caught on Ipswich Safe City cameras.

IPSWICH man to appear in court today after allegedly stealing car

'Like a nightmare': Deadly snakes strike dog, twice

FIGHTING FOR LIFE: Tigger receives treatment after being wbitten by an eastern brown snake.

IPSWICH pet owner's plea for help as he struggles to cover vet bills

OP scores tables: Why teachers, authorities hate them

How should we judge which are our best schools?

Schools, of course, cannot be merely judged on OP results

Local Partners

Paul Murray listens to regions

The man who can talk underwater is ready to listen and broadcast it back to the pollies.

Why Hollywood’s siding with Brad Pitt over Angelina Jolie

Jolie may have the kids, but Pitt has custody of Hollywood

Tensions high at pointy end of MKR's round two

Things are really heating up on My Kitchen Rules.

Games are being played around the My Kitchen Rules table

Jungle Jay sent packing from I'm a Celebrity

I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Here! contestant Jay Laga'aia with Keira.

BIG friendly giant Jay Laga'aia has been eliminated from I'm A Celeb

Carson Kressley brings 'camp' to I'm a Celebrity jungle

"I am not all Park Avenue and daffodils” ... Carson Kressley.

Meet the "campest” campmate to star on I'm a Celebrity.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi mystery already solved

FILE- This undated file photo provided by Disney shows Daisey Ridley as Rey, left, and John Boyega as Finn, in a scene from the film, \"Star Wars: The Force Awakens.\" Hasbro said it is changing its Star Wars Monopoly set after an 8-year-old girl became upset that Rey, the movie's female heroine, was not included as a figure along with Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. (Disney/Lucasfilm via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

A key mystery surrounding the title of episode eight has been solved

Kids' game "full of f**king paedophiles" according to dad

A mortified dad has expressed serious concerns over an online game

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Massive seaside development of 3200 lots

DESIRABLE LIFESTYLE: The masterplan for the proposed Elliott Heads Estate.

"There's nothing else left along the coastline of Queensland now"

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

50 more high rise buildings planned for Brisbane CBD

Height limits have been scrapped for Brisbane CBD

800,000 more people expected to work in city over next 20 years

New suburb in the crosshairs of Coast vandals

UNDER WRAPS: Graffiti on art installations at the entrance to the newly opened Bells Creek Arterial Road has been covered up.

Vandal rechristens Stockland as something less than complimentary

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!