Hunt on for Morwell’s own yacht

Morwell resident Boyd Thompson wants to know what happened to the Thekla, a yacht built in Morwell in the early 1960s.

Mr Thompson, who moved to Morwell in 1961, said the yacht was constructed in a yard on Davey Street, near the corner of Madden Street.

Speaking to The Express, he recalled how it was made with steel and covered in fibreglass, and later raced in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.

“I was still driving a Citroen Light 15 so it would’ve been before 1964,” the Morwell Historical Society member said.

“I was driving through at the time when I decided to pull over and take a few photos of it, they had [the yacht] on a low loader and were taking it to somewhere down East Gippsland way.

“They had a couple of blokes with long poles walking ahead of the low loader in Morwell and were lifting any electrical wires that ran across the road.”

Mr Thompson recalled the yacht was painted “a strong red colour” and was believed to have been built by a man named Ernie Eckers.

“Ernie was a sub-contractor at Hazelwood Power Station… he had a little factory in Davey Street,” he said.

“He was building the stairways and walkways for Hazelwood at the time.”

Mr Thompson said he has conducted searches for Ernie’s name in the 1973 Morwell telephone directory and council rate books but has been unable to find information about the yacht or its illustrious builder.

He said while Ernie’s surname ‘Eckers’ was not confirmed, he believed it “was accurate” following recent research.

“[1973] is the earliest telephone directory on record in our library,” he said.

“But I spoke to a chap who has lived in Mary Street since 1959 and he remembers the boat being built, he also recalls Ernie Eckers’ name but that’s all I’ve been able to find.”

Anyone with information about the Thekla or Ernie Eckers is asked to phone Morwell Historical Society president Bruce McMaster on 5134 1149.