Maurice Furlan's story

From a houseboat builder to a single father.

Updated 20/07/19

Many NSW Government officials abused their power three decades ago. This would not usually come as a surprise to many however few people would have proof and first hand experience of it.  These officials put me through hell for 5 years when I tried to build, sell and rent houseboats on the Murray River back in the 1980s. I suffered financial and psychological abuse because of their deliberate maladministration. My family lost its entire life savings. The cover-up continues to this very day. I remain traumatised and I still wake most nights thinking about it and planning my next step. I have come to despise authority. 


I feel isolated from my community. I cannot understand why my friends and workmates fail to understand or support my need to report this matter. Some are embarrassed about my efforts to bring it to public attention. Over the years, I have sought professional help to deal with my trauma. Even my own family say I should forget about it. Nevertheless, when I present my evidence to police and anti-corruption officials they turn a blind eye and destroy their evidence. Therefore, I know that I am on the right track because there is much in common with the church covering up years of abuse by their priests. I know that my perseverance will pay off. 

NSW state and local government agents seized my two partly built houseboats. The matter has layed festering in my mind for many years and then quite by chance in 2012, I stumbled upon a lie which is published on The website is about town planning and it contains information about my houseboats. My project began in 1985 and it went on to dominate the next decade of my life. I registered WATERHOUSE ENTERPRISES with the intention to build and sell large houseboats on the Murray River. I also registered another business called BOTEL which was to create a chain of marinas along the Murray in which patrons could stay aboard and attend the local POKER MACHINE CLUBS on the NSW side of the Murray River. There were others along the river who had vested business interests at that time. Most were members of so called community groups such as the Barham Progress Association and Koondrook Tourism.

I had no idea Smithson's were so intimately involved in my demise. They claim that they were contracted by NSW State Government to advise Local Government about an Environmental Impact Study for a houseboat development (BOATEL) on the Edwards River near Wakool in NSW. When I saw that claim,  I knew immediately that it was fraudulent because I had the first and only BOTEL application anywhere. My application was on the Murray River. When I asked Council about it they claimed they no longer held the file about it. I soon discovered that the council held a REGISTER OF DEVELOPMENT APPLICATIONS.  It contains a second fraudulent entry about my application to them. It took a great deal of effort but eventually the current Wakool shire admitted that the BOATEL application near Wakool was fake. I reported that to the NSW Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) in 2013 and they appeared to do nothing. However, later in 2017 I learned that NSW MARITIME coincidently had also destroyed their information about the BOTEL in May 2013 shortly after the ICAC wrote to me saying they would not enter into further correspondence about my allegations of council fraud.

Now in 2019, I have come to realise that I have in my possession a very important original document. It is a FALSE document and it proves that my approval process was fraudulent right from the beginning in 1987. I have made a sworn statement and sent it to NSW police together with the false Smithson claim. According to his last email to me Sgt. Hyne has not only refused to investigate my claim of fraud against NSW state and local authorities but he has also deleted my evidence about Smithson which I had sent him. 

I was away studying for a new career in Melbourne around 1989/90 I returned home one weekend to find my wife and son missing. Around the same time a NSW Government agent served a NOTICE on me and seized my property. The property comprised of 2 houseboats which are shown below. Through freedom of information I have now established that the NOTICE is a FALSE DOCUMENT and the Houseboat/Botel approval process was a sham and fraudulent right from the beginning.  

The connection of Smithson Planning with Swan Hill and the Murray Downs Pokie Club now raises the possibility of much more sinister actions by the courts of the time. It is related to the custody of my son and the premature death of my estranged wife Karen at age 30. There were some in Swan Hill who were behind both the illegal seizure of my property and my bitter Family Law dispute which followed for the next 5 years.

