Cover Photo

Sea Heritage Foundation

MV Cape Don

The appeal is to restore the historic Australian 1960s designed and built Lighthouse Tender MV Cape Don (Australian Register of Historic Vessels Number HV000208) to a static but limited operational maritime museum open to the community and for use as a training of maritime trades.

How can you help?

The MV Cape Don was one of three purpose built ships that serviced navigational aids and lighthouses around the Australian coastline for a period of 37 years from the early 1960s. The 'Don' is the last remaining vessel of its type, her two sister ships having gone to the breaker's yards. The ship was left derelict on Sydney Harbour until our team of volunteers, including past crew from all three vessels, took on the task of restoring her under the umbrella of the Sea Heritage Foundation (a charitable Trust established for the specific purpose of holding the vessel in trust).


We have no paid staff carrying out this work, and without public support, donations (private & commercial) and the Society's volunteers, the Cape Don will follow her sister ships to the breaker's yard.

Your donation will be used to purchase materials, repair tools and equipment, and to restore and paint areas of the hull and superstructure in an effort to bring her back, as far as possible, to her original 1960s condition.

Please help by either

  • Donating online or by post;
  • Becoming a member of the MV Cape Don Society (visit our website at and click on 'Join the Society')
  • Become a volunteer, either working onboard the ship or behind the scenes, helping to raise the necessary funds. You don't have to be a qualified person, just someone who would love to work with great people, your fellow shipmates, who do not wish to see one of Australia's maritime heritage vessels lost for all time.

Benefit to the community

The community will benefit by being able to take part in a Bridge to Bilge tour of a 2000t ship of the Commonwealth Lighthouse Service Museum, being able to observe maritime equipment and machinery in use and, in the future, actually taking part in operating engine room machinery. Having the knowledge that there is a vessel available on Sydney Harbour to be used as insitu training for various sea going trades..

Key Areas of Expenditure

$10 donation will purchase scrapers, paint brushes and small hand tools;
$50 donation will go towards purchasing materials to refurbish cabins and interiors of the ship;
$100 will go towards overhauling machinery and equipment;
$1,000 donation will go towards major projects like replacing the wooden deck, purchasing missing items (or items misplaced during the ship's derelict years) and major overhauls of equipment.
NOTE; A percentage of all donations will go towards docking the Ship in a dry dock for extensive hull cleaning and repairs.

Help Sea Heritage Foundation to reach their goal of $300,000

$15,693 raised

Contact Details

PO Box 283


Are donations tax deductible?


Will I receive a receipt for my donation?

Yes, as soon as your donation is processed.