Lifestyle

Final trip the the Murray for a local waterskiing pioneer

by
February 12, 2018

Former winner of the Shell Murray Marathon, Doug Macintire, has passed away aged 74.

Former winner of the Shell Murray Marathon, Doug Macintire, has passed away aged 74.

THE ashes of Doug Macintire, a winner of the Shell Murray Marathon 54 years ago, were scattered on the Murray River at the weekend.

In the 17’6" clinker Commodore, skiing crew Macintire, Col Healey and Roy Reid and driver Bob Partington were successful in ski section of the 1964 Marathon before it became the Southern 80, as it is known today.

Macintire, who loved his boats and the Murray River, went on to compete in the Southern 80 but according to his daughter Jodie was never able to win it again.

She said it became “very competitive and very big very quickly” but it never affected his enthusiasm for skiing.

“Dad was still skiing on his single ski until about five years ago,” Jodie said.

“Even though Geelong was a fair way from Echuca he could be found behind a boat all over the place,” she said.

On Wednesday December 30, 1964, the Riverine Herald reported the following:

A Melbourne boat, Chance 2, driven by Rod Hay and Bob Cook of Pascoe Vale, yesterday won Australia’s first power boating marathon which finished at Echuca. Chance 2 covered the 522 miles course between Echuca, Torrumbarry and Yarrawonga in 13 hours 14 mins at an average speed of approximately 39½ m.p.h. It scored by only minutes from a Shepparton boat crewed by Brian McMillan, Ian Trevaskis and Cliff Pogue, all of Shepparton.

Locals win ski section

An Echuca team comprising Col Healey, Roy Reid and Doug Macintire successfully completed the course to win the skiing section of the marathon.

The course was from Echuca to Torrumbarry, up to Picnic Point and then back to Echuca.

Leaving Echuca at 7.45am, they passed through here again at 11.15am, reached Picnic Point at 12.45pm and returned to Echuca at 3.30pm.

Their return trip was slightly delayed when they called in at the Barmah Lakes to enquire about the safety of their opponents, a team of three from Melbourne.

The Melbourne team had taken a wrong turn on the way upstream, and had holed their boat when they entered the Barmah Lakes.

This forced their withdrawal.

The Echuca trio experienced no mechanical difficulties and no difficulties with snags.

The only really eventful moment they experienced was when they were approaching the Barmah ferry on the return run.

The ferry cable slackened as they went to go under it and swept two of the crew members from the boat.

Col Healey, however, was able to grab the side of the boat and lift the cable over the outboard engine.

The trio, who took hour about on the skis, were enthusiastic about the event and consider that future events will attract large fields.

“Dad’s death in December was sudden and totally unexpected, he had not been ill; he just had a heart attack.”

As well as winning the Shell Murray Marathon, Macintire was a pioneer of barefoot skiing and was always in demand to showcase his skills on the Yarra River at the Moomba Festival each year.

Jodie said he always took the opportunity to compete in the slalom events on the Yarra at the same time.

While still in Echuca he was a diver with the Murray rescue squad and fished his beloved river all his life.

“Dad was also good on a bike and his competitive nature gave him a very successful track and road cycling career across Victoria and Australia,” she said.

“It also took him to the Empire Games in Perth in 1962.”

After leaving Echuca in the early ’70s, Macintire worked in Hamilton and Portland as a motor mechanic before settling in Geelong.

There he worked at the Ford Proving Ground at the nearby You Yangs as a test driver for many years, which Jodie said helped satisfy his need for speed, before retiring and travelling the country as the ultimate grey nomad.

“Dad also spent some time with the Shell Racing Team, which evolved into Dick Johnson Racing, through the Ford connection.

“I guess you could say if there was the perfect job for him it was getting paid to go fast.

“But he always preferred the boats; that was where he had the most fun.”

Macintire is fondly remembered by his Echuca/Geelong families, former wife Jan, their children Jodie, Belinda and Darron and their families, and Nettie, his Jack Russell travelling companion now living in Winchelsea with Jodie.

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