Catch the classics up close this weekend

Join us 13-15 April 2018 to celebrate the beauty and diversity of Australia’s heritage vessels and meet their craftspeople at the Classic & Wooden Boat Festival. Image: The 2016 Classic & Wooden Boat Festival / ANMM.

Join us this weekend to celebrate the beauty and diversity of Australia’s heritage vessels and meet their craftspeople at the Classic & Wooden Boat Festival. Image: The 2016 Classic & Wooden Boat Festival / ANMM.

Classic & Wooden Boat Festival 2018

The much anticipated Classic and Wooden Boat Festival is on at the Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour in just a few days, starting Friday 13th April and winding up on Sunday afternoon, 15th April. It’s a huge display of vessels, along with food and trade stalls as well as family-friendly entertainment, throughout the three days. Some of Australia’s most outstanding and prominent craft are coming once again to show off their style and elegance, while highlighting the craftsmanship that goes into maintaining these vessels.

SY Ena and Hurrica V will be centre stage. Both were built by WM Ford boatbuilders and have undergone multimillion-dollar rebuilding and restoration projects. They exemplify classic Edwardian elegance, reflecting their original status as gentlemen’s yachts, one of steam and one with sails.

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Boats in Sulawesi: An illustrated journey

Fishing port, Ampana. Image: Richard Gregory.

Fishing port, Ampana. Image: Richard Gregory.

A glimpse of some traditional boats: Fifty-six days in Sulawesi, Indonesia, 2015 

This visit began in Manado at the northern tip of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and included a ferry journey from Gorontalo to Ampana via the Togean Islands, a week’s stay in Tentena on the shores of Lake Poso, three weeks in the Toraja highlands, a few days in Makassar and four days at Bira Beach on the southern tip of Sulawesi.

Throughout much of the journey I rendered many drawings directly from life and they include a number of studies of traditional boats. It’s these images that I wish to share along with these notes, visuals and maps about boatbuilding in Sulawesi, and its wider context.

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Billy Barnett, Master Shipwright of Sydney Harbour

It seems that some skills take more than a lifetime to gain – they have to be inherited, in the blood. This is certainly the case with many boat builders and none more so than Bill Barnett, one of Sydney Harbour’s finest wooden boat builders and the man who designed, built and raced his 18-footer Myra Too to glory in 1951.

The Australian National Maritime Museum has recently been assisting with a project to build a replica of Barnett’s Myra Too, however the success of this yacht in Barnett’s expert hands forms only a small chapter in a life full of achievement on and off the water.

Bill Barnett, crew member of the 1967 America’s Cup challenger DAME PATTIE, c 1967. Copyright. ANMM Collection Gift from Graeme Andrews

Bill Barnett, crew member of the 1967 America’s Cup challenger DAME PATTIE, c 1967. Copyright. ANMM Collection Gift from Graeme Andrews

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Get up close and personal with over 70 classic & wooden boats

This weekend is a fantastic event in the museum’s calendar – the Classic & Wooden Boat Festival 2012. More than 70 privately owned classic boats will gather in Darling Harbour, including over a dozen Halvorsen cruisers! Here is a selection of vessels that will be on show:

The Captain’s Barge is the only remaining cabined example of its type in Australia. Built in England in 1945, the boat has an innovative construction involving double-mahogany planks, copper-nailed with a linseed-oiled canvas layer between, and has been restored by Sydney Harbour Federation Trust volunteers.

Gretel II – America’s Cup challenger in both 1970 and 1971. Gretel II, designed by Alan Payne, was the last wooden 12-Metre class yacht to be built and was generally considered faster than Intrepid in the 1970 series. She was modified in 1977 and refitted in 2009 in her current configuration as a cruiser racer with a minimalist interior fitout.

Read more about Gretel II on the museum’s Register of Historic Vessels database.

Hurrica V is a 1924 English gentleman’s classic sailing yacht born in the Edwardian era, remembered for its embrace of glamour and classic designs. Now restored and reborn with renewed respect for that elegance, she has proven to be a bona fide yacht with a double-crossing of the notorious Bass Strait to Hobart. Hurrica V will feature in the upcoming Baz Luhrmann film The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

Read more about Hurrica V (on the museum’s Register of Historic Vessels database).

