Message from the Chairman – August/September 2019

Changing the Guard:

We at the MyState Bank Australian Wooden Boat Festival have been extremely lucky to have Paul Cullen as our General Manager for many years.  He has overseen four of our festivals; two Antarctic Festivals – which AWBF was contracted to produce – and also the Tall Ships Festival.  As many readers would now know, Paul has decided that it is time to step down from the role, so sadly, we will be bidding him farewell this year.  On behalf of the Board and membership of the MyState Bank Australian Wooden Boat Festival, I would like to sincerely thank Paul for his wonderful work, his enormous contribution to our event, and for the outstanding Festivals that he has managed. I sincerely hope that Paul enjoys a long and healthy retirement, and whilst we are very sorry to see him go, he does so with our admiration and thanks.

After Paul advised us of his intention to retire, we commenced an exhaustive recruiting process for his replacement.  External providers were engaged to undertake this for us, and it was very gratifying that there were a considerable number of applicants for the position.  I am advised that there were a large number of excellent candidates, and we are now in the process of finalising the recruitment of a new General Manager.  I will provide further advice about this shortly, once this process has concluded.

More Changes at the Annual General Meeting

On 12 August we held our Annual General Meeting, where I was re-elected as Chairman, Greg Hitchens was re-elected as Treasurer, and Joy Phillips was re-elected as a Board member.  Long time Board member Graeme Hunt retired, and Malcolm Wells was elected to fill that vacancy.

Graeme Hunt has been on the Board since 2008.  Graeme has been an enthusiastic member of the Board, with a particular and passionate interest in smaller vessels and vessels on land.  He has been a keen participant in the “Raid”, and has made an enormous contribution to the success of our organisation and event.  Graeme volunteered to sleep on site for security reasons during the 2009 and 2011 events to keep an eye on the boats ashore, he was that dedicated!   He has also assisted with membership duties and activities, and has been involved in drafting the membership policy.  Thank you Graeme; we very much appreciate everything that you have done, and wish you the best in your retirement – and again, we all hope to see you around future festivals!

Whilst it is very sad to farewell Graeme, it is great to have Malcolm on the Board.  Malcolm brings with him a very significant background in tourism and related work and interests, and we all very much look forward to working with him.  Welcome, Malcolm!

Congratulations to those on the Board who were re-elected.  Board members are all volunteers and spend a great deal of time and energy in their roles, overseeing the operation and organisation of our organisation and event, and determining strategic direction.  Again, I would like to sincerely thank all Board members for their wonderful contribution.

Those members who were present at the Annual General Meeting were treated to a fascinating presentation by Captain Sarah Parry on the Mistral II, the beautiful Alden 62 foot schooner that was donated recently to the Windward Bound Trust.  Her restoration has commenced.  This in itself will be a fascinating process and will provide tremendous benefit to both shipwrights and apprentices.  Once finished, she will again grace our waters as a magnificent schooner, restored to look as she was, I understand, almost 80 years ago.  I can’t wait to see her finished!


Steve Knight OAM


MyState Bank Australian Wooden Boat Festival

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