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Tasmanian Wooden Boats

Our first holiday together, once we had managed to achieve a semblance of order at what was then called “Treetops Cabins on the Lake” was a week in Tasmania. We left Cath our daughter in charge and the staff rallied around and we flitted around Tasmania in a whirl wind. Luckily we had a guest who had done something similar and virtually helped us plan the trip. We started out staying at what is now called “Oakford on Elizabeth Pier” in Hobart and the headed west to Straun, north to Cradle Bay, on to Launceston, west to Frechinet and then back to Hobart. We fell in love with the ┬áplace and have been back 5 more times in the last 14 years.

George has phases. Years past, it seemed that George had yearly projects. We had the era of the vintage 1928 Essex which he initially did up in our kitchen. He put a large piece of Lino in the middle of the floor and proceeded to use paint stripper to remove the layers of paint on the body of the old car. There was the year of the Thorpe, a 14 foot sailing boat which he did up in our lounge, and the restoration if the 4 wheel horse drawn buggy. This one he mostly did up in his shed, but the final straw was, when he wanted to paint it in my lounge. I remember our back yard was full of numerous parts of horse drawn vehicles that he had found while working around Oakey as an electrician. I can still picture him driving along with his head out the window looking for any sign of one of these treasures in a farm yard.

The next time we visited Tassie, George was organised, he placed ads for the latest phase in a number of newspapers and then we were on a mission. Off we went to visit all the replies, the length and breadth, to find the special wooden boat. Only the number grew and anyone familiar with our place will know that we have 7 of them. All made from Huon pine, King Billy pine, Colton top, all magic words. But how were we to get them back. I suggested he row but that didn’t go down too well.

George is a networker. We knew a saw miller here in Queensland who milled cedar near Bundaberg and also owned one near Stanley. He often brought timber North and was co-opted to bring things North. On one of our trips we bought a boat from a gentleman at Batemans Bay and he suggested Island Removalists in Hobart who delivered the treasures to our door. Allan became George’s spotter.

People were wonderful when George was on the trail of a boat. Taking us on some wild Goose Chases which we called Dry Gulches. We found many of these boats had been destroyed one being used for firewood for the Barbecue, another for a flower garden. I began to realise that he would actually be doing a good thing by collecting them.

So when you see them hanging in pride of place high in the beautiful carports that Rob has made you will probably be ably to imagine the fun holidays we had chasing them down and the pleasure George has in owning them.

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