Saturday, 19 February 2011

Ahoy, me hearties! : the Australian Wooden Boat Festival

Well, sweet Planetarians, I’m delighted so many of you enjoyed our stroll around ‘the market’ in my last post. It looks like Hideyo and Rebecca Roth have some fans out there! Now I’ll show you what I did after the market. One marvellous thing about Hobart is how compact and convenient it is. That means that only a short stroll away, I could take in the magnificent Australian Wooden Boat Festival. A biennial event, it’s been running since 1994 and bills itself as ‘Australia’s premier celebration of maritime and wooden boat culture’. And this was my first time. I was blown away. The diversity of vessels on display, the sheer wizardry of the woodwork, the colourful bunting, the fascinating maritime history explained – oh, where to start?! I’ll let the photos do it justice. Come on, let’s go!
Ah, be still, my beating heart! The vexillophile in me can only glance skyward at these vibrant flags.
Bunting gets me. Every time. Are you enjoying this, Miss Melissa and Bron?
It is everywhere. Adorning these gorgeous wooden vessels – yachts, clinkers, dinghies, trawlers – you name it, they are there. Most of the time, the skippers and their friends are aboard, enjoying a cold ale or glass of wine on this sparkling Hobart summer’s day. Most are very personable, answering queries from passers-by in a good-natured fashion. Quite a few yachts are for sale so there’s a bit of banter going on.

Now, let’s wander around the corner at Constitution Dock (remember that’s where the Sydney-Hobart yachts end up?). This is chiefly for Ann’s benefit, to remind her of the fresh seafood available in her old hometown. This is what ‘The Fishman’ had on offer. All fresh off the boat. Yum! I think I’ll buy some trevalla – what about you?
Now, around the corner here, we can see some wooden dinghies built by school children. Impressive, aren’t they? I think I’d like the blue one, the second from the right. How about you?
Just look at the simplicity and beauty of the wood. Ah, exhale!
Then compare that rustic simplicity to this luxurious little number!
Yes, it’s quite swoon-worthy, don’t you think? The front feature is a little Rolls-Royce-like, maybe. Ah, the gleaming wood. The polish. And look at these leather seats, will you?!
Now that is cruising with style! Now if we wander a little further along, here’s the perfect juxtaposition – a working trawler. In its home port. Having a little rest today.
Now that is some mighty net!
Reminders of Hobart’s maritime history are all around us. Now, don’t trip on the cray pot there!
Or those old abalone shells! Mr Wikipedia tells me that ‘Tasmania provides approximately 25% of the yearly world abalone harvest’. Abalone divers lead a dangerous existence but the rewards can be spectacular.
And how about these old photos, showing a hardworking fisherman at work in the early 1900s. Cleaning all those scallops must have been back-breaking work.
And for my fellow flag-lovers, here’s the Australian Red Ensign. Are you familiar with it?
Now this little stand has caught my eye. Let’s have a look.
Talk about a cute idea! I’ll take three for the pixies, thanks. And look at the volunteers from the Wooden Boat Guild of Tasmania helping these youngsters sand off and make their toy boats. Bless them!
Here are some of the more modern yachts moored nearby. All worth a pretty penny!
And here’s a contrast – the Young Endeavour, an Australian Tall Ship which was a gift from the United Kingdom to the Government and people of Australia to mark Australia’s Bicentenary in 1988. It was named after HMS Endeavour, commanded by Lieutenant James Cook on his first voyage of discovery to Australia and New Zealand from 1769 to 1771.
Now, tell me, do you have a head for heights? Fancy scaling this ladder?
Here’s another grand old Tasmanian lady, buffed to perfection.
Now watch out, there must be pirates about!
And to finish, here’s some perfect rope work. Sigh.
Now, I’m getting a little weary – how about you? I vote we repair to one of the nearby restaurants for dinner and a cheeky Tasmanian riesling or two. So, lovely Planetarians, are you in? Tell me what your favourite sight was – let’s compare notes!


  1. Hi Jane, thank you for that little tour. Your photos are fantastic. My fav is the pic of the cray pot but of course the bright bunting is so happy against the blue sky. how lucky you are to have fresh seafood at your door.

  2. It was a good event, wasn't it? I really wished I could have been there with our little boat - hopefully next time. The bunting looked so beautiful against the blue sky :)

  3. Enjoying? I am mad for it!

    Anything at all to do with boats and boating I am mad for. The bunting (natch), the ship-shape little cosy nooks, the salt air and sleek lines and weathered faces and ... oh my! I can even put up with boat shoes and jaunty caps to get my fill.

    Of course, I would have to get vividly sea sick at the merest hint that dry land has been left, but that doesn't stop me from frequenting marinas, wharfs and piers like a woman possessed. What a day you would have had!!!

  4. Those blue skies are so crisp, I can smell the fresh salty Tasmanian air from here!
    I admire the craftsmenship of boat building. The idea of being on rough high seas scares me a little. Think I'd rather stick to canals in a houseboat in Europe.
    Tasmania is just so pretty.

  5. Dear Jane,

    You've captured this day so vividly in your net of words and photos.

    There is something truly marvelous about wooden sea craft that leaves the more expensive 'stink boats' as my brother-in-law refers to them.

    What a wonderful way to while away an afternoon, fish & ships = fun for all!

    x Felicity

  6. Thank you for my daily dose of flags - how I love them so. What is Tasmania's flag? I love it already ;) Looks like a great day

  7. Jane, with posts like these who needs to leave the house?! Thank you for this tour to please the senses. What a lovely day out x

  8. What a fabulous festival! In honour of my pirates I will vote for the pirate flag photo, but privately I am with Lea and loved the lobster pot. xx

  9. THE most amazing photos, Jane. Esp the flag ones...the colours and movement are so vibrant!

  10. Ah, I hadn't realised how many of you lovely Planetarians have salt water in your veins! I'm so happy you enjoyed the flags and bunting, too.

    Bron, when you finally make it down here, we'll have to go for a sail on the harbour - nothing rough.

    Laura, you can see our flag here with its red lion passant:

    Emma, that photo was taken for you and your boys!

    J x

  11. Gorgeous photos and what looked like an amazing day! I love the fact that you could make your own little boats, and out of such great timbers too! I was only talking about crayfish post the other day, my dad used to make them as a young guy in Stanley, must see if he can still make one for us to cherish, and my aunty did one of the Young Endeavour crew trips too, must ask her about it again now I'm older. Thanks for the memories! :)

  12. Hi Allana Great to see a fellow Islander here! Yes, the boats are very cute. Unfortunately they only had radiata pine by the time I bought ours. Next time, I'll nab some Huon Pine ones. Wow - cray pots are very intricate. Yes, my sister-in-law did a Young Endeavour trip and loved it. Feel free to stop by again - I'm now following your gorgeous blog. J x

  13. Oh we loved it too. I haven't posted it yet, but I was just thinking how all our photos and experiences were totally different to yours! I think it goes to show how enormous the whole festival was!

  14. Yes, Sarah, and I only only saw half of it. Mr PB took the pixies the day before and also had an entirely different experience. I also took heaps of photos around the wharves and Hunter Street to use in a later post. J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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