Feature Article - Wooden boat festival
The Australian Wooden Boat Festival, which occurs biennially in November, provides Tasmanian and interstate wooden boat owners with an opportunity to exhibit their craft and maritime skills around Hobart’s waterfront.
Visitors to the Festival view demonstrations of age-old and contemporary maritime working skills such as steam bending, adzing and craypot making, as well as music and theatrical performances celebrating Tasmania’s seafaring heritage. Throughout the Festival there are bands, choirs, folk groups, buskers and wandering minstrels, culminating in an evening of waterfront entertainment. Food stalls sell a variety of products including a wide array of Tasmanian produce.
The inaugural Australian Wooden Boat Festival, which was held on Hobart’s historic waterfront in 1994, attracted an estimated 40,000 people. It prompted the visit of the Endeavour to Tasmania and 200 entries from 4 States, and New Caledonia.
The second Australian Wooden Boat Festival in 1996 was significantly expanded in terms of entries, exhibitions and displays, entertainment and other attractions. Over 200 entries ranged from dinghies and punts to tall ships.
The success of the Australian Wooden Boat Festival results from the interest of Tasmanians in their maritime heritage, innovation within the Festival, State Government support, and the family appeal of the event.