In order to tell this story it is necessary to start at the beginning. Here is my very first letter to Maritime which asks them how I should go about building houseboats on a commercial basis. Maritime did not respond and it was not long before the local councils involved themselves. There was a battle among NSW government agencies over control of houseboats. It seemed people could not live aboard houseboats permanently. So my wife Karen and I came up with the idea of Botels. Here is a letter from Bob Carr who was the State Planning Minister, advising me how I should proceed in establishing a chain of Botel Marinas along the Murray River. Here is a letter from Jim Small who was the local Member of Parliament at the time. He was very much in favour of our proposal in 1987 when he wrote to Maritime on our behalf. Council loved the idea and were prepared to offer space in their caravan park for car parking. The local progress association also supported the proposal provided we moved further upstream. However shortly after we invested our life savings in buying the required materials the Crown intervened and the Government agencies began their sham approval process. Sadly in the following year our local member lied and mislead the NSW Parliament. His speech about me is recorded in NSW Hansard 10 November 1988 3 188. We were left with no choice but to build the houseboats in the hope we might sell them on completion. But that was not to be. The agencies stole the vessels!

I never knew what happened to my smaller vessel until I rediscovered it recently. It is now located on the Murray River bank near the bridge crossing at Swan Hill, Victoria. Apparently it has been used as the Paddy Hogg Wharf since 1993.

It was not until 2017, that I realised the NOTICE could be fake. I rang BRUCE BAIRD who was the NSW Maritime in the 80's. I wanted to find out why my licence had been terminated according to the Notice and who had the power to do that. Subsequently, Deon Voyer who is the present Manager of river-craft on the Murray River, rang me on January 17, 2017 as is described in his email shown below. His email is titled ".... circa 1985-1988" and yet the NOTICE is dated in 1990.  That suggested to me that there would be no record of the NOTICE.  

I drove to Port Kembla and met with him unannounced. I asked him about the dates and he could not answer satisfactorily. So I asked him if there is a Register Book which records NOTICES. He said that Notices are recorded in a Register but he had not seen it. 

I then sought an External Review under Government Information Public Access (GIPA) and they agreed that the agency did not have any information. I had asked to see proof about the entry of the NOTICE in a REGISTER. I was shocked even more when they advised the agency destroyed their information on May 23, 2013. This date is most significant because as earlier mentioned; it coincides with the final letter from ICAC Commissioner David Ipp in which he stopped communicating with me. 

In January 2019 I had my Colombo moment. The little pest inside my mind woke me as usual and screamed out, ITS FAKE, THE NOTICE IS JUST A SCRAP OF PAPER WHICH WAS NEVER OFFICIAL ! Now on reflection the discrepancies in the NOTICE are obvious. It does not carry an official seal (1) nor a reference number (2). Furthermore, if it was genuine then why was there no action taken, as noted to prosecute (3) and fine me $400 (4). 

I did not remove the vessels from the river because the large one, which was partly constructed,  was much too large to be removed in one piece. The agents cut it up and loaded the smaller houseboat onto a truck as reported in the local newspaper on December 14, 1990.  

 I am now on a mission to have my houseboat returned to me and to have those involved in the NOTICE charged.

Recently,  I sent my Sworn Statement and the information shown below to the NSW Police. When I rang on April 10 2019, to check on progress Sgt. Hyne argued that the Notice is not a FALSE DOCUMENT and there was no fraud. more ...

Sgt. Les Hyne is holding my sworn statement on file at Barham Police Station. He refuses to enter it into the police database.


FALSE DOCUMENT. There is no record if it.

The date (1988) on this email shows the Notice (1990) was never recorded.


The remaining vessel is located near SWAN HILL.

Here is the newspaper report that confirms that both council and maritime agents seized my vessels.

Here is my approval letter for commercial marine development.

Here is councils official Notice of Development Application January 1987.

Here is a fraudulent claim by Smithson on their website about a fictitious Boatel Project on the Edwards River in !988.

Here is a fraudulent entry numbered 1/87 in the Council Development Application Register alleged to be Refused.

Here is a fraudulent second entry with an indiscernible number which was not publicly notified and which remains undetermined.

Here is 

If you are interested in this story or have questions or advice then you can call Maurice Furlan on 0434976664.

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