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.

GM’s Log – November 2017

As summer rolls into Tasmania, we are all enjoying the bright sunshine and warm weather and of course we’re reminded that when the warm weather returns again in a year, we’ll be celebrating the 2019 MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival. A little more than twelve months from now, that is, and there’s much to be done between now and then.

Our featured nation in 2019 will be the United States and we’re already putting together an exciting program that includes some of the best-known names in the wooden boat world, including Jon Wilson (founder of the iconic WoodenBoat Magazine), Carol Hasse (legendary sail-maker from Port Townsend, Washington), Steve White (Brooklin Boat Yard, Maine) and Sean Koomen (chief instructor at the North West School of Wooden Boat Building). We’ll be shipping out some classic North American examples of boat design and welcoming a contingent of deeply experienced and committed people to celebrate our shared heritage in wooden boats. We’ll announce more names as they are confirmed over the next few months.

The Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM) continues its support for the International Wooden Boat Symposium in 2019, with noted speakers from Tasmania and interstate, as well as our international guests. There are exciting plans to cooperate with the Wooden Boat Centre in Franklin to run a boat-building project similar to the enormously popular Dutch project that saw a beautiful 21’ sailboat created out of unique Tasmanian timber. The design of the new project is rumoured to be a Herreshoff Haven 12.5, once described by Brooklin Boat Yard’s founder Joel White as ‘probably the best small boat ever designed’. Anne Holst at the Wooden Boat Centre tells us that limited places may be available to join this building team – details to come.

The classic Tasmanian steam launch Preana is often skippered by Sam Yousofi, who is on the Hobart waterfront often enough to ask ‘Where Have All the Ferries Gone?’ Boat Manager Cathy Hawkins continues her story of high adventure in the Arctic with ‘Iqualuktuuttiaq to Nuuk, Greenland – A Bloody Long Way!’. (Any reader who can accurately pronounce the first place name receives a small prize from AWBF this month.) Mal Riley, master of the Lady Nelson weighs in with a good suggestion for the next festival and there’s more news from around the traps, including a respectful farewell to the Australian Wooden Boat Festival’s first Honorary Life Member – Meade Gougeon.



The Turning Tide at the Maritime Museum

The Maritime Museum of Tasmania

Be sure not to miss the Museum’s major exhibition – “THE TURNING TIDE, Australia’s War at Sea in 1942” in the Carnegie Gallery until 3 November 2017.

The exhibition looks at Australia’s naval war in the Pacific and south-east Asia during the dark days of 1942 – a pivotal year during the Second World War. Not only does the exhibition deal with the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942 and other key naval engagements, it also deals with the war effort in Tasmania. We have found some wonderful material dealing with wartime industries like the Zinc Works, local naval defence efforts, and visiting troopships to Hobart. And there are the little known stories including German mines laid in Storm Bay and Bass Strait, and the Japanese reconnaissance flight over Hobart!

Curator John Wadsley thanked all volunteers for their help as well as Navy Headquarters Tasmania, Brian Morrison (Warships and Marine Corps Museum), Rex Cox, Graeme Broxam, Roger Dewar, the Minett family and the RAAF Museum for loaning paintings, photographs, objects and models. Also a big thanks to the Australian National Maritime Museum for loaning two videos, which run continuously through the exhibition. The exhibition has been made possible through a grant from the State Government Centenary of Anzac program, in part to acknowledge the significance of the Battle of the Coral Sea.

With only three weeks left to run, it’s time to pay a visit to this excellent exhibition before it’s gone.  The Museum is open every day from 9 to 5. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for concessions.  Children under 13 are free, which makes a family visit a great school holiday idea.