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Rescue bid for historic paddler
Rescue bid for historic paddler

The paddle-steamer Decoy, a feature of the Swan River waterline for nearly three decades, is up for sale.

And owner Chas Cox is hoping a local buyer will fork out the $1.85 million asking price to keep the vessel in Perth.

So far, the only genuine interest has come from prospective buyers in New Zealand and Hong Kong.

"This vessel is a piece of WA's maritime history," Mr Cox said. "It would be a great shame if we have to ship it overseas.

"Thousands of West Australians either met, were engaged or got married on the Decoy - it has an emotional link with many of them."

The Decoy was built in Fremantle in 1986, a replica of the original paddle-steamer that operated on the Swan River in the 1870s. It is powered by a 106-year-old steam engine that was salvaged and restored by the Bunnings engineering works in Manjimup.

It is believed to be the only paddle-steamer in WA and the only seagoing paddle-steamer in the southern hemisphere.

Mr Cox bought the Decoy 20 years ago and upgraded the vessel, which became a popular venue for weddings and corporate functions.

It was also used for the filming of Cloudstreet, based on Tim Winton's popular novel.

But Mr Cox said he would be turning 65 this year and it was time to retire.

Functions, including weddings, would continue on the vessel until the end of next month.

"We have until June to decide if we're going to accept the offers from overseas," he said. "We've had the vessel recently valued at $6.8 million, so I think the asking price is fair.

"I would love to keep the vessel on the Swan River."