LOVINGLY RESTORED: Iconic Shark Show 2.0
AFTER two years of hard yakka, one of Hervey Bay's most iconic tourist attractions has been lovingly restored back to its former glory.
The shark and boat display, which was a landmark on the corner of Elizabeth St and the Esplanade in Urangan, has a new home at the Hervey Bay Historical Village and Museum.
The well-known display was once part of Vic Hislop's Shark Show, a former attraction set up by the Australian shark hunter more than 40 years ago.
When the business closed in 2016, Mr Hislop left the display in place as a service to the community with thousands of tourists and locals alike climbing on board for photo opportunities.
It wasn't until one of the heads of the three fibreglass sharks were smashed in and the teeth removed by vandals in early 2018 that Mr Hislop decided it was time for the display to be moved to a secure home.
Weighing more than eight ton, it was a mammoth effort by museum volunteers including Brian Taylor- who headed the restoration project - to remove the display.
Council cut away some of the concrete and removed the sharks for the volunteers to repair, while the remaining pieces were lifted by crane on to a truck and delivered to the museum.
A separate five-metre fibreglass shark which was once mounted above the display was also purchased by the museum from Mr Hislop for $4000, with the help of fundraising by volunteers and donations from residents and businesses.
Mr Taylor said the original sharks had now been restored and set in a new concrete base on the Zephyr St grounds, complemented with a freshly painted boat and a colourful seascape backdrop painted by volunteer Arno Tesling.
Mr Taylor even carved out upper and lower teeth for each of the sharks using a soft rubber.
"It was in pretty poor condition to start with and we had to re-fibre glass the sharks around the boat and completely re-fibre glass the big one," he said.
"Then I had to make some teeth out of rubber … people are inclined to put their heads in the sharks to have the photo taken," Mr Taylor said with a laugh.
"So, we wanted to make sure that they didn't cause any damage."
Describing a feeling of elation to see the project come to fruition, Mr Taylor said having the display at the museum would ensure the safe keeping of some of Hervey Bay's finest history.
"I'm delighted. It's been my baby all along, pushing it along and getting donations so I'm quite pleased that we've got that in position.
"It's a great asset to the museum.
"The old locals will be happy to see it still around and the new locals will get to know some of the history of the Bay.
"It will be a great drawcard with people being able to take photos of their families in the boat.
"It's really a Hervey Bay icon and that's what our job is, to preserve Hervey Bay's history."
Fraser Coast residents will need to wait a little bit longer before they can see the display first-hand with the museum still closed for at least another few months due to COVID-19 fears.
"We don't feel it would be appropriate for us (to open) at this stage.
"One of the problems we have is that all of our members are in the vulnerable category.
"When we're ready the volunteers will come and dust off all the displays and get everything back to where it should be."