The Wooden Boat Festival 2019

Here is a more cheery post than I’ve done recently. Today is the first day of the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart. It is only on once every two years so I didn’t want to miss it. As I was not sure if the bus would be running from Geeveston I opted to stay an extra day with Matt and Ally and go from their place leaving Matt to doggy sit Cindy.

I got a ride to town with Ally who had to work and arrived around 11:30am. Of course, as it was the first day, not all the boats had arrived and many were making their way into the harbour when I arrived. The tall ships that are usually on display were not due until the afternoon and unfortunately, I was not able to stay to see them.

There were still a lot of very nice ones to see though. Some were quite old but a lot of the ones that I saw were built in the last forty years. I’m sorry but I have a hard time thinking of something from the 1990s as old.

I walked around for a couple of hours taking photos of the ones that I liked best. It was already quite busy although still easy to get a seat in the food area where I stopped to get a baked potato for lunch.  At this point, I thought I should check on Cindy and messaged Matt. He said that she had been howling a lot and of course I immediately felt guilty for leaving her and cut my visit short.

I did manage to take more than 50 photos though. Here are some of them.

The Australian Wooden Boat Festival

Parade of Sail - photo by Matt Clark.
Wooden Boat Festival – photo by Matt Clark.

Recently the Australian Wooden Boat Festival was held in Hobart and after a week or two of cool, wet weather Mother Nature turned up the heat. The temperature was in the mid to high twenties (Celsius) and the sun shone down on all the activity on the waterfront. I was in Hobart for a short time on the Friday, which was the first day, and again on  the Saturday and there were large crowds everywhere. Lots of tourists including, on Saturday, the passengers from the “Diamond Princess” which was berthed at Macquarie Wharf right in the middle of the action.

Diamond Princess in Hobart
Diamond Princess in Hobart

The Wooden Boat Festival is held every two years and runs for four days, Friday to Monday. The Monday is also Regatta Day in Hobart and a Public Holiday in southern Tasmania. To learn more about the festival click here.

On Friday the event of the day was the Parade of Sail. I was in the city and met with my friends Allyson and Matt. After a quick lunch we headed down to the waterfront to see it. I had left my camera at home but Allyson had hers and Matt had an iPhone so they have kindly agreed to  let me use a couple of their photos.

Parade of Sail - Photo by Matt Clark.
Parade of Sail – Photo by Matt Clark.
Parade of Sail. Photo by Allyson Clark
Parade of Sail. Photo by Allyson Clark


The Boats:

Here are just a few of the ships and boats that were at the festival. There were wooden boats of all shapes and sizes both old and not so old. There were tall ships and yachts, cruisers and steam boats, rowing dinghy’s and even model boats.

Enterprize Replica

Enterprize, pictured above is a replica of the schooner sailed by John Pascoe Fawkner from Van Dieman’s Land (Tasmania) to Port Phillip Bay with passengers who settled on the site of today’s city of Melbourne. Here is a link to the Enterprize website

Windeward Bound, Hobart
Windeward Bound, Hobart. Photo by Allyson Clark

Windeward Bound is a replica tall ship built of recycled timbers and launched in 1996. It is operated by the Windeward Bound Trust as a sail training vessel. You can read the very interesting story of her construction on the Windeward Bound website.

Steam Yacht Preana
Steam Yacht Preana

The steam yacht Preana was built in 1896 and is owned by the Preana Trust. She started her life in rather grand style as the motor yacht of a wealthy businessman before later falling on harder times and serving as a fishing boat. Her lowest point came in 1992 when she sank at her mooring in Prince of Wales Bay. The Preana Trust was formed to restore her with volunteer labour and she now pays her way with charter work and day sailings at events like the Australian Wooden Boat Festival.

Wooden boat

The J-Lee-M was built in 1953 and was used to carry passengers on the Gordon River between 1954 – 1985. It is owned by Alan James Morrison and named for his grandparents Jim & Lee Morrison.

The wooden dinghy in the picture below was actually a photo I took at the 2011 festival but is a good example of what was on display this year as well.


 The Activities:

All around the waterfront there were various activities going on. There were displays of old machinery, there were shipwrights demonstrating their craft, there was a display about commercial and recreational fishing. Parliament Square Lawns were given over to children’s activities. They had a boat building stand, games and entertainment.

The Living Boat Trust and Wooden Boat School both based in Franklin had information booths and of course there were lots of retail outlets. Picnic tables had been set up along the waterfront but on Saturday when I visited with my sister we both decided that it was too hot in the sun for us to eat lunch there, on our previous visit to see the Sydney Hobart race yachts and the Taste of Tasmania it had been so wet that we couldn’t find anywhere dry to sit. Well, that’s Tasmania in summer for you :).

We were both happy to see that “The Gallopers” carousel was there and we treated ourselves to a ride on it. We often ride carousels when we see them but usually we are the only adults riding without children. Not this time, there were lots of adults all having a ball riding.

Steam powered carousel

Riding "The Gallopers"
Riding “The Gallopers”


We were also lucky enough to see a display by The Roulettes, the RAAF aerobatics team. We used to see them every year when we lived in Adelaide either at the Air Show if we went or at the Formula 1 Grand Prix when it was still held in Adelaide. It had been a long time since we’d seen them though and as it was such a bright clear day they were able to do the full routine and it was fantastic but much scarier to watch than I remembered. The pilots made several passes over the Diamond Princess swooping and diving and looking very much in danger of flying right into her.

A23-027 Pilatus PC-9A RAAF Roulettes Aerobatic Team (9530730552)
By Robert Frola [GFDL ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons
The Roulettes in flight.
The Roulettes in flight.

Further Reading:

Read about Huon Pine which is a popular timber for boat building:

Fellow Huon Valley bloggers “Living in Tasmania” also visited the Wooden Boat Festival:

Read more about the Air Force Roulettes:

Photos: Photos for this post were taken by me except where credited otherwise. Thanks to Ally and Matt  for the use of their pictures.