There are not many maritime events that have grown with the strength of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival (AWBF), from a fairly intimate social gathering in Constitution Dock back in 1994 to the largest wooden boat festival in the Southern Hemisphere in 2015, with more than 220,000 visitors and 500 wooden boats.
Even more remarkable is the fact that two of the original crew, partners Cathy Hawkins and Ian Johnston, are still actively involved in producing the event, more than twenty years later. The third founding member, Andy Gamlin, was for some time the festival director. Andy retired recently from running the Wooden Boat Centre in Frankin, Tasmania and still supports the festival from the sidelines. Cathy’s former career was as a journalist and she keeps her hand in with a recent article published in Signals Magazine, the house publication of the Australian National Maritime Museum. Cathy tells the story of how the whole thing got started and how the AWBF has evolved into a major fixture on the Australian maritime calendar. You can read the whole article HERE. Photos by Rob Oates, Ballantyne Photography and from the AWBF archives. Thanks to the Australian National Maritime Museum for permission to re-publish this article..