There is an enduring fascination with the traditional crafts and skills that have been essential to the art of wooden boat building over centuries. Many of these skills will be on display with lively demonstrations and discussions at the Blundstone Shipwrights’ Village – a popular part of the MyState Bank Australian Wooden Boat Festival.
Steaming planks for bending; manufacturing crayfish pots; intricate rope work; traditional caulking; damage repairs, forge work and even wooden mast and spar making are among the many demonstrations to be presented at the Blundstone Shipwrights’ Village. The Village has moved an expanded this year, tied in with a a new idea – the Small Stages Program. A ‘small stage’ is just that – a simple workbench, a skilled craftsman or woman and about an hour to see what’s going on and how it fits into the world of wooden boats. There are no tickets and no marquees – just a chance to get up close and see what’s involved. You’ll find the Small Stages Program posted at the Shipwright’s Village and around the festival site each day.
You can even see a fascinating demonstration of traditional rope-making using natural materials and hand-crafted machinery, built specially for the festival by craftsmen Graeme Creighton and Arthur Grant. You might want to have a go yourself!
You won’t have far to go to discover how things are done on the other side of the Pacific – the American Precinct right next door will feature beautiful hand-made wooden boats and a chance to talk to the people who build them and use them. Drop in to say G’day and welcome our wooden boat ‘cousins’ from across the water. They have come a very long way to be with us at the largest wooden boat festival Down Under.