Queensland’s unique boating history is being celebrated in a stunning new photographic collection featuring a fleet of beautiful wooden boats of all sizes and vintages.

The latest volume in a series of works by lifelong wooden boat enthusiast Andrew Harper captures amazing imagery and the stories behind 47 vessels that showcase the classic style of the much-loved Moreton Bay Cruiser.

The new edition of more than 600 professional photographs was fittingly launched today at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, with six of the featured boats on display and a who’s who of Brisbane’s boating fraternity in attendance.

Sponsored by world-renowned boat builders Norman R. Wright & Sons with eye-catching photography under the direction of David Millar, the boats range from a 3.5-metre sailing dinghy to a luxury 23-metre cruiser, and were built between 1912 and 2014.

Five years in the making, Classic Moreton Bay Cruisers Volume II has been another labour of love for Mr Harper, who first fell in love with the iconic wooden boats as a boy growing up in Brisbane in the late 1960s.

“It has been 14 years since I released the first coffee table book of classic cruisers and I’m pleased to say that public interest in wooden boats is now even stronger,” he said.

“While some great characters have passed away and many of our most skilful craftsmen have retired, a new generation of custodians have emerged to care for our classic boats and keep their stories alive.

“I hope that by pursuing this personal passion project, I can introduce even more people to the wonderful world of classic Moreton Bay cruisers.”

Each of the 47 boats featured in the new 440-page collection has been photographed in action on the water, many at well-known locations around Queensland and interstate. There are also photos below decks and information on each boat’s history, designer, builder, various owners, and other key specifications.

Mr Harper said the style of Moreton Bay Cruisers made them one of the most recognisable boats in Australia and ahead of their time environmentally due to their timber construction and high fuel efficiency for travelling long distances.

“Just as our early builders gave birth to the classic Queenslander style home, so too has our boating industry produced a vernacular style of wooden boats,” he said.

“The stories of these boats are also closely intertwined with the modern history of Moreton Bay and the famous Brisbane families that have enjoyed its delightful waters for many decades.”

Andrew Harper

Many of the boats featured in Classic Moreton Bay Cruisers Volume II were either designed and built by Norman R. Wright & Sons or by others who learned their craft from the 114-year-old maritime business.

Bill Wright, a director, mentor and archivist at Norman R. Wright & Sons, said the collective works produced by Andrew Harper had reconnected people and helped them to recall cherished memories of time spent on classic boats down the Bay with family and friends.

“The superb photography illustrates the depth of skills that exist in Brisbane and the beautiful creations that resulted from over a century of creativity from our master craftsmen,” he said.

“Volume II further explores this amazing collection of locally crafted gems.”

Both the latest edition of Classic Moreton Bay Cruisers and the earlier volume can be purchased online by clicking here.