Travels in Tassie ~ Wooden Boat School

Franklin, Tasmania. 26th March

Something unique to Australia is the building of wooden boats today.

Near Cygnet having a blast.

Near Cygnet having a blast.

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.

The Wooden Boat School at Franklin

The Wooden Boat Centre at Franklin

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.” (

Boat under construction at the WBS

Boat under construction at the WBS

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.

Classic Restoration underway.

Classic Restoration underway.

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.

Sweet spot is Franklin.

Sweet spot is Franklin.

Over the coming weeks I hope to present some more snippets of my “Travels in Tassie” so stay tuned.

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4 Responses to Travels in Tassie ~ Wooden Boat School

  1. Kristy & Victor says:

    Truly a beautiful place and so much to explore. enjoying so much your blog it’s like waiting for a special package to come in the mail…and never disappointing! Happy Easter! we are enjoying and absolutely glorious day here, warm temps and blue skies, yeah spring!!
    really enjoy all the pics!! Jammed at Eva & Raymond’s last night and thought of you as we looked at some old pics Eva had on a digital frame.

  2. dhiraking says:

    I just looked ( today ) at old wooden boats to day at Port Fairy…… a lot of work ,
    I remember from my childhood, but also so , deep and nourishing . would have loved to visit the boat buidling place , too , well one day, now I know its there , thanks for sharing…

    mind you , one was for sale , a cutter (18 ft ), and had a price tag of 46K on it…. investment or dreamer ?
    enjoy , in Mount gambier tonight, checking out the blue lake here ..

  3. freespirit52 says:

    Dreamer…. that’s a lot of money for just 18ft of boat…hah!
    The Wooden Boat Centre is right in your back yard.. a must see! Good luck with your continuing journey… C

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