Gala Luncheon


What a very successful “Voyage of a Lifetime” Gala Lunch.
Our Guest speaker Sandra Pankhurst and former voyager Joanne Liddell spoke passionately about their life experience and reinforced the benefits of the Alma Doepel Youth Sail Training program for youth at risk.
Hot topics today include mental health support, homeless youth, drugs and alcohol abuse, youth gangs and crime.

Funds raised at the lunch amounted to $49,977.

This figure was made up of ticket sales, sponsorships, auction items and donations.
This is an outstanding result and the best result in the four years the lunch has been running.

The gala luncheon was made possible by the commitment of our sponsors and we are very grateful to them for being a part of the day.



Friday 24 August 2018 12-2.00pm

Grand Ballroom, The Hotel Windsor, 111 Spring Street Melbourne


Host: Peter Hitchener – Channel 9 News

Sandra Pankhurst

Keynote Speaker: Sandra Pankhurst

An extraordinary Life

Sandra Pankhurst is a highly successful businesswoman and much sought after public speaker, but the odds were against her at the start of her life’s journey. Adopted into a dysfunctional family who neglected her and cast her aside her traumatic life started at birth however Sandra is one of the very few to find the strength and tenacity to escape her past and completely turn her life around.

Sandra was born Peter and is transgender, she was the first female funeral Director in Victoria, she has been a wife, father, sex worker and drag queen but above all she has been a survivor.

Sandra’s enormous compassion has led to her reaching out to the most vulnerable in our community, her charity work is well known and respected.

Today Sandra is the Director of Specialised Trauma Cleaning services where week after week she tirelessly supports people with unspeakable tragedy and emotional scares that are written on the walls of their houses. Sandra helps the woman who has lived most of her adult life amongst disgusting garbage, the forgotten drug addict living in decay and destruction, the woman who suffers delusional episodes and sleeps in rat and vermin infested conditions. The eerie silence of the home of a murder victim who’s family suffer unimaginable grief. Sandra’s motto is excellence is no accident and care, compassion and dignity should be shown to all.

Sandra’s humour, grace and integrity is a rare find. The best- selling award winning ‘The Trauma cleaner’ book is based on Sandra’s amazing life and negotiations are currently underway for a television series.

This inspirational woman is in high demand with the public embracing her personal story. An encounter with Sandra Pankhurst leaves you with a lasting impression of how one woman rose above her tragic circumstances through true Aussie grit and relentless determination and created a successful and happy life for herself and those that are fortunate enough to know her.

Auction Items

Donating an item or experience to Alma Doepel’s Voyage of a Lifetime Auction directly benefits the restoration of Alma Doepel to return her to work with Victoria’s young people. If you would like to make a donation please contact Sally Shepherdson by email or on 0412 570 196.


An experience for up to 8 guests to be part of the crew on the 1987 America’s Cup 12 Metre ‘Kookaburra.’ Join the experienced crew on a Saturday race day and participate as active members as ‘Kookaburra’ is raced around the day’s course in a mixed fleet. Onboard at midday for boat preparation and safety and race briefing. Head to sea for pre-race tuning. Experienced the ‘hustle’ of a mixed fleet start and then enjoy the rigors and manoeuvres of the race course. Be part of the ‘grinder team’ setting spinnakers. Children over the age of 12 can participate if accompanied by a parent. PFD’s (lifejackets) will be provided.

Port Phillip Sea Pilot

Port Phillip Sea Pilots guide some of the largest container ships in the world through one of the most treacherous Port entries in the world, Port Phillip Heads or ‘The Rip’.   Pilots are very experienced ships captains who are transferred onto ships prior to them coming though the heads.  This experience is for 2 people to join a Pilot Boat while in active duty through Port Phillip Heads.   The Pilot Boat is a purpose build state of the art, self righting vessel design to operate in some of the largest seas in the world. 

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to come up close to some of the biggest ships in the world and get an insight into this unknown world…  this is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Young Endeavour

Australia’s national sail training ship Young Endeavour was  given to the Government and people of Australia by the United Kingdom to mark our country’s bicentenary in 1988. 

Since then the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme, in partnership with the Royal Australian Navy, has provided a challenging adventure at sea  for over 13,300 young Australians.

By purchasing a berth in Young Endeavour, you will be providing a berth for a young person (16 – 23) to participate in the Young Endeavour Program, a program normally only available by ballot. The berth offered is available for the following voyages:Voyage 17/18 Gladstone to Brisbane 23 Sep-03 Oct 18

Voyage 18/18 Brisbane to Newcastle 06-16 Oct 18

Voyage 19/18 Newcastle to Sydney 19-29 Oct 18

Voyage 20/18 Sydney to Sydney 09-19 Dec 18

Scholarships typically cost around $8000 to sponsor one berth.

Channel 9 News

“Behind the scenes” escourted tour of the Newsroom Channel Nine Newsroom as the news goes to air hosted by Peter Hitchener himself with photographs and a view of the live transmission.

Dock Tour and Crane

A personal tour of the Patrick Container Terminal at East Swanson Dock, Melbourne including a trip up a ship to shore crane.  It can be one or two people.The tour is a couple of hours and will give a unique insight in how one of the largest container terminals in Australia operate. The terminal area is usually off limits to the public on account of safety reasons as a large number of heavy equipment operates on site.

It will involve a trip up a massive crane which loads and unloads containers. The crane is about 50 meters high and offers a magnificent view across the container terminal and the city. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity not normally available to the general public.

Tug Boat

Tug boats are vital to the movement of ships and the Australian Economy.  Tug boats are small ships with very powerful engines which are highly manoeuvrable and assist with the docking and undocking of the largest ships.   This is an opportunity to join a tug crew in either Melbourne or Geelong to experience pushing a ship into dock.   This is an experience not available to the public and is a once in a lifetime opportunity.


The Alma Doepel would like to take this opportunity to thank our 2018 event partners, particularly our major event partner:







Major Event Partner:



Supporting Partners:

City of Melbourne Logo


Searoad Ferries Logo

Development Victoria




Small Business & Community Organisation Partners:

AWA Logo




Flexi Personnel

Attending Donors:

Eyes on Docklands



Please contact Sally Shepherdson by email or on 0412 570 196 to explore sponsorship opportunities or to donate auction items or experiences.