A Breif History
Over a century ago, Harrys Great Grandfather Alexander Mitchelson, originaly a leather maker from Omeo, built himself a fishing boat and began fishing in the Gippsland Lakes catching mullet and Bream, Alexander would haul the nets by hand, this was at the beginning of the Gippsland Fishing Indusry.
Harrys Grand Father Harold Mitchelson and Harrys father Kevin were both boat builder/s and fishermen. Kevin had been fishing for 72 years. along with his wife Mary, and his brother Frank and his wife Dora., for many of those years together in the Gippsland Lakes.
Before this though Kevin started fishing off shore at the age 11 to fill-in for crew that had gone to war, in the late 1930's. Kevin along with his brothers Frank and Jack caught salmon and were sold to a cannery in Melbourne then they were shipped overseas to the troops.
They fished for many years using a timber construced vessel 'Anchovette' and another vessel called the U77, beach seineing salmon,
for this you would row a dingy around one of the many schools of salmon that would come to Lakes Entrane and lay along the Beach,
haul the nets back by hand and transfer them to the waiting salmon pens. the fish would stay alive in the pens untill there was a truck
available to take the fish to Melbourne. this type of fishing is still used Nation wide.
Kevin and Frank were also part of a company whom built a fish meal plant on Bullock island designed to make anchovy paste, in the
1960's the Anchovette and then later Maasbanker and Daggerard were able to unload fresh fish directy into the plant.
The MAASBANKER was built is Lakes Entrance By Brothers Franks and Kevin Mitchelson, and
Launched in 1968, Harry and his brother Ron were sent to help with the constructionof the
boat in between going to school, learning boat building trade.
In the 60's launching a boat of her size in a rural town was rare, Maasbanker is one of
the oldest still working boats of her contruction in Lakes Entrance
Kevin has alway been a keen fish spotter, this involves
training your eyes to see different shapes and patterns in the
the water from an aroplane ,a technique that has been handed
down the generations to Harry and his daughter Lynda,
Harry has also been showing her 8 year old granddaughter Dayle
how to see the fish.
Harry and his three sibbling grew up on the water having a house on Marine Parade overlooking the back water of Lakes Entrance. Harry as child used a small net with brother Ron to catch Mullet in the lake and sell them to the shops for pocket money.
Brothers Harry and Ron began team fishing in the seventies and eightys on two boats Maasbanker and
Daagerard built by Kevin and Frank, Catching Salmon, Bluefin Tuna,
anchovies for pecks anchovy paste and scallops.
Harry and Ron opened their processing plant in 1984 with their wives, Jennifer and Liz. the factory was
designed to freeze large quantities of fish, and the two brothers got a contract to supply pilchards to
australias largest petfood company.
They started with approx 5 staff, but when the fishing is good they now employ 30 full-time and
casual staff in Don Road Lakes Entrance, the fish are caught localy by our own vessels predominately
Over 100 Years on, Harry, his children and grandchildren are continuing to
Grow a century old tradion.
A Short Story
By Joy Seevres ( Mitchelson)