Racing the Rubeena

TO raise money for the restoration of the Sale Water Tower, runners will be able to Race the Rubeena over the Labour Day weekend.

The Rubeena, captained by Port of Sale Heritage Cruises’ Alan Lewis, will chase runners down the Sale Canal, from the Swing Bridge to the Port of Sale, on Sunday, March 11.

The event will be accessible for everyone, from pro-runners to parents with strollers, according to organiser Gerard Callinan.

“I’m a keen runner myself, and things like The Great Train Race with Puffing Billy (are popular),” he said.

“We had a discussion with friends at Rotary about how to raise funds for local programs, and the idea of a fun run, like racing the Rubeena, was a nice option to go for.”

As well as the five kilometre race against the boat, a 10 kilometre run will attract more serious challengers, which will go from the Port to the Bridge and back at 8am, followed by the race at 9am from the Bridge.

Mr Callinan said he hoped to raise money for a different cause every year, but this year’s cause was a good one.

“It’d make a lot of sense to continue doing it and add to the cultural life of Sale, and it’d be nice every year to pick a community cause and raise money for them, around the Sale area — we want money raised to stay within the 3850 postcode,” he said.

“I had a personal interest in (the Water Tower), it’s a lovely little project, one that’s almost at the conclusion.

“Let’s get this one fully finished and opened to the public, for tourists and locals.”

Historian Peter Synan, who is leading the restoration project, said the money raised would help make the tower compliant for public access.

“We were successful in getting Latrobe Valley Authority funding, through a community facilities grant — that will enable us to complete the structural part, so the flooring and staircases, the glazing and waterproofing,” he said.

“We should be able to complete it by September.

“The additional money is really to set it all up so we can bring people through.”

He added the support of Sale Rotary and Wellington Shire Council was very much appreciated.

“There’s quite a lot of excitement about it all,” he said of the Race the Rubeena initiative, adding there was a link between the Swing Bridge and the Water Tower — both were designed by John Grainger in the 19th century.

The finished tower will house a museum detailing the history of the water system in Sale, as well as an observation deck that promises stunning views across Victoria Park, St Paul’s Cathedral, and Sale Primary School.

Mr Callinan said there would also be free training sessions for people of all ages and abilities in the coming weeks, every Monday at Sale Botanic Gardens.

There will be buses running from the Port to the starting line at the Bridge in the morning.

No registration will be available on the day.

To register, visit racetherubeena.com.au.