I rise tonight to speak about a very special donation to the Brisbane flood recovery. As a result of the flood that so devastated the great city of Brisbane, my office and I wanted to do something special to raise money for the victims of that flood. We wanted to do something to support the clean-up of Moreton Bay that has been filled with silt and debris that washed out of the Brisbane River impacting the diverse flora and fauna of the bay and affecting many local businesses in that area that rely on the bay for their livelihoods.
Knowing that so many people across Brisbane and particularly on the bayside have an appreciation for and an affinity with fishing and that my electorate of Bonner is home to Wilson’s fishing rods, Australia’s premier fishing rod manufacturer, I decided to contact Wilson’s to see if they would like to donate five very special fishing rods that are unique and would fetch a premium price to aid in the flood relief.
I also knew that Alvey fishing reel company, an historic Brisbane based reel manufacturer for over 90 years, was a business that was a victim of the 1974 flood. I decided to contact Mr Bruce Alvey to see whether he would join with me and Wilson’s rods to manufacture five unique fishing reels to create a limited edition fishing reel and rod combination, the proceeds of which would be donated to the flood recovery.
I was delighted that both these Brisbane based companies were enthusiastic in producing a very unique fishing rod and reel combination and one that we all knew would appeal to a collector, regardless of whether or not they liked fishing.
The final specification of the Alvey fishing reel is made of Huon pine that is turned by a master craftsman and features a unique laser-cut design on the stainless steel face of the reel. The reel is adorned with an original 1950s Alvey badge that was salvaged from the 1974 floods from the original Alvey fishing factory that was situated in St Lucia, Brisbane.
These fishing rods are uniquely Brisbane made and are engraved by Brisbane’s premier engravers, John Hammond and his 2IC Duncan Vickers, who, at their own cost, very generously donated their master engraving on these unique fishing reels.
This project took on a life of its own but, even while in its embryonic stage, I was able to raise over $2,000 for the first fishing rod and reel combination. This was achieved without even knowing its technical specification but the purchaser, a Brisbane business identity Greg Willems, knew that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and in circumstances where the funds were going to such a great cause.
It did not take long once this initial fishing rod and reel was snapped up before interest in business circles allowed me to raise another $2½ thousand for the second fishing rod by local identity and fishing enthusiast, Doug Barton. The Wynnum Herald has featured an article on Doug’s acquisition.
The Italian chamber of commerce then had a fundraising auction for the victims of the Brisbane floods with the Lord Mayor as guest. The auction featured the bream fishing rod and reel combination. This again successfully reached an auction price of over $2,000, and I would like to thank the president of the ICCI Mr Santo Santoro and the secretary-general of the ICCI Miss Federica Ordorisio for helping me organise the event. I would like to thank the Wilson family, especially Graeme and Belinda; Mr Bruce Alvey; John Hammond; Duncan Vickers; and Kord Lucas.
The final two fishing rod and reel combinations are still available for collectors with a passion for fine craftsmanship and who want to simultaneously donate to a great cause. The money raised from the special project is going to the Lord Mayor’s flood relief fund with a request that these funds be directed towards the recovery of Moreton Bay.