Terrific times in Tasmania at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival 2017

Monday morning at the festival. Image: David Payne / ANMM.

Monday morning at the festival. Image: David Payne / ANMM.

Over 500 boats, numerous displays, demonstrations and talks, four seasons of weather plus a rainbow, and not to mention the fine Tasmanian food, it’s always a challenge at the Australian Wooden Boat Festival  (AWBF) to cover everything with not much more than three days to see it all. The museum managed to do it by sending a diverse contingent of staff for the festival, which ran from Friday 10th through to Monday 13th February, 2017.

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Ready for Australian Wooden Boat Festival 2017

At the 2015 Australian Wooden Boat Festival. Image: David Payne / ANMM.

At the 2015 Australian Wooden Boat Festival. Image: David Payne / ANMM.

The 2017 Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart starts this Friday 10th February, and the Australian National Maritime Museum will be very well represented at the festival over the weekend. A contingent of staff is travelling south to attend and help with various activities.

The museum has a booth in the principal display hall on Princes Wharf and is hosting a cocktail evening on Saturday. It is the sponsor for the AWBF Symposium of speakers which runs over three days, and is a key organiser with Maritime Museum of Tasmania for the Australian Maritime Museums Council’s Conference that proceeds the festival. The Voyage Game will also be a feature at the festival.

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Chinese maritime traditions and Lunar New Year: It’s the Year of the Rooster… so bring on the Dragons!

Dragon boat figurehead painted gold, green and beige with red beard and white plastic antennae. ANMM Collection 00039729, Gift from Carlos Ung.

Dragon boat figurehead painted gold, green and beige with red beard and white plastic antennae. ANMM Collection 00039729. Gift from Carlos Ung.

It’s Lunar New Year and time to present the colour and excitement of ancient Chinese culture from the museum’s collections. Dragons feature heavily. And so does racing. (I know that it’s the Year of the Rooster, but they don’t usually like water …)

Dragons have been a potent symbol of Chinese culture for thousands of years – people believed they lived in rivers and lakes and controlled the rains and crops. They were mostly protective, yet when angered created havoc with floods and drought. Chinese communities honoured the dragons with festivals and sacrifices to keep the river dragon happy.

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Canoes and culture at Saltwater Freshwater for Australia Day

On Friday 25 January David Payne and I made our way north to Taree from Sydney. With one of David’s derivative plywood nardan (or derrka) strapped to the roof, and sheets of stringy bark in the boot of the car, we were on our way to the Saltwater Freshwater Festival on the banks of the Manning River on the mid north coast of New South Wales.

The festival is held every year along a river or on the coast at a centre within the 10 local Aboriginal Land Council areas grouped in the Saltwater Freshwater Arts Alliance. This festival, the fourth, was held in Taree after the 2012 event was washed out by the floods.

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Saltwater Freshwater CEO Alison Page accepting a nawi model made in the workshop with David Payne (L) and Daina Fletcher (R).

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Two men in a boat – Opening of 2013 Sydney Festival

According to the media reports there were 60,000 people watching.  From my position, in the back of a canoe with Matt Doyle full blast on his didgeridoo in the front, I was too busy paddling and keeping it upright to notice just how many were watching us, taking pictures or filming.

Photo of giant inflated yellow rubber duck on water

Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck enters Cockle Bay

So how does a curator end up here, in Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour, paddling his self-designed-and-built plywood version of an Arnhem Land derrka, sitting behind Matt Doyle who is painted up, wired up and playing didgeridoo? We are opening the 2013 Sydney Festival event on Darling Harbour, which is featuring Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s Rubber Duck installation. Continue reading

Classic & Wooden Boat Festival 2012 – live music line-up

The Classic & Wooden Boat Festival takes place this weekend, Friday 12 October to Sunday 14 October and has a great line-up of entertainment and activities for all the family to enjoy, including a fantastic live music line-up.

With a special guest appearance from ARIA award winner Clare Bowditch, performing songs from her new album The Winter I Chose Happiness. Tickets are on sale now for just $20 via our website. There are also various other live music acts over the course of the weekend.

The festival will also, of course, feature over 70 classic boats and incorporate maritime crafts and competitions such as Quick and Dirty boat building and race, deck hands line throwing, best dressed boat and caulk a seam competition.

For the full program and to book visit our website.

Classic & Wooden Boat Festival kicks off this weekend in Sydney

We’ve been busy this week at ANMM preparing for this weekend’s festivities at our Classic & Wooden Boat Festival. Our harbourside festival site here looks amazing and is testament to the hard work our wonderful team have put in over the last few months.

Classic & Wooden Boat Festival kicks off this weekend in Sydney

Classic & Wooden Boat Festival kicks off this weekend in Sydney

Our theme this year is ‘Old is New – recycle, restore, reuse’ and the star guest undoubtedly capturing the spirit of the festival will be the visiting Gaiasdream, a two-hulled fossil-fuel free vessel that runs on vegetable oil and solar power.

There’ll no doubt be something here at Darling Harbour for everyone – with the spotlight shining brightly on our collection of tall ships, HMB Endeavour, James Craig, Southern Swan and Soren Larsen who will be joined by over 100 gleaming classic boats from all over the country.

Classic & Wooden Boat Festival stallholders

Classic & Wooden Boat Festival stallholders

For those who are more interested in fabulous fashions, there’ll be a parade of sophisticated (and outrageous) nautical-inspired outfits that will be judged and awarded on the Sunday afternoon in our Fashions Afloat event.

Even dedicated foodies are catered for, with a wide variety of cuisines available to sample, from fresh grill wraps and Turkish delicacies to crowd-pleaser dutch mini pancakes. Shopoholic? You can buy anything from a boat to a book at our nautical marketplace.

Classic & Wooden Boat Festival - something for everyone!

Classic & Wooden Boat Festival - something for everyone!

We’re also proud to be hosting specialists in nautical crafts, who will be demonstrating age-old traditional skills like woodturning, rope making and the art of restoration throughout the festival.