'Migaloo' was a labour of love for two men
WHEN Shane Harrington first saw the uncompleted project boat he immediately thought, "Migaloo."
Housed in a shed at Byron Bay, what is now a stunning white boat was then a hull, a shell and two motors with a sad past.
"Dave Brooker was the bloke who started building it and it'd taken him 15 years to get it to that stage," Shane said.
"But he was killed after falling off a roof at work, he was only 50 years old."
The other bad news for Shane was that someone else had bought the boat before he had arrived.
When the sale fell through, Shane quickly snapped it up then arranged to have it trucked back to Gladstone.
Bad luck struck a third time.
"On the trip up a lady drove past the pilot vehicle and police car and ran into it," he said.
Fortunately there wasn't too much damage and Shane started fitting out his dream boat.
"I knew it was going to be a big job, so I thought 3 or 4 months will do it," he said.
It took him three years.
I pretty much did the lot, all the timber-work and installed all the equipment myself," Shane said.
"My mate Paul in Agnes Water did the upholstery."
Even though it turned out to be a much bigger project than he first thought, Shane was pleased with the result.
"I built it big enough to take two families, or four mates, fishing for a week."
In April Migaloo was ready to be put into the water and it was a bitter-sweet moment.
"Dave's brother, his three sons and his mother made the trip up from Byron to see it launched," he said.
"They'd spent 18 years watching the boat get built and they had tears in their eyes when it went in.
"I not only got a boat but a family too because they're welcome back whenever they want."
A photo of Dave hangs on a wall in the wheelhouse and Shane made sure his name was on the side well.
"Boats have always gotta have good names," he said.