One of the largest gatherings of historic boats in the country is set to take place on 10th February 2023, with the Australian Wooden Boat Festival returning to the Hobart Waterfront.

Across slip-yards and marinas around the country, boat owners are currently frantically preparing their vessels for the Festival, after a four year hiatus. Interestingly, many of the wooden boats set to attend the event are over 100 years old.

The oldest participant, the Maritime Museum of Tasmania’s May Queen, was built in 1867 in Franklin and is an excellent example of a traditional Tasmanian sail trading ketch, which was once used to transport timber, coal and agricultural process around the ports of Tasmania.

Another example of an iconic historical vessel is Riawe, (pictured above) built in 1912 by Ned Jack in Launceston. The vessel was used as a passenger ferry, a fishing boat and a stint as a WWII Bass Strait naval patrol boat. After significant restoration, she too will attend the 2023 Festival.

The Australian Wooden Boat Festival brings to Hobart some of the best of Australia’s maritime past as well as its future in terms of preserving old skills and showcasing new skills necessary to save our maritime heritage. A broad selection of types of vessels, some for business, others purely recreational, will be on display, celebrating the work by many organisations and individuals in restoring and maintaining vessels of merit. I am proud to support the AWBF in showcasing these endeavours.

Graeme Broxam, President Association of Heritage Boat Organisations, co-author Those That Survive: Vintage & Veteran Boats of Tasmania

To see more than 20 of Australia’s oldest vessels, head down to the free Australian Wooden Boat Festival 10 – 13 February 2023.