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To Hell or Cape Otway!

Saturday 31st October 2009

FLAMBOYANT shipmaster Captain “Bully” Forbes is making a return to Cape Otway on Saturday night to share the stories of his record-breaking ocean crossings from Britain to Australia in the 1800s, with tales of the thousands who survived the treacherous journey … and those who didn’t. Apollo Bay performer Scott Felstead has spent months researching the antics of the resourceful and reckless Bully Forbes, who was uncompromising in his quest for every breath of wind – hoisting more than 13 acres of sail at a time.

Scott will reveal Bully at Cape Otway Lightstation’s cafĂ©, which will become a theatre restaurant for the night, on Saturday, October 31. His show To Hell or Cape Otway, reveals some of Bully Forbes’ best stories over a three course meal.

“I look forward to people joining me, as Captain Bully Forbes, for a night of good food, good stories, and history coming alive,” Scott said. “Bully’s stories are entertaining and enthralling, they’re about the masters that went before in search of the shortest route, of the lives lost on way to Terra Australis; and of the Cape Otway Lightstation Beacon of Hope that signalled the safe conclusion of long journeys at the wild ocean’s mercy,” Scott said. “He transported self-funded migrants who were looking to make a new life in the colonies, and they were often women and and children who were coming to reconnect with their husbands and fathers who had already established themselves here.

“Shipping was highly competitive in those days – getting from Britain to Australia was the great race of the times. “It was quite a cut-throat business and a bonus was paid for every safe arrival.

“In 1851, during the Captain’s time, 712 ships sailed past Cape Otway Lighthouse, and then in 1852 the gold rush brought more than 1650 ships past the Cape.” Scott, a writer/director and artist, is known for his theatre work in the region, having directed three plays and a musical for the Colac Players. Cape Otway Lightstation manager Paul Thompson said Scott had developed the “To Hell or Cape Otway!” performance as part of a series of works interpreting the Cape’s rich history to enhance visitors’ experience of the heritage precinct.

Featuring special guest musician – Geoff D’Ombrain – direct from touring Ireland. The “Old Salt” entertainer will be playing all weekend.

The dinner and show is $55. Bookings are essential. Call the Lightstation on 5237 9240.