It seems hardly credible that this will be the last AWBF newsletter before the big event. It’s been two years since the last MyState Australian Wooden Boat Festival and it’s been a very full program. We were delighted, early in 2016, to be awarded the Tasmanian Tourism Award for Best Major Festival or Event and then go on to win a podium finish with a Bronze Medal in the same category at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in Melbourne. In 2016, we produced the Australian Antarctic Festival on behalf of the Mawson’s Huts Foundation and took the Hobart City Council’s Community Event of the Year Award for that production.
We saw some key retirements on the Festival Board and production team, as Colin Finch and Nigel Reeves passed on the baton to Chris Palmer and Stephen Conway. Technical Director Michael Bullock moved to Japan with his lovely wife Tamami and John Alders moved out of the state to pursue his doctoral studies. Annette Ritchie, or wonderful Volunteers Manager, retired to her island home on Sydney Harbour and Neil Broomfield passed on his role as Boats Ashore Manager. We are very grateful for all their contributions to making this great event.
We have been delighted to welcome Production Manager Andrew Brassington, who comes with a wealth of festival experience and to see Lyndon Bounday step up to the demanding role of Site Manager. Liz Lord joined us for the Antarctic Festival and (we are very pleased to say) stayed on to take on the Volunteers Coordinator job, one of the key roles on the production team. Garry Durrant, Mike Ponsonby, Greg Hitchens, Elsje Steen, Michael Stoddart, Ted Domeney and Paul Kerrison have all joined the crew to produce 2017 Festival and we’re very glad they are with us.
So, the site plans have been signed off, the first of our Dutch guests are with us and the USA contingent for the ANMM International Wooden Boat Symposium has lined up their air tickets and are packing their bags. We have a small army of photographers, filmmakers, journalists and bloggers requesting media passes and our volunteer army is being measured up for their colourful festival clothing. There’s a fabulous exhibition emerging at the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery – The Early Dutch Explorers – which will open the day before the festival starts and seats are selling briskly for the Parade of Sail Luncheon at Wrest Point.
If you are down on the Hobart waterfront, have a look up for the smart white and green MyState banners with the festival logo on them. AWBF 2017 is underway!