Australian National Maritime Museum Supports Symposium

Chris Palmer (l.) and Steve Knight (r.) visit the Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney

Chairman Steve Knight and board member Chris Palmer were in Sydney recently for a visit to the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM).  They met with Museum director Kevin Sumption to discuss the organisation’s continuing support for the International Wooden Boat Symposium.  The symposium will be presented in Hobart as part of AWBF 2019, from 9-10 February.  Convenor Mike Ponsonby is assembling a stellar cast of presenters from Tasmania, mainland Australia and overseas. A notable catch just confirmed is Jon Wilson, founder of the internationally-regarded magazine WoodenBoat.  Since 1974, Jon has been a leader in the movement that recognises the construction and restoration of wooden boats as deeply meaningful to many people around the world.

‘The Australian National Maritime Museum’s support for the Symposium makes it possible for us to bring profoundly influential designers, authors, sailors and speakers to Hobart during the AWBF,’ said festival general manager Paul Cullen. ‘Without their commitment, and that of the University of Tasmania, we could not afford to present these outstanding talents in one place.  The Symposium contributes to the essential backbone of the event – our belief that the culture of wooden boats is important and deserves to be acknowledged and preserved.  That we can offer the Symposium as a free public event is just fabulous and we mean to keep it that way for as long as we can’.

Steve gets ‘hands-on’ with the heavy machinery

The ANMM sponsorship not only provides for bringing overseas visitors to Australia, but the museum also supplies some of the leading experts in the world in maritime archaeology, history, Aboriginal watercraft and other fields as speakers.

While in Sydney, Steve and Chris were treated to an escorted tour of the site, including a special visit to two historic vessels awaiting restoration, the steam tug Waratah (1902)and the ex-Sydney ferry Kanangra(1912).  They reported that the scale of the machinery in these two vessels, and the enormous task of restoring them made it clear why Australia needs a national maritime museum to preserve these magnificent ships.

Awaiting restoration: 1912 Sydney ferry Kanangra and 1902 steam tug Waratah

Editor’s Note:

Our thanks to Alan Stannard for the following correction to this article –

The name of the site undertaken as a tour is the Sydney Heritage Fleet Shipyard, operated by the Sydney Heritage Fleet at Rozelle Bay, Port Jackson.  Of the two vessels shown, only the Kanangra awaits restoration. The other, Waratah, has just finished her annual refit and has since returned to service as a registered commercial vessel.

Most of the work undertaken at the SHF shipyard to service and repair the other “Fleet” vessels is carried out by Fleet volunteers. I commend you and other readers to the web site of the Sydney Heritage Fleet, to visit the SHF at Wharf 7, Pyrmont and the Shipyard at Rozelle Bay on a Tue, Thur or Sat.