Silver Cloud was first built in 1939. She was part of the ‘Hollywood Fleet’ that patrolled Sydney Harbour during WWII. In 2010 she was entered onto the ANMM Register of Historic Vessels. After a four-year renovation Silver Cloud resumes her place as the ‘grande dame’ of classic boating.

Read more about Silver Cloud on the museum’s Register of Historic Vessels database.

Protex is a typical early-20th-century small motor boat built to operate in Australia’s harbours and inland waterways. She was used to transport goods and personnel to ships and waterfront establishments, and to ferry staff from the Palmolive factory at Balmain to various city wharves.

Read more about Protex on the museum’s Register of Historic Vessels database.

A full list of vessels on display at the Classic & Wooden Boat Festival can be seen on our website.

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.

Three tugs and a Jellicoe cat!

Deckstar the cat, our Kids on Deck mascot has been at my heels all week to get on the museum’s blog.

He’s racked with tail-curling excitement about Terrific tugs family day this Sunday.

Here, Deckstar gets the low-down on all our visiting vessels. …..

Guest blogger: our Kids Deck mascot Deckstar the cat

“It’s going to be purrfect and sunny…

Little Toot’s on the big screen, and three tugs in harbour, Kids Deck will be kicking and my buddy Captain Scuttlebutt is here to play games!

What more could a cool cat want?

This Sunday is Terrrrrific Tugs Family Fun day and I’m getting excited!

Today I’ve been keeping my paws busy finding out all there is to know about our visiting vessels.

And all there is to know about tugboats!

Did you know that the term “tug” originated in the early 1800s in Britain?  How it got to be called Tug is a bit of a no brainer, as of course this small but mighty vessel was used to “tug” larger ships, helping with docking and undocking in the harbour. Now there are all sorts of tugboats, from docking tugs to notch tugs, articulated tug barges, river tugs ( some would say pushboats or towboats) , harbour tugs, ocean tugs, integrated tug barges…the list goes on.

But back to a little “who’s who” of our visiting tugs.

Former Mini Mariners mascot Albert the tug

Our former Kids Deck and Mini Mariners mascot the little MV Albert will be putting around the basin this Sunday. Cute as a button in sunshine yellow and red trims, he is not quite as lovable ( or huggable) as our current mascot, uh hum, if I may say so myself, but was pretty famous in his time. Before landing in the museum’s collection Albert was a star at the Tasmanian Wooden Boat Festival. Built in 1990 this classic wooden tug was repainted and re-purposed as a publicity icon for the Maritime Museum and had some tail thumping fun times here. Since retiring from public life Albert has found a fond home with a lovely family. And those good looks continue to win Albert fame- featuring in a photo shoot for a recent edition of Delicious magazine. A gorgeous yellow tugboat is the perfect addition to a riverside picnic scene isn’t it?


Albert at the Classic and Wooden Boat Festival

Next in the line- up this weekend is metal tug Currawong, a stylish Sydney Heritage Fleet vessel that used to serve in the Royal Australian Navy. Currawong and sister tug Bronze Wing are both on lend to Sydney Heritage Fleet. Rumour has it both tugs were built in Sydney in the 1960s and 70s by Stannards Boatyard.

But by far I am meow! most excited to see our third tug Throsby and a certain foxy feline who lives on Throsby’s decks! Throsby grew up in Newcastle and was built in 1968 by Jack Lovett at Throsby Creek. It was also the last wooden tug built in Australia, and built to US Army design for 45s. Throsby is a working tug who still fills it’s days with pulling, dredging, putting down and pulling up moorings, maintaining pylons and more. What’s more this classic seagoing tug is home to a delectable ship’s cat named Splash! Purrr, What a beautiful name! She’s black and white ( a jellicoe cat! ) and is known for her unfortunate  habit of falling overboard as she chases seagulls. Meow!  I’m looking forward to meeting her!”

boats graphic

Terrific Tugs Family Day is on this Sunday 24th June 10am – 4pm at the Museum. Find out more about all the fun-filled activities at