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Tasmania’s boating surprise

30 August 2011 No Comment

Wooden Boats Tasmania
Tasmania is world famous for wood. The most famous of all is the venerable Huon Pine.

It is in short supply these days with the location of living trees a closely guarded secret and stockpiles of old wood worth a fortune.

Occasionally a freebie can be had, after heavy weather, when a log or two break loose from the clutches of the upper Huon River and wind their way down to the town of Franklin.

If you are a boatie or a foodie of any kind you will probably have heard of Franklin. Franklin is where world famous chef Tetsuya Wakuda had his new Huon Pine boat built (if you are lucky it can still be seen in the Franklin waters).

What you may not know is that Franklin has a lot of other boating related attractions to look at and participate in.

Besides looking through the Wooden Boat Centre where Tet’s boat was built, next door the Living Boat Trust  offers a hands-on experience. Courses are available to build all sorts of boat and not-so-boat related items. If you don’t have time to make something then you can hire all sorts of vessels. Taking one of their Grebe dinghies for a row is probably a good place to start.

At the north end of the town on the highway you’ll pass a lovely house with a sign put the front that says “Model Shipyard”. I expected this to be a model of a shipyard, but in reality the house is the shipyard and it is full of model boats. Many of these beautiful models have been made by the owner, Jack, himself.

Every Wednesday morning, weather permitting, Jack and his model boat mates have races on the river with their remote controlled yachts. It is a strangely soothing thing to watch.

A little further down the road, next door to the general store and post office, The Naval Museum boasts an array of naval artworks (some for sale and some not), artefacts and memorabilia from throughout Australia’s naval past. The owner is very knowledgeable. Be sure to put aside some time to be taken through the back rooms. Not everything is on display yet and the tour is the only way to see some of the best stuff.

On weekends, at the pier where the Boags beer drinkers dunked their stuff and got upgrades (if you’ve seen the advertisement), kayaks can be seen plying Franklin’s world class kayak course.

Occasionally, when the weather is right, a distant drumming can be heard and a dragon (boat) will appear from the mist.

Take your camera…no-one will believe you!

David Moore lives and works in the Huon Valley. He runs a computer business, I Hate My PC and writes computer/tech stuff for a couple of online magazines but his real passion is comedy. Keep an eye out for him doing “stand up” somewhere near you soon!

Image: Brian Marriott via Flickr

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