Franklin, Tasmania. 26th March
Something unique to Australia is the building of wooden boats today.
The art of constructing a boat made entirely of wood is not lost but is actively taught and practiced in Franklin, Tasmania and it was my pleasure last week to pay a visit to the workshop and classroom of the only Wooden Boat School in Australia.
It started with a motorcycle ride through the clean, lush waterside roads of South Eastern Tasmania.
Perfect roads for my iron steed as we carved our way south through the ever more beautiful country and seaside locations.
The sun was shining yet the day was neither too hot nor too cool as I zoomed along, discovering the real Tasmania.
Just following my nose led to eventually arriving at Franklin, home of wooden boat building and a most unique school where this trade is still taught.
To quote their website “The Wooden Boat Centre was initially established in 1990 as the Shipwright’s Point School of Wooden Boatbuilding, to teach and preserve the skills of traditional wooden boatbuilding. It runs a fully nationally-accredited Certificate course which is the only one actively operating in Australia, probably the southern hemisphere, and possibly the world. Certainly it is the only school in the world in which the Certificate students undertake the construction of a full-sized, sea-going cruising vessel built in solid timber as their major learning project.” (http://www.woodenboatcentre.com/)
Sound impressive? It is, and a must see place for anyone who goes down to the sea in boats. I took the tour and saw for myself the quality craftmanship and detail of the boats being created by the wooden boat building students. Native to this area are Huon Pine, Blue Gum, King Billy and Celery Top Pine and these rare and beautiful timbers are the raw material for the boats built here.
To complete the visitors’ offerings the centre has its own interpretive centre where some of the history of the area and the school are presented in multi media displays.
With all that now absorbed its off to the merchandising shop where I was tempted to buy a couple of nice things as a momento of my visit before mounting my steed once more and blasting off in the countryside.
Over the coming weeks I hope to present some more snippets of my “Travels in Tassie” so stay tuned.