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History of NICHOLSON RIVER Race location

HISTORY of the Nicholson River Carpark, Over River Platforms

In about 2005-6 the Shire was approached by the fishing group, in conjunction with NMSC to build platforms. In discussions between the Shire and members of the Club (initially called the Paynesville Model Sailing Group and renamed the Nicholson Model Sailing Club (NMSC)  in late 2005), requested that platform No. 3 be a large on and No.4 be a smaller version. However, unluckily, this was not how the platforms were subsequently built by the Shire. The platforms were, apparently, limited in size and edge depth of water to discourage boats using them for tie-up points.

The NMSC requested an edge depth of minimum 0.5 to 1.0 metre depth as our yachts have deep keels that are 0.44 to 0.5m deep. However, rocks were piled against the foundation piers so that a depth of sometimes as little as 0.3m is near the platform, therefore requiring launching and retrieval of yachts by wading in at the beach as otherwise the yacht keels got damaged – very cold on many days. Flooding over the carpark means that we can launch from the platforms, but still with wet shoes from getting from carpark to platform No.3.

The NMSC Members had already (about 2005) bought in 8 trailer loads of pebbles to create the beach, at our expense. The Shire then built the platforms, removed a large concrete slab, smoothed out the beach rock bedding from what had been a steep bank, and laid down quite a lot more pebbles to create the beach as it is now.  This pebble beach is often used by paddle-boarders and kayakers, for launching (they usually just launch, then paddle off up-river for a few hours), and interestingly a canoe is on the car parked next to the beach in the Shire aerial photos attached. So the beach has multiple users, not just NMSC.

Originally creating the pebble beach by NMSC Member – 8 trailers of pebbles

Most of the fishing is now done, it seems, from the new jetties either side of the boat ramp, or the No.1 & 2 platforms and we sail down-river from them. We try to keep away from the boating traffic by setting out racing course on our Westerly side of the river and the boat users respect that when we are racing they travel past on the Easterly side, usually at the required slow speed of the area.

Earlier on, the NMSC made a floating platform, on wheels, that was bought down on sailing days and tied to the No.3 platform, but it was not stable enough and was abandoned for safety reasons.

As you can see from the attached photos of the old platform in use, the raised areas are often used to stand upon for more sailors to be able to see their yachts. This is also due to two of our members using wheelchairs and others with health conditions needing chairs to sit in. With a wheelchair in one corner and sometimes a chair in the other, there was very little lower space left on the small platform to launch our boats. The water level at the edge was also too shallow, most of the year, which made launching and retrieving risky for people and damaging to the boats’ deep keels.


The platform in use up until 2017. Note how crowded it was with just some of the competitors.

New Platform thanks to EGSC enlargement 2018  

With great thanks to East Gippsland Shire Council, the Nicholson Model Sailing Club (NMSC) now have a fantastic new enlarged platform with modern slip-proof decking, boxes for sitting or standing on and a greatly increased area to sail from, that also reaches out into deeper water.



The new steel supports in the water showing the extension area and EGSC Workers on the partly finished deck.
Then the new decks, ready for our new 2018-19 Season, after some refinements after testing.
(The seats have been moved to the bank side for maximum space in front.)

The Shire workers did a great job and refined the construction to meet our suggestions, as it progressed. It is now much safer for all sailors to launch boats, move around each other and wheelchairs (wheelchairs do take a lot of space ) and all the club members will appreciate the improved access for our coming sailing season.

In July 2017, we contacted the East Gippsland Shire as we had heard they were interested in projects to improve facilities in East Gippsland and support projects that have outcomes such as improving accessibility, increasing participation, and increasing opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist. In November 2017 we were advised the project was given approval. Work started in March and the deck was completed in April and seats by May. So we were able to test and refine before our 2017-18 season ended. EGSC were very receptive to requests for changes and the end result will be much more comfortable, spacious, functional and safer.


Dawsons Cove, Newlands Arm, NAGS Fun Sail Location

The same people also sail once a month at Dawsons Cove, Newlands Arm, off the new jetty there. However sailing there is limited to midweek and outside of busy holiday periods.

At weekends, or during any holiday periods, the boating traffic makes the Dawsons Cove location unsuitable due to the many boating activities that use this area and jetty. Hence the reason why the Nicholson River location is so important to us. We have tried locations around Paynesville, like near Sunset Cove, but the boating traffic makes it difficult to sail and we run the risk of being run over.

You will note that a number of the members are using chairs here to be comfortable. Wheelchair access to this jetty is excellent, by the way.