THE 100-strong crowd at the mooring site yesterday afternoon was hushed as the auctioneer stepped up and asked for an opening bid for Australia’s second oldest paddleboat still operating – the Avoca.
“The timing is perfect to purchase the Avoca given the proposed $10 million government spend on the riverfront development. There are endless opportunities,” the auctioneer spruiked.
“Can I see $200,000?” Silence.
“Can I see $100,000?” More silence.
“Can I see $50,000 for this magnificent piece of Australia’s history?
“The vendor bid is $50,000, can I see $10,000 out there? – if it helps I’ll take $5000 – this is a golden opportunity,” the auctioneer called.
It did help, and there was one bid at $55,000.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are selling at $55,000 – for the third and final time – $55,000.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Avoca is sold.”
Applause erupted from the crowd and there were smiles all around.
Former owners Stefano di Pieri and Donata Carrazza were delighted that the historic Avoca will stay in Mildura.
“If it stays in town it’s excellent,” Mr di Pieri said.
“If it saves a piece of history we’re delighted.
“There’s an opportunity for the new owner to make a go of it.”
Mildura restaurateur, Rendezvous owner Simon Harrington, was the successful lone bidder.
“There was one group who was interested and wanted to take it away from Mildura,” he said.
“The Avoca is very dear to our hearts and we’ve got some ideas and I’ll be happy to talk about our concepts in the near future.”
The real estate agent tasked with the sale of the paddle boat, Tony Roccisano, said he was pleased the buyer was from Mildura.
“We look forward to its future success,” he said.
For more of this story, purchase your copy of Saturday's Sunraysia Daily 12/04/2014.