A Viking ship on Sydney Harbour – Invasion!?

The Jorgen Jorgenson ready for the exhibition opening ceremony under a full moon

The Jorgen Jorgenson ready for the exhibition opening ceremony under a full moon

As night fell and a full moon rose over Darling Harbour on Thursday 19 September, the Jorgen Jorgenson was readied to bring an invading force of Vikings in to the museum wharves as the centre-piece of the opening event for the Vikings – Beyond the legend exhibition. Continue reading

A Viking ship on Sydney Harbour – Australian Vikings

The Jorgen Jorgenson with the Oseberg style bow scroll in place.

The Jorgen Jorgenson with the Oseberg style bow scroll in place.

The Viking age reconstruction vessel Jorgen Jorgenson is nearing completion in time for the opening of the Swedish History MuseumMuseumsPartner exhibition Vikings – Beyond the legend at the museum on 19 September. The opening event will see the longship rowed into the museum’s wharves, at night, with a complement of Vikings on board!

Continue reading

A Viking ship on Sydney Harbour – stepping the mast

The mast stepping team

The mast stepping team

Today, passers by at Darling Harbour in Sydney witnessed an event that has only happened perhaps a handful of times in the last thousand years or so – the stepping of a Viking age vessel mast.

The restoration of the Jorgen Jorgenson in time for the upcoming Vikings – beyond the legend exhibition passed a momentous milestone today as the mast was successfully stepped into the mast fish. This is how it happened..

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A Viking ship on Sydney Harbour – sea chests

The Jorgen Jorgenson gets some 'teeth'

The Jorgen Jorgenson finally gets some ‘teeth’

As outlined previously, the transformation of the reconstruction of a Viking age karvi the Jorgen Jorgenson continues apace by the museum’s Fleet staff and Pyrmont Heritage Boating Club volunteers. Now that the insides have been prepared, the paintwork continues.

Theresa McKinley from Allpoints Shipwrights is leading the painting of ‘teeth’ along the top strake of the vessel. This pattern of yellow triangles can be seen in the reconstruction longship Gaia. Continue reading

A Viking ship on Sydney Harbour – the mast fish

A Viking boarding party? The Jorgen Jorgenson alongside HMB Endeavour

A Viking boarding party? The Jorgen Jorgenson alongside HMB Endeavour

Early this morning while most people were commuting to work, a rare combination of 9th, 18th and 21st century technologies occured on Darling Harbour. The museum’s Fleet staff moved the Viking reconstruction Jorgen Jorgenson alongside the HMB Endeavour replica and used its block and tackle to winch the heavy mast fish (a partner timber to support the mast which has a fish shape to it) from the wharf onto the Viking boat.

Here’s how it happened… Continue reading

A Viking ship on Sydney Harbour – the artisans at work

The Jorgen Jorgenson at the museum's heritage wharf

The Jorgen Jorgenson at the museum’s heritage wharf

The decision to restore and fit out the Jorgen Jorgenson viking age reconstruction for the museum’s upcoming Vikings – Beyond the legend exhibition was a brave one. To get the vessel ship-shape in time for the opening night has meant a major focus for one of the important behind the scenes arms of the Australian National Maritime Museum – the shipwrights, tradies and volunteers who look after the floating vessels, known as Fleet Services, or just Fleet.

With the help of the Pyrmont Heritage Boating Club volunteers, Fleet have, pardon the pun, launched themselves into the project. Continue reading

A Viking ship in Sydney Harbour – restoration work continues

Ready to go back to the museum

Jorgen Jorgensen ready to go back in the water

As mentioned in my last blog post, the restoration of the Viking Age reconstruction Jorgen Jorgensen, is being spearheaded, so to speak, by the Australian National Maritime Museum’s Fleet staff. During the last week of July, Fleet and volunteers worked hard to finish the necessary work below the waterline and to paint the vessel while it was on the hard at Noakes Shipyards. Continue reading

A Viking ship on Sydney Harbour

Readers may have seen a rather strange looking bright green double-ended wooden vessel moored under the Anzac bridge at Pyrmont for several years now. On close inspection, there is no mast, an open deck and oar holes along each side. Although clinker built, it is not your traditional Australian wooden sailing vessel. But what is it?

The Jorgen Jorgensen at Pyrmont Bay, June 2013

The Jorgen Jorgensen at Pyrmont Bay, June 2013

The bow and stern are identical and rise sharply, and this is a clue. If you imagine a single mast and spar with a square sail, and perhaps a dragon head carving on the prow, you will get the picture – it is a Viking longship.

Well, not a longship technically. It is a reconstruction of the famous Gokstad vessel, which was actually a karvi – a ship used by Viking Age chieftains to cruise the Scandanavian coastal waters and rivers. A true longship, used for raiding overseas, would have been much larger, with possibly over 60 oars rather than the 32 on this vessel. Continue reading